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Would you like to give your child an allowance?



Whether it is their level of interest or required effort, there are many things to consider before giving your child an allowance.


The 5-6 year old is considered responsible enough to receive an allowance. While age can be an indicator of readiness, your child is in fact ready to start managing a small budget as soon as he or she shows an interest in money.


If your child is interested in your daily expenses, understands the basic concepts of savings and bargains, and likes to calculate the price of items when you go shopping with them, these are good indicators that they are ready to receive an allowance.


Since there are no rules and it's more of a judgement on a case-by-case basis, let your deductive skills guide you.


Why is it appropriate to offer an allowance?


"It's all good to give an allowance, but we also need to keep an eye on what our children are spending. Without being too much at their heels, I always make sure my 8- and 9-year-olds are making good purchases for themselves."

- Émilie, mother of Alexis and Raphaëlle


It's more than just a question of age, it's about seeing how responsible your child is. Try testing them. Give them a fixed amount of money, $10 for example, to spend at the grocery store. What do they buy? What do they leave out? What are the reasons for their choices?


Unlike an allowance, giving your child money on an as-needed basis does not necessarily teach them how to manage their money on a daily basis, as it gives them the impression that they can receive money whenever they want it.


A weekly allowance will teach your child how to:

  • Manage a steady inflow of money;
  • Plan their spending ahead of time;
  • Set short- or long-term goals;
  • Achieve their goals.

How do you choose which tasks to pay for?


"My first mistake was not prioritizing. I gave the same allowance for each task. I quickly realized that tasks like taking out the trash or mowing the lawn don't take the same amount of time."

- Julien, Simon-Charles' father


"I made the choice at the beginning to offer an allowance for certain tasks and not a regular paycheck each month. I was tempted by both options, but the first one suited me better."

- Claudio, father of Charles and Eric


And you, how will you determine which tasks will be paid and which will not?


You can differentiate tasks according to the time they take to complete, the frequency and their nature. A task may also deserve compensation because it would have required payment from someone else. You can write them down in a chart and make sure each task is also prioritized according to your values and family philosophy. 


How do I set an allowance?


4 useful tips for setting a fair and equitable allowance amount:


  1. Give your child the opportunity to negotiate.
    Really? Of course you can! Remember, you always have the final say. You may be pleasantly surprised when they convince you.
  2. Set the allowance according to your budget.
    An allowance based on your own financial means should be the most logical thing to do. Take the time to explain this to your child so they understand your reasoning. This real-life example will help your child budget with his or her new allowance. For example, he or she can allocate an amount to savings, expenses and sharing.
  3. Use small bills.
    A tried-and-true trick: offer the allowance in small bills. First, not only does this trick make it easier to divide the allowance between amounts dedicated to saving, spending and sharing, but it also familiarizes your child with bills and coins. Besides, a $10 allowance will seem bigger if it's given in small bills, right?
  4. Consider the age of your child.
    A 7-year-old will have different financial needs than a 12-year-old. The tasks to be accomplished will not be of the same importance either.


Note that the educational purpose of an allowance is more important than the amount you give.