Pocket money is about more than money

At the pre-school my daughter attended, they regularly held cake sales or popcorn days. Children were given money by their parents and were enabled to learn a bit about spending money, purchasing power and the all-important concepts of “making change”.

Their approach was unique though, as each child had to earn pocket money at home, in order to spend it at school. I loved this approach, as it fell in line with our perspective on pocket money – it’s not given, it’s earned.

As she headed into primary school, we kept the concept of earning pocket money to spend as she pleases at school fun days or the little shop they have for pupils.

Imagine her surprise though, when a friend told her that “my mom just gives me money and makes my bed…I don’t need to do anything, it’s mom’s job”.

Her shock in this regard pleased me. I grew up in a home where, I will admit, we weren’t expected to wash the dishes or make our own beds, despite having two working parents. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I washed the dishes for my mom, and probably count on the other hand the amount of times I cooked a meal for myself, never mind anyone else.

The benefits of earning pocket money

In our house though, things don’t work that way. When I was a single parent, household chores were done with my daughter. I involved her in every task, purely because I couldn’t keep her entertained and hope to have every domestic duty done simultaneously. It’s still a given now that we live in a family environment, and the task load shared between more than just us. She’s a confident cleaner, learning to cook now, and I happily reward her for actively participating in our household.
Somewhere within my mom-brain, I am certain I’m laying a good foundation for her future here. She’s learning to understand that work gets rewarded and that everyone benefits when everyone chips in to help out. That’s why I give her a little pocket money each week, and let her choose how to spend it.

It’s not just the concept of monetary reward that I’m hoping sinks in over her lifetime, but also the feel-good benefits of knowing you’ve done something good for yourself. She loves to clean up after herself and hopefully, one day when she’s all grown up and takes flight into adulthood, it won’t be a burden like it felt to me at first. For her, I hope, it’ll just be the way she lives.

For now though, you’ll find her chopping vegetables in the kitchen or handing me pegs as I hang out the laundry. Here’s hoping it stays that way well beyond her childhood years.

Do you children have to earn their pocket money or is it given regardless?
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