How Should I Set an Allowance for My Child?

My 12-year-old daughter's friend gets a large allowance each week. Of course, now my daughter wants more money. What should I do?

Some parents have their kids earn an allowance by completing regular household chores, like cleaning or taking out the trash. Others believe simple chores like these are expected of all members of the family. These parents may give their kids a nominal allowance with no strings attached. Some parents offer alternative money-making opportunities with bigger chores, like raking the leaves or cleaning the garage.

Whichever system you use, giving an allowance teaches responsibility and money management. An allowance also allows kids to make their financial "mistakes" with relatively small amounts.

The amount you choose to give should be based on a variety of factors, including your family's budget, the cost of living in your city, whether your child has ways to make supplemental money (for example, by babysitting), and what she is expected to spend her money on. A raise may or may not be in order, but be sure to explain why you made your decision.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: March 2010

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