Posted by: Cathi Brese Doebler | March 3, 2009

Allowance time

An allowance has been a helpful tool in our household. Our children started learning ways to help around the house at a young age. This wasn’t always easy, because it usually took them longer to do a task than if I had done it myself, but the time it takes to teach them the task is so worth it!

Very young children can help with simple tasks, such as helping you throw the clean, wet clothes from the washing machine into the dryer, or putting food into the dog’s bowl. We started with simple tasks like this, and gradually increased what the kids would do to help. Many tasks are asked of them without them being paid for it. However, we also used an allowance with them.

An allowance is a tool that helps a parent teach their child several things:

  1. we work to earn money,
  2. we can earn money and help our family at the same time,
  3. we can make good decisions about how to use the money we earn,
  4. we take some of our money and put it into savings, and some we give back to God.

Some of the first things our children started to get paid for were tasks like:  feeding the dog, making the bed, cleaning up toys, and yes, homework. I know there are a lot of people who think that paying a child to do homework is a bad idea. I think it is a good idea when it is used to train the child and help the child form good habits. For example, for the first six months of allowance that my oldest son received, he was paid for making his bed. After those six months were up, he had developed a habit of automatically making his bed, and we adjusted his allowance opportunities. I took the “make the bed” option off of his allowance sheet, and changed it to something else. Then, during first grade, we paid him an allowance for doing his homework. By second grade, he was in the habit of doing his homework, and we changed the allowance opportunities again. I created a document on my computer and printed out the allowance sheet for my kids, making it easy to adapt as they could do more advanced chores.

Using an allowance works great as long as you are:

  1. consistent,
  2. clear about your expectations,
  3. realistic about what your child can do, and
  4. adjust with your child’s capabilities.

In my next blog, I’ll write more on this subject.



  1. I’d like to see a sample sheet. We have been more faithful with allowance in the last few months, but the “novelty” of making money has worn off a bit and I think it is time to shift jobs, just to keep things rolling. Thought aboutmaking a “time sheet” like they would have at work…

  2. Darcy, stay posted for the next few posts over this week and the beginning of next, and I’ll include a sample sheet for you.

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