As a follow up, here's what we've decided to do for our family. Maybe it will help those of you who are in the process of deciding (along with all the great feedback I got on the original post):
- They each get a monthly allowance of half their age (therefore, Hannah, age 10, gets $5 per month). This amount seems less than what most readers do for their children. Shhhhhh. Don't tell our kids.
- They have a set of daily and weekly responsibilities; these things are what they can do to contribute to our family. (We have the right to add additional tasks, of course.) These contributions include:
- Putting away dishes (all 3 kids)
- Hand-washing dishes after breakfast (older 2 kids)
- Taking out trash
- They can earn extra money by volunteering (or being assigned) to do additional work.
- They can lose money if they are not doing good work (not getting dishes clean, dawdling in their tasks, etc). We are focusing on repeated offenses, not one-time mistakes.
We'll continue to modify this list with time. We advised years ago to keep giving them some challenging work to do; don't let it all be what comes easy. We want them to develop a strong work ethic and a solid sense of personal responsibility.
Now that they have their own spending money, it's interesting to watch what they do with it. They are to take the first portions for giving and saving, but the rest can be spent (or saved for later spending).
Within days of her first allowance, Hannah spent $2 on a candy apple. She insists she's going to save to buy American Girl paraphernalia at the end of the year. We'll see how that goes.
Elijah's a keen saver, as is Sender. I think Sender finally used some of his spending money to buy some potato chips at a baseball game last week.