Children, Allowances and Chores

Photo by Tracy OMy daughter, now 7, has discovered the power of money. She is very aware, thanks to my hiatus from employment last year, that money buys things, and we have to make choices on how we spend our money.

She is not exempt from the gimmes, though. Tired of the barrages of requests, my husband and I decided she was going to have to earn the things she wanted. So we were catapulted into the world of juvenile finance.

We have been giving her an allowance of a dollar a week for the past year or so. This goes into her savings pig , divided equally between Spend, Save, Invest and Donate.

This quarter dollar of spending money per week is not enough. My husband was all for giving her a generous increase in allowance, but I hung onto the idea of working for money. After all, we do, and she can’t learn too young that she needs to work for the things she wants.

Yet neither of us is willing to pay her for things that she should be doing anyway: good grades, basic hygiene and music practice. These things can and must be done. It was the extras we decided to pay for — giving my daughter the choice of earning money or not, but still providing us with valuable help. The question was, how to keep track of it.

I started wandering around the internet looking at chore charts. My thought was that I could make a chart, and she could check off things that she did, with payment every two weeks. There are a lot of nice chore charts out there; it wasn’t hard to find some interesting ones.

What I discovered, though, was a site called (Note: I am not affiliated with Handipoints in any way; I’m just a satisfied user). The method is simple: set up charts for your kids under your account, and they login under theirs to complete the charts. For each completed task, they earn both points toward savings goals, as well as points to be used in the virtual Handiland. Much like Webkinz World or Buildabearville, the child gets to dress up their handicat and buy a house, as well as do fun games.

So far it has been a great success. I have several chore charts set up: Morning, Afternoon, Before Bed, Saturday and Extras. The first four are for tasks that earn no value toward tangible goals, but have virtual points attached. There is also a demerit chart I set up to dock points for unacceptable behavior (my daughter doesn’t get to enter that one!).

My daughter set up savings goals, including a membership to the Cool Cats club, a trip to the beach with a friend, $20.00 in cash, and a new stuffed animal. She quickly earned the Cool Cats club, which gives her access to some extra clothing for her handicat.

It has made summer much easier on all of us. We will revamp the charts when school starts up again.

Photo by Tracy O