Sometimes I’m pretty good at predicting which way the comments are going to go on my Stir articles, but I have to say, this one has exceeded my wildest expectations.

:::

That gym I’ve been going to has a bunch of family activities on the weekend, including a big sports court filled with inflatable things. We took the boys there last Sunday, and as soon as I saw the enormous towering balloon-slide I thought, there’s no way either of them are trying that. It must have been like 30 feet tall, no shit. I would have been intimated to slide down the damn thing.

Plus, you know, Riley. With the tentative, nervous-of-new-things thing. I figured we’d take a look at it and move on to the tamer jumpy castle or maybe the basketball area. some Ping-Pong balls around.

Well, damned if he didn’t get right in line, scale it like a pro without a single moment of hesitation, and come barreling down at lightning speed in order to shout, “THAT WAS SO AWESOME! CAN I DO IT AGAIN?”

After that, he coached his little brother into going, too. “Dylan, you go in front of me so I can make sure you’re okay. It’s a little scary but I promise you’ll have fun.”

Oh, you guys. Is it dumb to get teary-eyed over a huge garish inflatable slide punnishly labeled MOUNT RUSHMORE? Because I totally did.

Screen shot 2011-12-07 at 6.04.36 PM

:::

We started giving Riley an allowance recently, and I settled somewhat arbitrarily on the amount of $2 per week. For that he’s expected to clean his room, pick up toys in the living room, feed the cat, make sure the shop is picked up after he’s in there with his dad, and tidy his pens and crap from the kitchen table—otherwise I cruelly pocket the money and buy half a Starbucks.

I know there’s no one right answer, but I thought I’d ask you what your allowance strategy is. How did you decide when to start, how much to dole out, etc?

Comments

95 Responses to “3 things, unrelated”

  1. Shannon on December 8th, 2011 11:33 am

    I recently started giving my 6 year old daughter a $2 per week allowance. To get it she needs to have adhered 95% or better to expected tasks-feed cat, keep room tidy clean up aftr self, put away her laundry, help load/unload car etc. She can also earn extra by doing extra chores (vaccuming car,sweeping etc)as long as I agree in adavance and she’s @95% adherent to daily stuff. System is working well but still not having as much success on a) stopping the “I want X, you never buy my anything” etc etc rant happening each time we go near a store or a toy commercial comes on and b) enhancing counting and change recognition skills.
    I will however rave about the fabulous bank I got for her- the MoonJar http://www.moonjar.com/ that has 3 separate compartments for Spend, Save and Share. My daughter undertands the difference and splits up her loot (most goes to Spend but whose doesn’t?). She has also saved up for an arcade gaming spreee and given to the local animal shelter.

  2. Jenny on December 8th, 2011 11:34 am

    I give my 6-year-old daughter $2 per week for cleaning her room, setting the table, and sweeping the dining room, living room, and kitchen. All other chores don’t get paid — we all do something for being part of the family. If she doesn’t do the chores, she gets paid only partial allowance, or none, depending on how much she did. I think after seeing her purchasing power at Christmas, she might pick up the slack again!

  3. souphead on December 8th, 2011 11:36 am

    “Dylan, you go in front of me so I can make sure you’re okay. It’s a little scary but I promise you’ll have fun.”

    OMG, is Riley the best big brother ever or what!?

    I got a little teary and they’re not my kids.

  4. melanie on December 8th, 2011 12:10 pm

    the comments on your Stir article are flipping hilarious… love love LOVE the post and I cannot fathom anyone thinking that was a serious piece.

  5. Jae on December 8th, 2011 12:39 pm

    Whenever my parents gave me an allowance, I got it regardless of chores and things like that. My mom said that it should never be a case of being rewarded for what I should already be doing. I always thought that made sense.

  6. Her_McCall on December 8th, 2011 12:42 pm

    1) Go, Riley!
    2) OMG the comments on your article…I don’t even…
    Favorite: ‘What a anal perspective lol’ by Ron.

    Bahaha the Haters are so Hatery.

  7. Kristin on December 8th, 2011 12:47 pm

    Wow. I couldn’t stop myself from reading every single comment on your Stir post. That was unbelievable! I am sad to know so many people without a sense of humor (or ability to spell) exist. Also, Bob’s tail!!!! Brilliant.

  8. Rachel on December 8th, 2011 1:29 pm

    I gave $1 for every year old starting at age three and it’s not conditional on anything. Everyone has to do routine chores, no one gets paid for them (they do get paid for some household projects, like cutting down trees and sawing/chopping them into firepit sized pieces). I added a variable bi-weekly amount starting in Middle School that covered a reasonable food budget and a twice yearly amount for clothes. I see allowance as ongoing education in money management. I’m big on letting kids make mistakes with money that have tangible consequences, like having to miss a meal because they blew their lunch budget on treats early in the week.

    Of course I’m talking about a child who is now 16 (!!!!!) so it’ll be a bit before that’s a good idea with your boys. But overall, when they’re old enough to understand trading this for that I think they’re old enough to start learning about money.

  9. HRJ on December 8th, 2011 2:31 pm

    I started to read The Stir comments then thought, “ooooh this is going to be good” so went & made a coffee so I could sit back & read & drink at my absolutely delighted leisure. I think many of the commenters might be the offspring of married cousins. I’m just sayin’.

  10. Amy N on December 8th, 2011 2:53 pm

    I got teary reading about the giant inflatable slide and how he was looking out for his little brother! I got similarly teary eyed over my nervous nellie and a waterslide last summer! And when my 7yo thanked his older brother for the picture he drew by saying, “oh Ian! You make my heart smile!”

    Gotta love those moments. No allowance advice….that and tooth fairy reimbursement has me stumped !

  11. Maggie on December 8th, 2011 3:22 pm

    I’m so happy to see these allowance comments. We’re just about to start giving our 5-year old one, but have been arguing over whether to tie it to chores. There’s a good tool/game on Amazon – you decide on an amount (we’re going to do $4 or $5), then the kid divides it into 3 categories – save it, share it, spend it, and you set goals. It’s called the Get-it challenge, I think, but I’ve seen a few things similar to it.

    The Stir comments? I, um, well… I just have no words. Seriously can’t decide whether to be depressed or just keep laughing my ass off. Loved the article though. Very funny.

    Also, had the same experience with the big slide this year- I think my heart swelled up that day :-)

  12. Melissa on December 8th, 2011 3:31 pm

    Our kids get their age (5 & 8) in allowance every second week. With the exception of Birthday and Christmas, we don’t buy them toys etc, they have to buy their own stuff with this. Its not tied to rewards or punishment…chores are done because you are member of the household. My 5 year old just sticks it in her piggy bank, she doesn’t really “get” the value of money yet, but is thrilled when she (rarely) decides she wants something and magically can afford to buy it. My 8 year old BURNS to spend every cent he has the second its in his pocket. He has to save $2 of that each allowance period. He is forever asking if we can just lend him a few bucks until he gets more allowance. He’s learning you can’t spend money you don’t have. We haven’t told him about credit yet ;)

  13. Faye on December 8th, 2011 3:52 pm

    My son is 7 and he can get half his age each week. We told him some had to go to savings and some had to go to donations. He choose $.75 for each and $2 for himself. We will figure it out again when he turns 8. He has a wallet for his money and a piggy bank for the other two (one of which he was given when we opened up his savings account). When he has saved $10-$20 he gives us the money, we transfer double the money from our account into his account online (like 401k matching), and we put the cash and coins back into the allowance jar to keep using. He can use his donation money whenever there is something going on at school or whenever he thinks about it and we also match that money.

    We struggled with whether or not to tie his allowance to his chores. We decided on a combination strategy. If he does all of his chores on time (by Saturday at 8pm), he gets his allowance. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t get his allowance but then he also doesn’t get TV until the chores are done. I think the key is to consider what motivates your child (TV and money for our son) and figure out what you’re trying to teach him/her. We want him to know that you don’t get rewarded if you don’t do your work, but that there are also consequences beyond just not getting paid. What would happen if you didn’t do your work at your job? You don’t just lose your paycheck; you would probably lose your job, too. Also, there are things that he is expected to do that are not on his chore chart, like making his bed, taking his dirty clothes to the laundry room, cleaning up after himself in the shared spaces of the house, etc. Find your own balance and always be thoughtful about what you are trying to teach them in the long run.

  14. Halyn on December 8th, 2011 3:56 pm

    *Halyn has died from the toxic stupidity of your Stir commenters*

    I think my favorite aspect of all the derp over there was how everyone was in such a hurry to comment and tell you how stupid you are that they didn’t realize they were the eleventy-first person to rant about how “gay didn’t always mean HOMO, it used to mean HAPPY, you moron!! Why do you hate Christmas?” I really liked the commenter who accused you of wanting every one to wear drab, shabby clothes. I laughed a lot over there, but honestly, I’m a little scared by how many stupid people have access to the internet.

  15. Donna on December 8th, 2011 4:24 pm

    Yay, Riley —

    I couldn’t read all those Stir/Cafe Mom comments — my head was ready to explode after page 3. Can people really be that dumb? Yeah. . . guess so.

    Also, let us know if you give in to Aunt Linda’s allowance proposal. . .!

  16. Sara on December 8th, 2011 6:06 pm

    Love the article, but man o man those comments just about made my day! Amazing. Seriously amazing.

  17. Nik-Nak on December 8th, 2011 6:28 pm

    That’s alot of work for 2 bucks. Kid needs to learn how to negotiate. LOL

  18. Anu on December 8th, 2011 7:13 pm

    This looks like the Best Gym Ever. I’m beginning to wish I’d gone to that second round interviews for ye olde companye in Seattle myself.

  19. Molly on December 8th, 2011 7:21 pm

    Oh god those comments on The Stir were a LAUGH RIOT! And they just kept coming. Holy shit how many people out there think there is a horse named “Bob Tail” in “Jingle Bells”?! That made me cackle like a loon…several times. I can always count on a good laugh when I read your stuff.

  20. HHRose on December 8th, 2011 8:20 pm

    I read something on Facebook recently that insisted sarcasm should have its own font. You should look into that. ;-)

  21. Jenn on December 8th, 2011 8:58 pm

    My boys are asking me, “What’s wrong Mommy?” as I read, laughing/ tears streaming, through the comments of your holiday song post. I am so glad to hear that some of your readers, while they do sing the lyrics, DO NOT condone the bobbing of horses’ tails. I haven’t laughed this hard (or cried with fear for this world) in a long time. Enough said.

    As for allowance, we haven’t started anything formal for our boys (6 and 4). They have chores, which we say are part of being a family and helping each other, but I do want to start a programme of saving/spending based on money earned for a job well done, as I do think this will set them up for financial success later on in life. I am looking forward to more comments on this thread, unless of course, they involve the word gay.

  22. Sara on December 8th, 2011 10:23 pm

    My FAVORITE comment was the one that rambled on about her kids in their thirtys specially when she commented that her daughter was wife to ONE husband. Um…okay.

    I also loved how everyone told you that gay in that song meant happy. REALLY? You totally didn’t know that did you? Ha, hahahahahaha.

    “Do you hear what I hear???” STELLAR! My nose still burns from the pop I shot out of it thanks to you.

    I truely can’t believe THAT many people are that stupid. I mean, it’s scary Linda.

    Next you should write an artical on how eating your kids placenta is like the only way to truely appreciate the shit your body just did for nine months or something. Cause I’d totally love the comments on that one.

  23. Kater on December 8th, 2011 10:40 pm

    In regards to allowance, my kids (ages 6 &9) each have a weekly chore chart. Most items are worth $.10 (things like feed the dog, clean room, empty dishwasher) but a couple are worth $.25 (schoolwork, vaccum, clean bathroom). They earn stickers on the chart for doing the chore WITHOUT complaining or being hassled to do it. My thought is that they live in the house and need to do their share, but I will pay for their cooperation. If they complain, they still have to do the work but they don’t get the reward. They also can do “bonus chores” which can be any amount and are usually bigger jobs. I usually end up paying each about $1.50-$2 a week.

  24. cakeburnette on December 9th, 2011 5:07 am

    The commenters on the other site make me sad. There are entirely too many stupid people walking around parading as intelligent life…

  25. Olivia on December 9th, 2011 7:30 am

    I’m laughing so hard at those comments on the christmas songs. Some people have got their christmas sweaters on too tight.

  26. Barbara on December 9th, 2011 8:23 am

    Aunt Linda has it all right!!!

  27. Anne on December 9th, 2011 8:48 am

    What is wrong with these people?! If you can’t pick up on a little holiday sarcasm… Geez!

  28. Maggie on December 9th, 2011 8:53 am

    The comments on that Stir article Cracked Me UP! Some people need to get a sense of humor!

    I have gotten teary over smaller things (literally and figuratively) than that for sure! It was so embarrassing at conferences when my daughter’s teacher was gushing about how awesome she is, I just wanted her to stop before I broke into the ugly cry.

    I am lame about allowance. I always start a chore chart with stickers and all, and after about a week, it all goes to shit. I should get back to it. I think $2 per week is a totally appropriate. Do you let him earn extra for extra chores? I sometimes pay my kids to fold the laundry ;) (don’t judge)

  29. JMH on December 9th, 2011 8:55 am

    I gave up with a weekly allowance since I never have cash. So now, my 10 yr. old and my 7 yr. old earn marbles for specific jobs. When they fill up their jar, they get $10….but they have to pay “taxes” $2 has to go to our church or a charity and $2 has to go into their savings accounts. The rest is theirs to spend or save. We had a family discussion of what chores were worth and created a chart. Also, they can lose marbles for misbehaving or not finishing the job. If you want to see a copy of our chart, email me :)

  30. Melissa on December 9th, 2011 8:58 am

    I have yet to figure out how to make the kid WANT the money she’d get if she did her chores regularly. I make a chart for the summer, but it never lasts more than two weeks. I did do a reading chart, if she read as required i’d buy her a new DS game, and she did accomplish that. Maybe a star type chart is the way I should go next.

  31. Jen W. on December 9th, 2011 9:17 am

    Oh the comments! I started reading them and was so happy that people GOT it, and then…oh my.

  32. alyn on December 9th, 2011 9:19 am

    The fact that Riley helped Dylan conquer Mt. Rushmore makes the whole post.

    BTW, I have NEVER been able to get any work out of my kids in exchange for allowance. Needless to say……no allowance. Although if my youngest practices his viola and violin 5 hours a week (total), I will give him $10. Considering how much I pay for his private lessons, another $40 per month is not a big deal.

  33. Lisa on December 9th, 2011 9:22 am

    Those comments were freaking hilarious! I think in light of our nation’s fiscal woes, you should post Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” and see if you can cause a good ol’ fashioned fracas over eating babies. For 300 years people whose satire alert button was never properly installed have been getting their panties in a bunch over that one and it just never gets old. People’s moral indignation + lack of humor = fun times. Thanks for making me laugh laugh laugh, funny girl.

  34. Kristina on December 9th, 2011 10:08 am

    Re: The Stir. I’m guessing that’s the first time you’ve been called an “over sensitive Christian “keep Christ in christmas” fox news worshipping morons.”

  35. seadragon on December 9th, 2011 10:31 am

    That blow up slide looks terrifying, and became all the more so when I noticed your kids climbing the stairs in the middle and they provided some scale, making me realize it was even bigger than I’d first perceived. I’m impressed!

  36. Jen on December 9th, 2011 10:49 am

    One of my personal favorites: “May you have a aweful Christmas for making this season bitter and cold,you selfish and horrible prick.”

    I’m terrified that these people are out there and raising children! But yay for hilarious (and frightening) comments to read!

  37. anne on December 9th, 2011 11:12 am

    Oh, my. About the comments, I mean.

    *pats you on the back*

    Also: your boys are amazing. I am not a mom myself, but two of my best friends are mothers to sons, and I have insisted that they read you! :)

  38. anne on December 9th, 2011 11:12 am

    (comments on the Stir article, that would be)

  39. Toni on December 9th, 2011 12:34 pm

    I actually died reading the comments on your “article”. DIED. God bless those fucking cretins. I had absolutely no idea of the extent of retardation suffered by some people.

    Can we have your comments on the comments?

    I for one hope you do not have an “aweful” Christmas.

  40. Maggie on December 9th, 2011 12:42 pm

    ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod they keep coming!!! I weep! Also, I still laugh uncontrollably….

    And now I’m scared that the editors of the Stir are going to shift their focus or whatever now that they know what kind of readers they have. Can they split the site into 2, maybe? You have to pass a quick intelligence test to read the articles on the other side?

  41. sara on December 9th, 2011 9:23 pm

    I go on cafemom pretty often and sometimes I have absolutely no idea why because it seems like everyone on there is INSANE and just DYING to judge you, lol. Seriously though, they are constantly ouraged slash offended slash berating someone somewhere for doing something that may seem harmless but will actually kill and/or maim and/or detroy their childs ability to grow into a productive adult. That being said..You are sooo my favorite writer on there and I get super excited for the Walking Dead recaps every week.. And I love the blog, perfect balance of hilarious and adorable :) Thanks for all the laughs!!

  42. Karl on December 10th, 2011 11:41 am

    Allowances … we never did allowances. If the kids needed a few bucks, they could ask, and if they were keeping up with chores and such we’ll usually hand it out. Also there was always something extra (and suitably nasty) to do if they wanted some serious cash.

    We did do lunch money for school lunches and at least one kid saved the money and skipped lunch (or bummed uneaten bits from other kids!).

    I never felt religiously about allowances one way or another, if anything I was uncomfortable giving kids money just because they were there. :-) In hindsight (they are adults now) I feel that they would have turned out pretty much the same whether they had had allowances or not. Two of them can budget and save, and they were always that way. The other two never missed a chance to spend two dollars when spending one would do, and they were always that way. An allowance might help some kids learn how to handle money but it’s not a hard and fast rule for everyone by a long shot.

  43. kim on December 10th, 2011 12:02 pm

    I always read your articles over there, but after I read just a handful of comments on that article I felt like emailing you and saying, “how can you stand it??? doesn’t writing for asshats wear you out?” but that seemed rude and not my place, so I didn’t. I’m glad you mentioned it here. I couldn’t go back and read all the comments – it makes me sad that there is so much stupid and hate. I like your commenters here – full of interesting/smart/witty/kindness. (most of the time)

    k

  44. Amanda on December 12th, 2011 12:32 pm

    Ok, so I don’t know if you will read this, bc it’s like a week late or so, but I finally clicked on the link for most comments. HOLY SHIT. I have lost almost an hour reading them and they just keep coming and coming and coming. The crazies are officially out of the nut house! I’m gonna say it… “Legend….. dary” Amazing. BTW my favorite is the comments with the Emoti-cons banging their heads on the walls, etc. : ) AMAZING!!!!

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