At this age, your child likes to spend money, whether on sweets, toys, CDs, computer games or clothes. He has no trouble at all in exchanging dollars for goods, and will happily spend his cash – and any more that you are prepared to give – as quickly as he can.
You know he has to learn that money doesn’t grow on trees, that every dollar has to be earned, and that sometimes, he should save small amounts of money in order to build up a larger amount for a big purchase.
HOW MUCH Make the weekly sum reasonable. Ask your friends what they give to their children, ask her teacher, and look at prices in the canteen – how much does a bowl of noodles cost, for example? About $1 to $2 is often enough, although he may tell you that some of his classmates bring $10 to school every day. Stand firm – does a P1 child really need to spend $10 a day?
TIME SCALE It’s important to explain that he needs to spend wisely and the money not be replenished until the same time next week. He may take some time to digest this, as he’s so used to getting things whenever he asks for it.
FIXED SUM Stick to the amount you decided on. Of course, he may sometimes need more, say, when there’s a school outing, but resist the urge to replenish his pocket money just because he blew the lot too early.
Discuss pocket money with her before she gets it. There are three key points that she should consider:
HE CAN’T BUY EVERYTHING as his financial resources are limited, so he needs to make sensible choices. This is a good time to xplain that your own finances operate on the same principles and that you have a limited budget, too.
GIVE BACK He should donate a small amount of her allowance to charity – such as the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund – each week. It only needs to be a coin with the smallest value, just as long as he grasps the principle of giving to others who are less fortunate. He can put her donation in one of the many collection boxes in shops and supermarkets.
Teach kids money skills