When Should You Start Giving Your Kid An Allowance?

After picking up my son from school today, I literally parked the car, sent him to the bathroom to take a shower and sat down at my computer. You see, something’s bothering me, something urgent. Not life-threatening or world-moving urgent, but definitely mommy urgent. I need your advice.

My son asked his friend to buy him an ice cream cone

When I got to school, the kiddo was at the pickup area eating an ice cream cone. Some of his classmates get sent money when they go to school, and they like to go to the cafeteria after class to get snacks. I know this because there have been a couple of times in the past when my son told me that his friend bought him a treat.

Thing is, my son doesn’t have an allowance just yet. MrC and I talked about it, and we decided together that we can give him small amounts of money when he asks, but not a regular weekly allowance. In the beginning, I thought it might be a good idea to give him maybe a hundred Pesos at the start of each week and see how it goes from there. When we discussed, though, MrC pointed out that the kid gets a packed lunch and recess too, and that it might be a little too much to send him money regularly. So we agreed to only give him cash if and when he asked. Which he never did.

I asked if his classmate offered to treat him, or if he asked for money to buy the ice cream. Unfortunately, he asked. He said that he just really wanted to buy ice cream. I told him that he should have asked me for money this morning, and that I would have given it to him if he asked.

But wait, there’s more

As we were walking to the car, I saw that he had 20 Pesos in his pocket, which he supposedly won in a game. That kind of alarmed me because I don’t like the idea of him taking money from other kids. I explained to him that it’s not right to take things from his classmates, especially money. He apologized and said that he understood. I also said that I would send money to pay his classmate back for the ice cream, and that he should return the 20 Pesos to whoever gave it to him. He agreed to do it.

I feel like this is all my fault

At the end of it all, if I had just given him some money for himself, then he wouldn’t need to ask from other people. Were we wrong in our decision not to give him an allowance? I’m pretty sure I wasn’t given money by my parents until I was in the 3rd grade. That’s not until next year for my son. But whatever it is, I really am bothered, not because of what he did, but because I feel like I failed him. He couldn’t get that ice cream cone for himself because I failed to give him money for it. I don’t think I was considerate enough of his needs and his wants.

At the same time, MrC and I want to teach him discipline. We want him to learn that in order to get what he wants, he needs to earn it. If I had given in and started sending him money to school, would that have been spoiling him? I think that MrC and I need to talk about this and rethink our decision.

Am I overreacting?

What would you do, mommies? 

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About MrsC | Patricia Cuyugan

I am a happy mom and housewife. Outside of this, I'm also a writer, a crocheter, and a self-taught home cook. I'm part of a book club, and I enjoy binge-watching my favorite TV shows. I'm super entertaining on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat! Follow me: MrsPCuyugan.

29 thoughts on “When Should You Start Giving Your Kid An Allowance?

  1. Hi Patricia. This is really one of the big issues we, moms, face today. I’m scared of being in this stage too. Unfortunately, it’s really different today. I know your desire to discipline your child and the feeling of failing to execute this because you saw your kid almost desperate for an allowance. However, I believe you are at the right path. Teaching the values of money to him at this early age is important. You can give him extras occasionally which he can save up or bring to school whenever he wants to. It’s not giving him an allowance but letting him have something to pull out of his pocket when he wants something. Of course a piggy bank helps a lot too. Maybe from saving up for food he craves for, he will ten learn to save up for bigger things like toys and shoes. And he will not be expecting something from you because you will give him occasionally like when he did help you with dishes, or finished his assignments, things like that.

    I enjoyed talking too much. Sorry for this ‘mala MMK’ na comment! 😀 I always enjoy reading your posts

    1. Haha! Thank you, I appreciate the MMK comment! 🙂 My kid does have a piggy bank, but it’s one of those ones that you have to break to open. We plan on depositing the amount that he saves up once it’s full. I really do like the idea of the allowance being on a “reward system basis” for now. 🙂 Thanks for the advice!

  2. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not giving your child allowance money. My daughter earns money by doing chores at home. Then she puts some away in her coinbank and keep some in her wallet to spend on whatever she likes. She still ends up not spending her money and putting it away in her coinbank.

  3. After reading your post, I asked kaagad my daughter if she asks her classmates to buy for her. Thank God di naman. We also don’t give regular allowance. My daughter is Grade 3. We give her lunch and snack baon for school. Sometimes we give her allowance only if she asks.

  4. Hi Chums,
    Don’t feel bad. It’s a way of disciplining the kids. I was given allowance when I was already in highschool. I remember I envied my friends who has their money but I didn’t feel that I was deprived because my mom let me understand why I don’t need to be given regular allowance. Hindi daw basta basta mapupulot and pera sa daan. Hehehe That’s what I did to my son too. We gave him money when he was in 1st highschool. Yun nga kasi he has his snacks and packed lunch naman. And we don’t encourage eating junk foods especially chips and soda. Alam mo naman ang mga bata, for sure yun lang ang gusto nilang bilhin. We tag him along Sa supermarket so he can choose kung anung food ang gusto niya.But we do reward him if he gets exceptionally high grades kaya he can go to starbucks with his friends. Now that we moved here, They have free breakfast and lunch in School so hindi na rin namin siya binibigyan ng allowance ulit. We still continue to reward him if he has A in quizzes and a little bit more pag sa report card.

    Just let him understand why he doesn’t need to have his own money especially since you always prepare delicious food for him. If he wants something, there’s nothing wrong in asking you…

    🙂

  5. Don’t feel bad. You didn’t know this was going to happen and obviously, this needed to happen so that you can teach a valuable lesson to your child. And I must say, you did great in explaining to him. 🙂

    My girls are already 12 and 11 years old but they still don’t get a regular allowance from me. Why? For the same reason that I always pack lunch and snacks for them. I do this to make sure that they’re not eating junk in school. If I give them money, I will not be there to make sure they are going to make healthy food choices. Not that I don’t trust them, but kids will be kids kasi, right?

    I only give them an allowance on those days that I didn’t have time to prepare food in the morning and that happens rarely. Maybe next year I’ll start giving Zoe a monthly allowance when she’s already in 7th grade. 🙂

  6. Don’t feel bad! You prepare packed food naman for your son so I don’t think you had to give him an allowance. It’s good, though, that you talked to him about it. 🙂 Both my kids aren’t going to school yet. When they do start going to school, I plan to make them *work* for their allowance through house chores. I don’t plan to make slaves out of my children, but I just want them to understand that money doesn’t just come when they ask for it. They need to work for it.

  7. i remember i started getting my daily allowances at kinder 2 and weekly allowances at grade 1. i know my dad started early because i was already making kupit when i was in kinder 1 to buy chippy, but then that was like a century ago and i dont really know what is the norm now. my son is in grade 1 now and i dont give him allowances yet. i’m thinking kasi that his lunch bag is packed with snacks and is actually more than enough for a kid his age, just to lessen the possibility of him begging food from his classmates and for him din to learn to share. good thing with his school, the canteen is in the secondary – high school building, and the casa – primary kids are not allowed to go there. so far, i have not heard him ask for money to buy food, but your blog is definitely a good heads up for me to start thinking about it.

    1. Hi Gina, thanks for visiting. I actually didn’t know that my kid’s batch was allowed to visit the canteen until about mid-school year. Apparently they can go after class. If anything, it’s really more for him to be able to buy treats, I guess. So I suppose I don’t really need to give him money regularly, just on special days or when he asks. After all, I don’t want him getting ice cream after class each day. Hello, hyper sugar rush!

  8. I don’t give allowances to Kib, primarily because he’s homeschooled (lol). Kidding aside, I randomly give him money to put on his piggy bank. There may be times that he asks for some cash because he wants to buy something at suking tindahan. When he earns from his modelling gig, definitely I buy him what he wants (because it’s his money). Now that he’s a big older, I really wanted to instill to him that if he wants something, he has to work hard for it, which my parents also taught us. They only provide us the basics, apart from that, we have to save money and buy the things that we want for ourselves.

      1. kinda, hehehe…no baon to prepare, ahihi…so when Kib asks to buy him some minute items, I can’t resist, hehe…but sometimes when I say I don’t have money, he would say, ‘go to ATM and withdraw money’, waaaah! Just like what Raquel suggested, you can give money randomly then let him do whatever he wants with the money, but reminding him to save a part of it. Let him attend the Money Smart Kids of Manila Workshops, haha

  9. In my case, I usually give my child money when he’s going with his friends’ family. I inform the parents of his friends that my child has money to spend. But of course, my son is home schooled so he doesn’t need allowance everyday.

    Hmm, I think there’s nothing wrong with not giving your child allowance if you feel that he’s not ready. You can just talk to him and tell him to wait until you come to buy him what he wants. Or he can just tell you before he goes to school the next day so you can give him money for it . 🙂 It’s an opportunity to teach him about patience.

  10. Hi, Patty! Don’t feel bad. I think that there’s nothing wrong with you not giving him money or a regular allowance in the first place. I would have done the same thing. You pack his school lunch and snacks everyday, anyway. And you telling him that you would pay back his classmate the P20 is a teachable moment there. I just hope this won’t make him think that it’s okay to do it again because “Mommy will pay you back anyway.”

    Take this now as a “growing up” step for him. You yourself said that you want to discipline him and you want him to learn that if he wants something, he needs to earn for it. How about a chore chart for him and do some kind of point system that will make him earn money. Make it fun with “responsibility” chores or “good character” and I think it’s going to be a win-win situation for both of you. You get to teach him discipline and he gets moolah for his A-fforts 🙂

      1. How are you with this concern, Patty? Just an afterthought…if you’ve decided to give him school allowance, then I suggest that you also teach him to buy wisely. You might also want to check your school cafeteria every now and then to see what they’re actually selling. Too much sweets and junk food are no-no’s for me. Just my two cents worth 🙂

        1. The good thing is his batch can only access the cafeteria after school, so that means he has no choice but to eat what I pack for him for recess and lunch. At the end of the day, they only have drinks and ice cream left, and that’s what the kids go for. Not giving him an allowance means that yes, I get to regulate his ice cream and C2 intake, which is a good thing! 😀

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