This kid is taking all my money.

I never thought my 3 year old would be begging me to let him pick up his toys before he goes to bed. Yet, it happened tonight because I am a sucker. I agreed to pay Luke 10 cents for each "job" I give him. I created a chore chart with very basic things like -

Pick up your toys
Make the bed
Set the table
Put away your clothes

He is obsessed with making money. For example, this afternoon, I ran downstairs because Luke was screaming. I thought he was hurt, but instead he was screaming out of frustration from not being able to get past the baby lock on the dishes cabinet. He really wanted to set the table even though it wasn't mealtime. A child wanting to help out around the house sounds like a dream, right?

Here's the problem: I told him I would pay him only once a day for each job. Then I did the math. He has the opportunity to make 70 cents a day or $4.90 a week! That kind of allowance seems a little high for a 3 year old who almost passed out from excitement when I gave him his first dime.

What is the allowance that normal middle class people pay their children these days anyway? I feel bad giving him $1.00 a week because he'll never be able to buy any of the toys off the laminated Geotrax advertisement he sleeps with. Then again, maybe I'm being way too nice and he should have to use his allowance to buy food.


  1. we give Annabella, who is 4, an allowance of 25 cents a week which is a dollar a month. At which point she decides if she is gonna pay tithing and if she is gonna put any in savings. it doesn't go very far, but if she does extra stuff then I give her extra money but only like a nickle or dime. So I don't know I might be a mean mom by only letting her get a dollar a week but she is already learning that if she wants a toy she has to save for it. It has stopped the "I want candy" in the check out line. When she asks me to buy her a candy I tell her she can use her money for that and she usually chooses not to!

  2. I think it's crazy your giving a three year old money! SOUNDS GREAT! If only Jonah could understand that concept.

  3. Brilliant. My 4 yr old will just about kill himself to earn stars toward video game play time... but if that wears off, I'll totally try the money thing. It's nice to have a very small eager to please slave around the house.

  4. Or pay it back to you as rent. Our kids had chore charts instead of allowances, but they totally sucked at it and never made any money, so they lost even more interest. We didn't go to an allowance because some of them are way too materialistic as it is, so now they just are poor all the time.

  5. I think its great that you are teaching Luke about working for money so young. You should have him pay tithing on it, and then open up a savings account for him and have him deposit half of it into a savings account as well. Try to teach him he cant spend ALL of his money right now, (ya good luck teaching a 3 yr old that!)

  6. it'll wear off :) until the next geotrax advertisement comes around. Kids get allowance when they turn 5, then its a dollar for every year old...you should read that boyack book on the parenting breakthrough...very insightful...she has it all figured out :)

  7. Yeah 5 dollars a week does sound a little high for a 3 year old UNLESS you never buy him any toys/treats again and from now on make him buy those things himself. Think about how much you spend a month for his "wants" and then maybe have the total he could earn be a little less than that. That way you come out saving money AND the house is clean.

  8. He may be REALLY excited and earn $5 a week for a few weeks, but it will probably taper off to a couple dollars a week is my guess. It doesn't sound excessive.

    We give Dominic chores to do and then he pays 10% tithing and 10% savings and can spend the rest on whatever he wants. Making an unrealistic savings amount (do you pay 50% of your income to savings?) just makes it frustrating to earn towards something, at least for mine. However, 10% is not that much in quantity at this age(however when he's making lots of money at a job when he's 16, 10% will add up quickly to quite a bit of money yet still leave room for play) and so little by little his savings grows and he has money to spend on toys and things that I don't buy for him anymore, except for birthdays and Christmas etc.

    Sounds like you're on the right track..... we also don't pay if the work isn't done happily. You can teach good work ethics along with a positive working attitude. You don't have to pay Luke for a job that he does begrudgingly or starts throwing fits because he isn't in control. Make his attitude while working all a part of the payment process.

  9. I say, "Work it, Luke! Make that money!" What a great little entrepreneur. Do not discourage it. So many kids are just plain lazy these days. They feel entitled. So DO let him "work hard for the money!" Then he can help train Charlie...

  10. We pay our 7 yr old $1.00 a week. He has to save for a long time to get anything, but he is really happy when he finally has enough.

  11. I read a lot about allowances before starting them with our kids this year. The general rule of thumb is to let your kids get 1/2 of their age in dollars per week so a 3 year old would be able to earn $1.50 per week. My husband pays my kids a penny a minute though to scratch his back but they've never made it longer than 15 minutes. For my husband, that's a great use of 15 cents.



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