Caroline Fernandez: Activity Mummy


Kids, Allowance, Chores

Is allowance a bribe or teaching tool?

Do you give your kids an allowance? What is the going weekly rate of allowance for kids these days?  What are age-appropriate chores? Or are we just bribing the kids?

Disclosure: For the 1st time in my parenting life, I gave my kids an allowance last week…and I feel guilty.

Do you give your kids an allowance? Up to last week, I didn’t. I have always felt that my kids should participate in around-the-house-chores because it’s a HAVE TO.  Like I HAVE TO make dinner—they HAVE TO clear the dishes. It’s part of being a member of our family. Like it or not there are HAVE TOs in life.  Brushing your teeth, hanging your jacket, clearing the table are simply HAVE TOs—it’s part of the responsibility of living in our house. 

But, alas, I failed my own philosophy last week on a snowy, blowy day. And I feel like it was more bribery than allowance. More manipulation that teaching. I had bronchitis…and the baby had an ear infection (again)…and I admit…I didn’t want to shovel the snow.  So I am ashamed to say…I asked…

“Who wants to earn $5 for shoveling the snow?”

Sad isn’t it. Apparently, snow shoveling doesn’t fall into my philosophy of family HAVE TOs…it’s a seasonal exception to the rule.  And the kids were all over it.

“I do! I do!”

What is the going weekly rate of allowance for kids these days?

Ontario student minimum wage is $7.25/hour.

B.C. general minimum wage is $8.75/hour.

On-line allowance calculators advise $1 for every year of your child’s life (10 years old = $10 in allowance per week)

Me? I offered $5 per kid with no negotiation (I’m an equal pay for equal work kind of Mom).

What is an age appropriate chore? Apparently, in my house, its snow shoveling. I knew they were old enough to not run out on the street and mature enough to see the job through (and it was light snow – so they were strong enough).

And yet, I feel like I bribed them to get a chore done that I didn’t want to do myself. Not that I let them know…I was all “Good Job!” when their red cheeks, big smiles, and snowy boots walked in the door. 

They had such pride in being allowed to shovel the snow all by themselves for the first time ever…I think they might have done it for free…