Children and allowances

We lead busy modern lives, and you’ve taken the step of getting an au pair to ensure everything runs like a well-oiled machine. You afford the good stuff for your family, and you’re mindful of the quality of care your child is receiving while you work. Well done! Sooner or later, as your kids grow, the question of pocket money must arise. After all, money makes the world go around. Or does it?

Here are some more questions to help you make an informed choice about allowances…

Does my child really need more?

It may seem that you’ve met all their needs, but offering a weekly or monthly stipend is a way to teach children valuable life skills. Saving, planning, sharing and doing without (or making another plan) is how adults get on in the real world. A much-desired item that is bought with a month’s worth of coins will be treasured.

How much and when?

Most parents feel that school-age is the time to start, with 5-12 being a particularly fruitful period to instil the financial basics. The amount is a personal choice. Between R40 and R60 per week is average, increasing as your children age. Some parents pay as much as R200 per week.

Do I dictate what pocket money is spent on?

As parents we spend so much time exercising control. Pocket money is the perfect arena in which youngsters can learn autonomy. If you set limits at home on sugar intake, allow free reign on what foodstuffs they can buy themselves. Children quickly tire of that which is not forbidden. Have a discussion instead.

How do I teach the value of money?

Eventually children can start paying their own way for things they deem important. By the time they leave home they could be buying their own clothing and financing recreational activities. They’ve had years of practice and they know what things cost. Because they’ve experienced abundance, they are free of yearning.

Giving pocket money is one way to develop trust between you and your youngster as he/she journeys into the world.