Money for the Kids

I have failed at the pocket money thing. Ask our kids and some of them may recall various different schemes we have had to distribute pocket money over the years. The bottom line is that we need to be consistent and I forget. We don’t encourage the kids to spend a lot of money and we have a framework of sorts in place for purchasing big ticket items. But is is holidays and the kids will have the opportunity to travel and see new things and no doubt want to purchase a trinket or treasure, a game or a book.

So I have been thinking about pocket money again. Some things I know need to be foundational. We are a busy, large family and there are a lot of chores and household jobs to do each day. Again we are not good at implementing a routine on this, but in essence pocket money should not be linked to doing chores. We all need to regularly contribute to how our household runs. I also know that pocket money needs to be age appropriate and that as parents we need to make suggestions for how it is to be used.

I love the SAVE SPEND SHARE approach that Michael Grose advocates. With  little and big people it would seem that having three jars (not boxes, piggy banks or purses) that are clearly labelled works best.

Giving children pocket money is an opportunity to encourage kids to save – for a range of larger items that they need to contribute to like a bike or a new basket ball, to spend – a sweet treat, a new book or some Smiggle stationary and share – contribute to the the family’s sponsor child, charity or missionary friend you support doing work overseas.

The aim is to encourage children to be independent and to understand that having money is an opportunity to exercise responsibility. Being given pocket money is not an invitation to spend more, want more or have more. In fact it should have the opposite effect. We want to reduce covetousness and create opportunities to communicate with our kids about how money works in this world – for good and bad.

The BIG question is how much do you give your kids? This is one area where being fair seems unfair. The four year old should not get the same amount as the 13 year old.

So what do you do? Mums, Dads, Grandparents, friends …….. share your wisdom.

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Sleepovers

We don’t do sleepovers. Well not the regular school buddy kind. It seems that the chapter on “sleepovers” was missing in our parenting manual early on and we learnt the hard way. Being busy, working and juggling small children our oldest did go to the odd sleepover party. And there was little sleep, a random choice of television viewing and various adults present whom we did not know. Mostly he did not have a great time.

Having a small tribe of children now, we have made a blanket rule – no sleepovers. Until 10 years. There are exceptions with family and super close friends, if the occasion demands. But regularly we don’t encourage it and quite frankly the kids are fine with it. They know it is our family rule, so I now have mums ring me to negotiate how our little one can attend the 6 year old party but not stay over. It provides me with an opportunity to explain why we have the rule in place and to admit it is often easier to have all kids under one roof (no extra taxi runs).

Michael Grose has some interesting ideas on the sleepover. It can be good practice for independence and socialisation, but we do have a duty of care. Kids still wake up scared, at home. They have bad dreams, get sick and have unexplained anxieties. There are no hard and fast rules about sleepovers, but I think it is important to know your child and determine what your family culture and philosophy will tolerate.

This family rule has led to conversations about how we, as a family get to know our children’s friends and their families. We want to offer welcome and hospitality to the whole family. Sometimes people are nervous about this, but more often than not an invitation to the entire family is accepted eagerly. So rather than doing sleepovers do family overs, for meals conversation and welcome.