Pocket money - how much do parents in East Anglia pay out and is it bribery to make kids do chores?
PUBLISHED: 17:33 26 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:33 26 September 2018
Charlotte Smith-Jarvis thinks we need to make our children earn their pocket money.
“Mum, I need the latest Fortnite skin. It’s only £7.99!”
It was the last straw over the summer holidays. Not only was I having to listen to the endless heckling of my son and his friends yelling at one another over cyber space, but there was an expectation that because ‘soandso’ has the latest ‘skin’ (don’t ask), I should shell out too.
And for what?
That’s what I ended up asking myself. Why should I just hand over my hard-earned dough to my kids for games, make-up, toys and sweets at a whim?
On this particular day I looked around the living room. Socks on the floor, creeping under the sofa. A plate with a half-eaten apple chucked on it. A chocolate bar wrapper hiding by the TV. Sigh.
“You can have the money if you do lots of chores for a week,” I replied to my now indignant 10-year-old, who sat cross-armed waiting for me to whip out my debit card.
As you can imagine, that didn’t go down too well, but from that point on I was adamant not to give my children costly treats without them first putting in a bit of graft.
Full-time working parents will well know the struggles of meeting the daily family needs – the washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning, homework etc etc that pile on top of a long day at the office. Why shouldn’t we be demanding that, like us, our children pull their weight around the home to earn pocket money?
My 12-year-old chipped in: “Mummy, that’s bribery!”
But is it? Should we feel guilty about attaching chores to monetary sums, or should we roll over and simply hand them our cash at the weekends without any strings attached? Doesn’t that simply foster a sense of entitlement?
I’m with the former. Surely by setting tasks to be ‘paid’ we are teaching them nothing comes for free. We teach them hard work pays off. That they can’t have everything they want instantly.
A survey by ING capturing data from children across Europe found giving them pocket money reduced the risk of adult debt, helped them become more self-sufficient and got them into the habit of saving and valuing money – something we all need to do more of.
The average child in the UK is given between £5.50 and £6.50 per week (too much in my eyes if they’re not doing anything for it). And a ranking between the regions shows East Anglia is third from the bottom of the table, giving around £5.79 per week, while, unsurprisingly in London parents hand their children about £7.63 per week.
Personally I’ve drawn up a chores chart (I like a list). My two must do one chore a day minimum and if they miss two days in a row all their money is taken away. We’ve got a little book in the kitchen totting up their total, and they get paid at the end of the month – a bit like a salary.
The transformation in our family has been phenomenal. Over the course of the last month they’ve seen their tally building up in the book and have learnt that yes, those silly amounts of 10p here and 20p there really do add up – a valuable lesson even for me.
They’ve fought over who’ll do the more pricey tasks such as washing the car. “No, you can’t do it every day!”
And our house has never been cleaner. For every day the washing up is done, or the washing hung out, or the bathroom given the once over, that’s one less thing my husband and I have to think about and the children are chuffed they’re earning cold hard cash.
Ella racked up a whopping £50 over four weeks and has been so impressed with her saving power over the month she doesn’t want to spend it. “Mum – if I can earn £50 EVERY month that’s £600 a year!”
Quite (gasp). But it’s cheaper than a cleaner.
The Jarvis family chores chart:
Cleaning the car: £3 (£5 for inside and out)
Making a bed: 10p
Hoovering a room: 20p
Cleaning the bathroom (including the loo) £2
Loading the washing machine: 20p
Unloading the washing machine and hanging up the clothes: 50p
Folding dry clothes and putting them away: 50p
A positive point at school or over 70% on a test: £1
Tidying a bedroom: 50p
Cooking a meal: £2
Average pocket money according to age