6 Tips on Giving an Allowance for Kids & How to Avoid Any Problems

There is absolutely no doubt that raising a child is hard work. Among the most important things to give your kid, providing lessons about handling and managing money is at the top of the list. One of the most crucial points regarding the financial education of children is setting up an allowance for them. Even though having an allowance for kids is mostly a good idea, there are problems that can appear as a result.

With that in mind, the present guide will shed light over some of these problems. Additionally, it will provide valuable tips on how to do it in a way that is satisfactory for all parties involved.

a small pink piggy bank placed on a large pile of dollar bills

6 Tips for Giving Kids an Allowance

1. Make a Plan

Before anything else, it’s highly important to make a plan that rounds up every aspect of the allowance-giving process. This includes the amount, the frequency of the payments and the conditions that have to be met by the child in order to get a payment.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to be clear regarding the kind of things that the child can buy with their newly-earned money.

2. Have a Sit Down

Once you have figured out all the details, make sure to have a conversation with the child explaining every aspect of the plan. Describe all the rules thoroughly and clearly while making sure to emphasize what the consequences will be if they are broken.

To avoid future problems due to miscommunication, provide a list of the things the child can buy with this money. Simultaneously, be sure to give your child another list detailing everything they can’t buy using their allowance money (for example, fireworks, candy or video games).

3. Use it as a Learning Tool

One of the most important reasons for having an allowance for kids is that it can be a great learning tool. Apart from valuable financial lessons, an allowance can teach kids about responsibility, common sense, self-reliance, organization, delayed gratification, and socialization in general.

Make sure to be firm in terms of enforcing your own rules. Of course, kids being kids, at some point they will make mistakes. Still, mistakes are an important part of the learning process, particularly when you are there to explain what went wrong and how to avoid it happening again.

4. Teach Spending, Sharing and Saving

Most experts that recommend setting up an allowance for kids agree that it’s a great opportunity for teaching them not to spend everything they have. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to have kids buy into the concept of spending only a part of their weekly allowance.

The part that is not spent can be saved in a piggy bank or shared with others, especially those who do not have the luck of getting an allowance.

a simple table with several chores for kids to receive allowance

5. What About Chores?

One of the most divisive questions regarding having an allowance for kids is whether they should work for it or not. Without a doubt, withholding the allowance whenever the child refuses to do chores will teach a lesson.

However, the impact of other important lessons that can be taught through having an allowance will be diminished. There is no easy solution to this conundrum. However, whatever you decide should depend on the kind of lesson you think is more important for your child to learn.

6. Consider a Bank Account

Besides teaching about basic concepts regarding finances and life in general, having an allowance for kids can be the first step in providing lessons about fiscal responsibility. Once your child reaches a certain age (around middle school) it can be a good idea to get them a bank account.

Having a bank account is guaranteed to teach your children lessons about investing, earning interest, balancing a checkbook, and creating a fiscal budget. Still, it’s important to make yourself the custodian of that account, eliminating the possibility of deception and early-life financial problems.

How to Avoid Problems When It Comes to Having an Allowance for Kids

There is no doubt that kids need to learn how to manage their money. By having and managing their own money, they learn important concepts such as saving, planning, setting up goals, and delaying gratification. Additionally, having a small amount of money each week allows kids to make low-risk mistakes and to learn from them.

several transparent jars for kids' allowance

1: Begin This Process When the Time Is Right

Having an allowance for kids is definitely a good idea. Nevertheless, it should be done correctly in order to function to the advantage of your family. One of the main things to consider is when to begin having an allowance for kids. Many families start when their kids are five or six years old.

Others like to wait until the children are older than nine or ten. However, psychologists agree that the best time to start giving your children an allowance is whenever they begin to comprehend the concept of money.

2: Provide the Right Amount of Money

Another important thing to take into account when considering an allowance for kids is the amount. Without a doubt, it is a figure that will depend on factors such as your income and the area you live in. However, it’s also important to have a balance.

For obvious reasons, you definitely do not want it to be too little. However, giving a child too much money can be dangerous as it will send the wrong message and paint an inaccurate picture of how life works.

Summing It Up

In conclusion, having an allowance for kids is considered by most experts to be a positive thing. However, it is something that needs to be properly if you want to achieve good results and a positive outcome. It’s important not to lose sight of the main goal: teaching kids how to be financially responsible.

By following a few basic rules, you can reward your little ones while providing them with valuable lessons that will last a lifetime. Do you have any tips of your own regarding having an allowance for kids? Let us know in the comments!

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Advice for New Parents – 12 Useful Things They Should Know

Being a new parent is an exciting journey that requires a lot of patience and learning. Advice for new parents is readily available. Still, you probably don’t want to hear that particular advice for new parents coming from a stranger on the street for the thousandth time.

These tried-and-true tips are useful and come from people who were once new parents themselves. If it doesn’t work for you, just move on to the next thing that will.

*The following tips were listed in particular order.

two young parents smiling and looking at their baby

1: Don’t Buy into Fads

Fads happen in the parenting world. Advice for new parents include trends like only outfitting your baby in all-organic clothing, making a purely homemade diet, early reading programs that start entirely too young and more.

These fads often require you spend a ton of money up-front, and they are not proven to be any more useful than conventional ideas about parenting. If it sounds like a trend, it probably is. Don’t waste your time.

2: Let Your Values Guide You

It’s okay to let your values about parenting guide your parenting choices, but don’t feel like a horrible parent for having to give up some of those values for the sake of practicality and reality. If you breastfeed your baby, don’t feel ashamed if you need to use formula at some point or pump.

If you use cloth diapers, don’t think you are lazy for needing an occasional disposable diaper. Most of all, it’s okay to let your child watch television. It does not make you a lazy parent.

3: Don’t Be Afraid to Tell People to Shut Up

You will get plenty of unsolicited advice from parents, family members, friends and random people. Don’t be afraid to tell them to stop giving you unsolicited advice. Telling them to shut up may not be the best choice of words, but you may need to be firm and clear when you say to them to stop telling you how to raise your child.

two moms with their babies in babywearing having tea together

4: Babywearing Isn’t as Carefree as It Looks

Babywearing isn’t as easy and carefree as advertisements make it look, but it is a great option for traveling and going outdoors. A sturdy wrap or harness that fits your body well is priceless. Invest in one that can convert easily if you choose this route of carrying your child.

5: Babywearing Is Similar to Tummy Time

While babywearing isn’t as easy as it looks, it does work the same muscles in your baby’s body the way tummy-time exercises do. It strengthens the neck muscles and other muscles that help a baby learn to support themselves.

6: It Is Okay Not to Love Every Minute

Parents get the idea from society and culture that you have to love every minute of being a new parent. In reality, you will not love every minute, and that is okay. You should embrace the wonderful moments, but let yourself have a break during the moments in which it is less-than desirable.

7: Post-Partum Depression Happens

This is a topic that is often silenced in parenting groups and mainstream magazines or blogs. Post-partum depression is real, and it happens to mothers with the best intentions sometimes. If you need help, do not be afraid to ask for it. There are options for mothers who feel this way, and it saves lives. This should be standard encouragement and advice for all new parents to remember.

8: You Can Travel as a New Parent

If you have ever flown, you have probably seen new parents on a flight feeling overwhelmed and tired. Nowadays, international flights have infants more commonly than ever before. It is possible to travel as a new parent, and you do not have to give this up when you become one. It requires extra planning, but don’t listen to people who say you are doomed to a life at home for five years. You are not.

a small baby holding a jar of baby food trying to taste the food inside the container

9: Some Baby Foods Are a Scam

Baby foods and toddler foods are often lacking in nutrition. This isn’t to say that canned baby food is a problem, but cereals before six months are not recommended. Toddler snacks are often loaded with salt and extra sugars.

Use formula or breast milk until at least six months, and then introduce and feed healthful whole foods slowly. The best feeding advice for new parents is to simply feed your baby foods closest to their natural state, and puff crisps are not natural.

10: Pumping and Dumping Is a Myth

This is especially important if you are breastfeeding. New moms often think they cannot have alcohol if they are breastfeeding, but you can have one drink. Even if you have a couple of drinks, it isn’t enough to harm your baby. Advice for new parents will often tell moms to pump and dump their breast milk, but this is a myth. You can still drink wine and breastfeed simultaneously, as long as you don’t abuse alcohol.

11: You Can Go Back to Work

There’s pressure on new parents to take a long maternity or paternity leave, but don’t be ashamed if you need to or want to go back to work as soon as possible. Advice for new parents often encourages being with the new baby all the time, but that isn’t always possible. It is okay for you to want to have a fulfilling career life or to need that income.

12: Exclusively Breastfed Babies Rarely Get Constipated

If your child does get constipated while being exclusively breast fed, don’t worry. Some advice for new parents may have you freaking out if your child becomes constipated, but it’s normal. A baby between two and three months can go up to two weeks without pooping, and that is fine.

Bottom Line

The best advice for new parents is to simply let yourselves breathe, and when the baby sleeps, you sleep. You will be exhausted. Focus on taking care of yourself when you can so that you are ready for your baby during meal times, diaper changes and everything else in life.

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Why we don’t “do” Santa

As moms, we make a lot of choices for our children. We are 100% responsible for so much in their lives, and the decisions we make can have life-long impacts on them.

With so much weight on our shoulders, it’s easy to second guess ourselves.  But the beauty of parenting is that each family is very different.  We school differently. We have different religious and political beliefs.  We even feed our children drastically different foods.  And that is all OK; there is not necessarily a right or a wrong way to parent as long as your children are safe, and nurtured, and in a loving environment.

What works for one family does not necessarily work for all families. And so I share with you my reasons for choosing not to “do” Santa in our family, not to convince those who do that they are wrong, but to share with you our choices and reasoning and perspective on the situation.

It Started with Me

My son was born in November, and was less than 6 weeks old for his first Christmas.  We spent that Christmas with my family, and my mother had already wrapped presents and put them under the tree for the baby, from “Santa”.  It was then that I first gave thought to the fact that whether we did or did not do Santa was a decision that I would personally be making for that little baby in my arms.  Obviously, at 6 weeks old, we had a few years to decide. But it got me thinking.

I found out when I was seven. An older neighbor told me. I remember thinking she was lying to me, and just being mean (which was odd, since she was otherwise a very nice girl).  I went to my mom to ask her, and she took me outside and said, “Yes, honey, she’s right. There is no such thing as Santa. But let’s not tell your sister. She still believes and it would be wrong to spoil her fun.  Let’s just keep this between us.”

I’m not sure how you felt when you found out about Santa. I know how I felt. I felt betrayed. I felt stupid, like everyone was playing some sort of cruel practical joke on me that I was too dumb to figure out. I felt humiliated. (And yes, as the years wore on, I got over it.) My sister, on the other-hand, believed until she was 11 and though disappointed in the truth, never felt the same way I did.

My first thought holding that newborn baby in my arms was that I really didn’t want him to go through those feelings I felt.  I didn’t want to hurt him that way later in life.

I’ve heard kids rib one another and use the term “he still believes in Santa” as an insult.  Maybe you have heard your kids, or neighborhood kids, say something similar. It stands to reason that there is a lot of emotional baggage to the issue.

Lying vs Using Your Imagination

One of the big arguments for Santa is that it encourages children to use their imagination.  I’ve never really understood this argument.  How does it help the imagination to be lied to? Do you need to be told that yes, fairies are 100% real and are, in fact, spying on you, in order to draw a picture of one or want to be one for Halloween?  Must children be told their favorite cartoon characters are real in order to want them on their bedsheets?  There is no logic in the argument.

When you stop to think about it, Santa is sort of intimidating.  I mean, here’s this big guy who is planning to sneak into your home in the middle of the night, and if you have been nice (remember, he’s watching you!) he will reward you. Otherwise, you get coal, a reminder of your failure as a child.

Oh, and you have to pay him with milk and cookies.

We’ve never told our children that Santa is real, but they have been able to use their imagination over the years.  We’ve built blanket tents as medieval fortresses. We’ve made fairy houses.  My son has created whole armies out of modeling clay that war with one another.  They’ve played house in pretend kitchens, and have dressed up as their favorite characters. My daughter went through a 3 year stretch where all she would wear were princess costumes.  She knew she wasn’t a real princess, but she used her imagination.  And she was happy.

My mother has always been very disappointed in me for my decision to not make my children believe that Santa exists.  But we’ve always stressed that if they wanted to pretend, they were more than welcome, and we’d do the whole milk and cookies thing, get some pictures on Santa’s lap, and make sure some presents are from him. Most years they didn’t see the point, but one year we went to visit my mother for Christmas.  She lives more than 2500 miles from us, so holidays together are rare.  My children were 8 & 10 at the time.  

She had expressed to me how sad she was that she was finally going to have children in the house, and no Santa.  So, I talked with the kids about it.  We decided it would be fun to pretend that year….but in a slightly different way. We decided to keep the spirit of Santa alive in Grandma.  

Instead of the kids leaving cookies that mom and dad would eat after they went to bed, Grandma left the cookies and my 8 yr old daughter came downstairs to eat them.  She even left a note. Instead of presents to the kids from Santa, my 10 yr old son signed all gifts to Grandma and Grandpa “from Santa”.  My mother spent the days leading up to Christmas talking about how excited she was that Santa was coming. Each time one of the kids would make eye contact with me and give a little conspirator smile.

On Christmas Day, my mother reacted with the enthusiasm of a 5 year old, squealing in delight from the half eaten cookies and notes, and ecstatic about the gifts left for her.  My children had a blast too.  They were able to enjoy a fun, pretend character, and had a truly memorable holiday.  They are 12 & 14 now, and this Christmas is the first since that one that they will be with my parents.  They’ve already wrapped Grandmas gifts from Santa again.

You Must Income Qualify for Santa

It’s always bothered me that Santa brings more presents to wealthy kids than to poor or middle-class kids.  Do we think our children don’t notice this?  How is it “fair” (remember, we live in a society where everything must be fair) for one child to receive thousands of dollars in merchandise for Christmas, while the kid who sits across from him at school got one $50 gift? The wealthy child is told that Santa brought him this stuff, and believes it. So he tells the less fortunate child.  

How must that child feel? Does he think that he screwed up in Santa’s eyes?

How do parents explain this one?  I’m really interested.  Please tell me in the comments if this has happened to you, and what you told your child.

Through the years, we have had Christmases where we have had very little money to spare.  We talked about it as a family, and the kids knew that presents were going to be pretty light that year.  Other years, we had the ability to get them everything on their wish lists and more.  We’ve talked about these years of plenty making up for the harder years.

Children Pray to Santa

I don’t particularly like discussing religion (or politics) on my website.  I will call our family spiritual, but not very religious.  We’ve spent many Christmas Eve’s crashing one church or another for a Christmas candle ceremony, and we’ve had stints of a few months at a time getting to know one church or another through the years, but have generally spent our Sundays together as a family.   I’ve encouraged our children through the years to appreciate all religions and those who practice them for what they are, not to judge, and to realize that their own minds might change as they get older, so to keep them open.

I have a great deal of respect for religion; I think it is wonderful when parents can teach their children a code of morals and ethics that they will take with them throughout life – even if the religious message is not something I personally agree with.

When my son was about 4, he was enrolled in martial arts and during practice, the moms and the kids in the next class would wait in the chairs off to the side of the class waiting for it to end.  One day, a couple weeks prior to Christmas, I overheard an exchange made between two boys who were 7 or 8 years old.  One was describing how he was hoping for a video game system for Christmas.  The other boy got excited, and said to him, “When I get home tonight, I’m going to pray to Santa that he brings me one too!” Does that seem right to you?

If Christmas is supposed to be a holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, does it make logical sense that we bypass that fact to teach children that some guy shows up at your house to deliver gifts, then years later, tell them that oh, he isn’t real, but remember the story about the baby?  Yeah, that was real. 

I guess if you celebrate Christmas not as a religious holiday (yes, I know it has Pagan roots) as many people do, it’s not that big of a deal, but really, it’s got to be terribly confusing to kids.

All these factors together made us decide that Santa just wasn’t for our family.  Right after the martial arts incident, we decided to talk openly with the kids.  Up until this point Santa simply hadn’t made an appearance in our lives at all.  We told them that some families tell their children that he is real, and that it isn’t nice to interfere with other families’ choices, so we must never be the one to inform another child that Santa is not real.  To my knowledge, they’ve always respected this.

But I don’t think I ever really discussed with them WHY I chose not to do Santa.  So, last night, in preparation of posting this, I asked my 12 year old daughter if she was disappointed that we didn’t do Santa through the years.  She looked at me and said, “No. Why would I be? I would have felt pretty stupid when I learned the truth.”  Yep. She’s just like me.

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Mommy and Toddler Groups

Motherhood is a great balancing act. We have to somehow manage running our households, doing our jobs, and fostering/maintaining several different types of relationships. All at the same time. One question that many first time moms is “How do I bond with my child without losing myself or keeping them from developing relationships outside of ours?”. It can definitely be a struggle. We worry about whether they are being socialized properly. We also bemoan the fact that most of our conversations are held with a person that may not be able to walk, let alone talk. One thing that can address all of this is a mommy and toddler group.

Mommy and toddler groups are a great way for you to spend some quality time with your child. However, they also have two added bonuses:

1. Your child will be able to be around other children his or her age and experience new things.

2. You will have the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with other moms. This new circle of friends could provide you with a ton of support and entertainment.

There are a wide variety of groups in existence. All it takes is a little research to find them Most library branches offer programs geared towards young children. As do a lot of community centers, daycare centers, and churches. You can also find a lot of local groups online through a quick Google search. Here are some more great resources for locating mommy and toddler groups in your area:




You could even start p a group of your own and spread the word by posting flyers and posting online. The range of activities varies greatly. You could go on big group outings, attend events, or just hang out at each other’s homes or the park. Whatever you choose to do, you and your child are sure to enjoy the bonding opportunities, the activities, and the extra company.

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