When our little girl was around 4 we started to introduce the concept of pocket money.
She got a penny for doing things like:
- helping to wash the car (she loved doing this before and definitely loves doing it now!)
- Pressing the ‘on’ button for the washing machine
- At random times (when she was safe or when the smoke alarm went off (when I’m cooking!) and she looked to see if there was a fire
This approach has worked really well for us.
We also introduced a ‘penny for the pictures pot’. On a Monday morning, if our little girl wanted to watch TV, she had to put one of her pennies in the picture pot (as do we!) The penny lasted all week and stopped the pictures from running out! 😉
Now that she’s finished her first year at school (!), we’ve tweaked the pocket money to add value to the concept.
Our little girl has a ‘job sheet’ and daily, she ticks boxes for the relevant day of the week (of which there are only 4 boxes for each day, I might add. Child labour, this is not!..)
Each day she has the choice to:
- Straighten her pillow and duvet (the phrase ‘making’ your bed did confuse her – they are still so literal at nearly 6!)
- Tidy her bedroom
- Tidy her desk and toys downstairs
- Put her clothes in the linen basket
She’s not always overly happy to do the tasks admittedly, but in the main it’s been received really well… because she gets rewarded for her time.
The weekends are her days off because everyone has time off!
For each job she gets 10p and for any extra jobs (such as car washing), 5 p. So she generally earns around £2.50 per week.
And she does earn it.
Not only does she count the coins when she puts them in her purse, she also adds them up by value.
We vary the denominations of her coins too. So we might give 2 x 5p, 5 x 1p and so on. And she notices if we short-change her and is even honest when we give her too much!
So far, she’s saved up a couple of weeks for a new bag (a bag at 5!) and it’s making her really think what she wants to spend her cash on.
As for the TV, we’ve increased the price to a penny a day. So we each put 5p in the ‘picture pot’ on a Monday which lasts up to Friday with minimal watching at the weekends.
If she has not watched TV on a Monday, it ‘costs’ only 4p until the Friday for the pictures.
So our little girl is making decisions and also realising the consequences of the decisions.
The next step is to open her a bank acocunt for any savings she might want to keep hold of.
It’s really important for us to show our little girl that:
- you have to work (sometimes very hard) for your money
- you can often decide what you spend your money on and when it’s gone, it’s gone until next time
- money has real value
And it really seems to be working!
How do your little ones earn their pocket money?