Starting a Family & Teaching Kids to Save
Should You Tie School Performance to Allowance?
Paying for school performance has been a point of contention for parents, child psychologists and educators for decades. While the consensus tends to lean towards separating children’s allowance from school achievement after all kids are expected to work hard or good grades there is a growing contingent of parents who believe that tying allowance to grades can provide the right motivation if it is done in the right context. Rewarding good, consistent performance in all areas, such as school achievement, daily chores, and outstanding behavior is no different than what kids will come to expect in the workplace. The sooner they understand how goals and expectations are set to be met the better prepared they will be when it comes time to managing their own priorities and responsibilities. The mistake parents make is not framing an allowance program around specific expectations and guidelines. There is only a fine line between what a teen understands as a responsibility and what they perceive as an entitlement.
- Make school achievement and home chores a part of the same set of expectations.
- Establish a pay scale based on performance. Poor performance should not be rewarded at the same pay scale as good or superior performance.
- Have your teen take on responsibility for specific expenses such as clothing, supplies or activities beyond the basics.
- Take your teen to the bank to set up a savings account to which he or she must commit a percentage of their earnings.
- If your teen has his sights set on a big purchase, work with him to set up a budget and a savings plan. In some cases, you can help your teen to his goal by matching a percentage of his savings.
- Review overall performance once a quarter and discuss how well expectations are being met.
- Don’t withhold allowance as punishment for bad behavior. That should be treated with separate conditions and consequences.