I make my 7-year-old do chores to earn 50p pocket money

ACCORDING to new research from Barclays, over two thirds (68%) of parents reward their children with pocket money for lending a hand around the home, showing that many feel that pocket money
should be earned and not just given.

But should we expect our kids to ‘earn’ their money?

Parenting expert, Kirsty Ketley, spoke to two mums who share different opinionsCredit: Kirsty Ketley

One mum who thinks so, is Ash Ni Leighn, from Essex, a vegan fashion designer and single mum to daughter Sage, who takes a ‘Dragons Den’ style approach to giving pocket money.

“From the age of seven, Sage has been earning her pocket money by ‘pitching’ her worth to me.

”She gets 60 seconds to set her case.

”She does jobs around the house – as a single parent, I don’t have time to do all the housework, but she also has to learn to help me in my business too, to buy her treats.”

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Ash’s daughter gets 50p for one off jobs and £1 for weekly commitments like feeding, watering and brushing/walking the dog.

Her pocket money gets docked for bad behaviour, so it can go up and down – on average she ends up with £5. 

She has a limit of  £5 for behaving when she goes to business pitches with mum, but if Sage wants more she has to pitch to mum and agree what she will help with more around the house.

Her chores include loading and unloading the washing machine, sweeping the floor, keeping her bedroom tidy, cleaning the bath, taking her plates to the kitchen.

She gets the odd 50p reward for acts of kindness or helping take mum’s business parcels to a drop off point when walking the dog.

Ash’s approach might seem very corporate, but she feels that her method is teaching Sage a good business ethic. 

”It is giving her the confidence to address high powered businessmen, knowing that she can make it in business if, like me, she is a single mum and I feel it teaches her respect and the skill of being determined,” Ash, owner of Dandelion Weatherstone Ltd, says. 

“Like any negation in business, you have to go in high and hard.

”There’s no cap on what she can ask for, but I will come to the table with my budget and use that, along with what chores she has done, how she has behaved and if she has come with me to a business networking event.

”If she wants to push me over my budget, she needs to add a weighty argument and offer me more.” 

I don’t care what other mums think, it works for us.”

Ash Ni LeighnEssex

“I’ve always taught her to aim to be successful and financially independent, as marriage is not a sign of security and she might have to support herself, as I have.

”She uses a Go Henry card, which encourages her to save, and she is not allowed to spend her money on sweets.”

Ash points out that she wouldn’t make Sage do anything that stresses her out.

“It is time consuming, but it has been my only option as a single parent, and it has helped her when giving presentations at school and given her the confidence to negotiate.

”I don’t care what other mums think, it works for us.” 

Ash takes her daughter on business networking events

Ash takes her daughter on business networking eventsCredit: Ash Ni Leighn

Is Ash right though? 

Millie from Horsham, owner of online bath toy store Spark Bubble and mum to Oscar, 13yrs and Tobias, 9yrs, doesn’t think so…

“My boys get pocket money which is not linked to helping out.

”I feel that helping out around the house is something that should be seen as ‘normal’ and not something they are paid for,” she says.

“The boys have things that are always ‘expected’ of them, such as clearing up after meals and keeping their rooms tidy but then a couple of times a week, we have a quick blast for half an hour, where all family members quickly zoom round tidying and cleaning to get the house back in order – it’s a team effort.”

Millie says that the boys have always been encouraged to help from a young age – as toddlers they loved a bit of sweeping up.

“I definitely think the younger the better, to get them started.

”I want the boys to see it partly their responsibility that the house stays nice.

”We all have reasons we would rather not do chores, but someone has to, so I think it’s fair that we all contribute – it helps give them skills for life.”

While Ash gets Sage to negotiate how much money she should have, Millie gives a set allowance to Oscar.

“Oscar is at secondary school and sometimes needs bus money, and he is interested in clothes, so he gets £50 per month for bus fares and fun clothes (not school uniform or other vital stuff).

”Tobias gets a few pounds here and there and is football mad, so his money mainly goes on football related things.

”For total treats they would have to save up.

”For equipment for outdoor hobbies (i.e., not screen related) I’m normally willing to negotiate.

”I might split the cost or help them sell something they have finished with on eBay.” 

Unlike Ash, Millie gives a set allowance to her oldest son, Oscar

Unlike Ash, Millie gives a set allowance to her oldest son, OscarCredit: Supplied

There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to pocket money though, ultimately it is down to you and your family and what works, but here are some key points to consider:

Paying for chores – the main advantage is that kids learn that money doesn’t grow on trees – you have to earn your money.

It is a great lesson to prepare them for the ‘real world’ and can help instil a sense of pride and confidence if they manage to save a lot of money by working for it.

Kids can often appreciate their toys more, looking after them better, as they feel they have really earned them.

Not paying for chores – We don’t get paid for doing chores as adults, and so as Millie says, it is no bad thing for kids to learn to ‘muck in’.

By not paying for chores, you can also avoid your kids declining to do them because they feel they have enough money or constantly negotiating the price for chores to get more money, leaving them earning more an hour than you!

Whether you pay your kids to do chores or not though, pocket money is a really good way of teaching kids the value of money.

Kids as young as five, can start to learn money management, through their choices as to whether they spend or save their money and it can be a great way for them to develop a sense of responsibility and independence.

Kirsty Ketley, 40, is a parenting expert and mum-of-two from Surrey.

She and husband Stuart, 40, are parents to Ella, eight, and Leo, five.

Her two kids have decided to raise money for Ukrainian children by walking 43 miles throughout March.

Ella, in particular, was moved after seeing the children fleeing their homes and playing in the rubble.

You can donate and help the families here.

Here are some top tips:

  • Explain to your child what pocket money is for and what it isn’t
  • Talk through some guidelines for saving and spending. For instance, you might like them to save 25%, leaving 75% to spend
  • Only pay what you can afford – good role modelling of managing money is helpful, kids learn from their parents all the time, so don’t feel pressured into giving more because other parents do
  • Choose a set day to pay and stick to it – you might choose weekly, fortnightly, or monthly
  • Try not to supplement pocket money or pay in advance, but if you do, draw up a reasonable payment plan for them to learn about borrowing and lending money
  • Using a jar where your child can see their money ‘grow’ can help motivate them to save

Plus, a savvy parenting expert has figured out the simple steps to follow if you want to get your toddler to do what’s needed.

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