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  • Money Doesn't Grow on Trees: Here's How You Can Teach Kids To Earn Their Keep

    Striking a balance between giving allowances and assigning chores may be the perfect recipe for money-smart kids.
    by Rachel Perez .
Money Doesn't Grow on Trees: Here's How You Can Teach Kids To Earn Their Keep
  • All parents strive to teach kids that having material possessions is not the most important in life. But sometimes, we can’t help but splurge on some cute stuff for them, too (so much for being a role model). But teaching them money lessons doesn’t mean the end of your retail therapy (we know it can be addicting to add to cart!). However, being a parent to preschooler children and older kids means teaching them about responsibility, hard work, and money management.

    Mom of three Shaketha Marion McGregor hit several birds with one stone by holding a job fair for her kids Jahkeem, 13, Takeia, 10, and Serinity, 6. She got tired of her kids incessantly asking for allowance and even a new cellphone so she decided to empower her kids to work hard for their own money and learn the value of hard work.

    “Yesterday, I told them that I’ve heard their requests and that I’ll have a surprise for them today when they get home from school,” McGregor shared. That afternoon, she posted job openings for a kitchen manager, lead housekeeper, and laundry supervisor. Her kids had to fill up an application complete with questions such as “What is your desired salary?” and “When can you start?” and even held job interviews.

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    “It’s a whole hiring event! If you want it, work for it, earn it!” the mom of three shared. McGregor even put up an in-home credit union so her kids can start building their “allowance as well as character.” Her genius idea has been shared for more than 131,000 times since she posted it last August 14, 2019.

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    The mom of three gave her kids some money and told them to “Spend it any way you want. “It was different than me buying them something — they were suddenly checking prices. I noticed they were more cautious because it was their money. They wanted to save,” McGregor shared with Today Parents.

    Giving allowance or money as a reward for doing chores

    Every family is different. Many moms and dads start their kids on an allowance as early as age 7, depending on their expenses at school, if they bring packed lunch or not. Some parents dispense allowances weekly so the kids can also learn to manage their spending. Others give their children rewards when they accomplish chores.

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    Giving kids allowances works only when parents also take time to sit down with their children and discuss finances with them. “Unfortunately, very few parents today have the time, patience, expertise and willingness to have the correct conversations with kids,” said Lewis Mandell, professor emeritus of finance and former dean of business at the State University of New York.

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    But “paying” kids or giving them money in exchange for doing chores may lead to a sense of entitlement. Family psychologist Suniya Luthar believes that parents should assign their children chores not because they expect to earn money but because it is part of maintaining the home.

    Teaching children to earn their “wants” by doing hard work

    As with anything, parents should strive for balance. Giving children age-appropriate chores at home helps teach them responsibility, as well as essential life skills. Still, allowing them to earn a little extra for doing chores outside of their daily to-do tasks can also teach them another vital lesson.

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    “I want them to really know that there’s nothing wrong with earning the things you really want in life,” McGregor, a cancer survivor and correctional officer, told Yahoo Lifestyle. The mom of three has been through a series of financial troubles herself, including losing their home to a fire and working hard to get her family back on their feet. She wanted to teach her kids to be financially prepared for any unexpected situations.

    McGregor wants to show other parents that it’s never too early to teach children about the money — and to have a little fun in the process. She has since put up her own business, a shopping service that provides learning kits, cool apparel, and books to fellow parents. Perhaps entrepreneurship is the next money lesson she has in line for her kids!

    Considering to start giving your child an allowance? Know when is the right age, how much is enough, and how to teach them to save first here!

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