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?

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JennB
10 years ago

I give the Girl $5 whenever I have cash, which is practically never.
Also – the readers at The Stir? 50% awesome, 50% asshats. WTFF, people?

m @ random musings
10 years ago

I think the right amount of allowance is so that he has to save up for stuff he wants without having to wait so long that (due to development, maturity, etc) he doesn’t forget what his goal is.

My friend has two girls and one of the things their allowance/job money goes towards is spending when kiddos are out with their own friends (ie. after school). The one daughter will find free activities or be a homebody. The other has two part time jobs and prefers cash for bday/xmas gifts. It’s a really great way to learn more about personalities and teach consequences of prioritizing different values.

Scott
Scott
10 years ago

1) We gave Sofia a list of things she was supposed to do every day: clean her room, feed the cat, etc. Every day she did it, she got a star on a chart. At the end of the week, if she got more than a certain number of stars, then she got $2. That way she could work on consistency, but she didn’t have to be perfect. As she got better I ramped up the reward and also the number of stars required to get it.

2) The comments on that Stir article make me so happy. My favorite: “Sorry but this artcak was stupid.” Well said!

CF in VA
10 years ago

My almost 4 year old girl did a similar thing to the slide back around Halloween. Similar scene with a zipline that was maybe 6 feet off the ground at a local pumpkin patch. I knew she was scared of it but after she watched and studied it, with kids going down it, for several minutes she finally jumped up on the platform and took her turn. She went down and got off and expressed no desire to do it again, but I was so proud that she looked it the eye and whipped it.

Kristin
Kristin
10 years ago

Hooray for Riley! And the title Mt. Rushmore made me giggle. Is it supposed to be satirical? Haha-sorry. :)

Laura Diniwilk
10 years ago

Thanks for linking to the Stir comments, that was HILARIOUS. I guess I just assumed that most of the people who read your articles over there came from here and know you. Guess not.

There is no real logic to this, but I always thought a good weekly allowance is $5 when you’re 5, $6 when you’re 6, etc.

Carla Hinkle
Carla Hinkle
10 years ago

We started in 1st grade with $3/week, so pretty similar. She has used it for things like a sparkly Hello Kitty case for a hand-me-down iPod touch and a ridiculously over priced back pack that she REALLY WANTED.

Cate
Cate
10 years ago

re the comments on your article: I think “woman your nuts” said it all. Woman! Your Nuts! So perfect.

Steph
Steph
10 years ago

I can’t decide if my favorite comment was the “us parents are santa, we see our kids when they are asleep…” or the one that rambled off in (half) parentheses about their kids in their 30s and I seriously couldn’t follow it, even though I gave it a fully half-hearted attempt. Just impressive collection of individuals over there.

Way to go Riley on tackling that slide, too! So awesome for him to do it non-prompted!

Lauren
Lauren
10 years ago

I give my kids half their ages in allowance 10-year-old gets $5). It’s not tied to chores. They have to help around the house because they’re members of the family. Most of the time they forget to ask for it, though.

Also, re: offensive carols, the comments are a riot. Also I was surprised you didn’t include Baby It’s Cold Outside (date rape is jolly good fun!)

Shelley
10 years ago

Oh, allowances. I kind of have a different perspective. My kids each get five bucks a week, but that’s to teach them about money. They save some, spend some, and give some to charity. No formula, it’s random, because I’m just not that organized. If we make it to the bank, they save it. If there’s a charity drive at school, they eagerly donate.

But the policy at our house, that I enforce with an iron fist, is, “YOU LIVE HERE, YOU HELP.” They are 7 and 9 and have lots of chores that they help out with. Emptying the dishwasher, setting and clearing the table, helping with the laundry, taking out the garbage and looking after the cat (feeding AND litter); and now they’re learning how to cook. I don’t want to think they deserve to get paid for doing these things – I’m worried that’s going to set them up for a lifetime of entitlement and actually end up demotivating them. Sorry this got a little long. I kind of feel strongly about this one. Also. Your nuts. HAHAHAA! Those Stir readers are… something.

Suzie
Suzie
10 years ago

Again, arbitrary my daughter is very similar in age to Riley and we do a similar reward system to Scott- a list of seven responsibilities a day (all surprisingly honestly self-reported, a responsibility in itself) and she has to get a certain number of stars to get her allowance. It’s set low enough that she has never NOT got her allowance, which I think helps her little perfectionist head to admit to not being perfect (she can have a bad day and not be a bad person) We go with 3 dollars, and use a Moonjar which has 3 choices- spend, save and share and she gets to distribute it however she wants. The “save” goes away to the bank (essentially forever in her world) and the “share” is used to make a donation in a way she can see- for instance, she bought a blanket and gave it to our local no-kill shelter in person. The share part has been especially fun- I had a similar Rushmore moment when she put all three dollars in that tin after watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s the little moments that make it worth it!

Katie in Texad
Katie in Texad
10 years ago

My girls are a little older but they get $10 a week. However, with that money, they have to buy birthday presents for their friends, school tshirts, and fast food other then family meals etc. I make them save half each week for the types of things that they dont have a choice to buy (ie school tshirts), until they have $25 in savings. Then they can blow the rest. This forces them to understand wants and needs and that needs come first… Theorhetically.

I have one child that saved all her money, buys brand name clothes and cool gadgets. They other blows it as fast as I give it to her. They easch have their own closets full of clothes but I also make them share clothes, except what they purchase with their own money. This doesn’t go over well for the child with no-name jeans.

Im not sure what the right answer is.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

The comments on your article make me sad. Are people really that dense? Yes. Yes they are. And clearly full of rage!

Yay for Riley! And what a sweet, protective big brother he is.

Amy
Amy
10 years ago

Loved the article, but the comments were so over the top! My favorite line: “…you clearly dont understand what they mean. for instance santa claus is coming to town um hello us parents are santa claus and of course we see our kids when they are sleepin and when they are awake and everything our kids do.”

Actually, it’s really a toss up between that one and this: “Oh please. What a bunch of crap. More fodder for you over sensitive Christian “keep Christ in christmas” fox news worshipping morons.”

Wow. Just, wow. Maybe the sarcasm gene is a PNW thing…

Sarah
Sarah
10 years ago

Wow, so, Bob the horse, huh? *facepalm*

Katherine
Katherine
10 years ago

I read the comments on this post, for pure entertainment.

Someone actually said, “… um HELLO us parents are Santa Claus…” like, the commentor, I guess, didn’t realize that you knew.

Then I laughed so hard, I cried.

Christie
10 years ago

My kids are a bit older. I do $5 a week. $2 of it goes directly into jars in the kitchen to save. The rest is up to them. Like some of the other commenters, we don’t attach allowance to chores. Allowance is to learn about money, (and so that when they want something at the dollar store and I tell them they need to use their own money for it, they actually have some…heh). Chores are because if you want to live here, by god you’re going to contribute! No right answer though. We started with $2, or whatever change I had kicking around. Nothing wrong with attaching it to chores. Just do what works for you.

Also… that slide looks freakin awesome! I’m with you on the teary moment. Yay Riley!!!

And another also… sarcasm is wasted on so many people. Tragic.

velocibadgergirl
10 years ago

OH GOD that Stir article is awesome. Some of those commenters are….quite special.

Cally
10 years ago

I don’t have children, but I started to receive an allowance at about 8 or 9. I think it was about five dollars a week. I was also given a fake checkbook and would “deposit” money with my parents and write checks for the big things I wanted to buy. Looking back, it’s a cute way to learn money management, but I don’t know how practical check-writing knowledge is going to be to the future. Likely a piggy bank would serve the same function.

I understand the people who say that they chores are separate from the money, and the allowance is to just learn about money in general. However, it’s also important to learn that money comes from work, and it isn’t just handed to you. The consequence of not getting an allowance when you don’t do your chores helps with that aspect. I guess it can go either way.

MotherGooseAmy
MotherGooseAmy
10 years ago

Heh heh! Loved the 5 most offensive songs!!! But even more I loved the comments from the differently abled (STUPID) commenters. OH MY “All knowing supreme deity”(GOD). WTF is wrong with people? Have they lost all sense of what is freakin’ hilarious in this world???

I guess in the future you will have to spell it out for them: “The following article is meant to be: a joke, not real, just in fun, for shits and giggles (SATIRE).

Jeez.

You make me laugh. Enjoy your festive December celebrations (MERRY CHRISTMAS!)

P.S. Watching big brothers protect and help their little brothers is amazing and shows what awesome kids they have become due to good pareting :)

MichelleH
MichelleH
10 years ago

You wrote something that inspired someone to actually comment: “Thanks for making the holiday a little bitter”. Also, loving the repeated ALL CAPS explanations that gay used to mean happy. I hope you are proud of yourself (you should be!). It takes something really special to smoke out that many asshats from their hidey holes.

And yay for Riley! I love those moments of triumph. They make me tear up too!

Jo
Jo
10 years ago

Aghhhhh the comments at The Stir simultaneously amused and terrified me. Horrible realization that people exist out there that are like that. HOLD ME. Also, still laughing about Bob’s tail.

Stephanie
Stephanie
10 years ago

As good as your Stir article was, and it was quite clever, you could not have written funnier comments if you haggled over them, biting your nails, for hours. There really is a WHOLE lot ‘o stupid in the world…

Erika
Erika
10 years ago

I have had a few of those teary moments. My five year old is…sensitive…like Riley. Most recently, I was unbelievably proud of him for not freaking out in a bqd way over losing his first tooth.

Moree
Moree
10 years ago

Woke up this morn (east coast) feeling a cold coming on. First on list, read your blog! Thank you for your humor and writings. Now that I have lmao, I can get through my day “gay”! Bravo Linda!

NancyJ
NancyJ
10 years ago

Haha! I just posted my own comment on the Christmas Carols post. I read it the other day but it came up in my Google Reader. Man, people can be such idiots can’t they?

How awesome that Riley just scaled those stairs and went down. I’d be friggin’ terrified and I’m 51!

I gave my son an allowance when he got a little older (around 10) and it wasn’t tied to chores only because 1) the chores were expected and 2) everyone needs a little cash in their pockets. I did this because I didn’t want to get into the tussle of “well, you didn’t do this, this week and you didn’t do that that week” which would have been common and turn into a constant battle.

Now he has a real job and know that if he doesn’t work – he doesn’t get paid and I haven’t had to shell out a dime to him through is 4 years of college. Even during the summer (yay me!).

Cheryl @ Coffee with Cheryl

I don’t think the thought of my 5yo sliding down Mount Rushmore would bring the tears, but the “You go in front of me so I can make sure you’re okay” would have had me bawling like a baby!

jamie
10 years ago

The Stir article was gold! And the comments made it all the better!

My boys are the same age as yours and we don’t do allowances yet. We do give poker chips for good behavior and when chores are finished (take away chips when they’re being jerks) and at the end of the week if they have a certain amount of chips in their jars they get to go shopping for a small toy/present

Jess
Jess
10 years ago

Oh my gosh….the Stir comments….I have no words.
As for the allowance, I feel totally cheap now…my 5 year old gets $.75 and my 3 year old gets .30 Ha, better look at an increase. Anyway, here’s the banks we use. I LOVE them and I think they work great to learn about saving and sharing as well…
http://www.timbuktoys.com/timbuk/product.asp?pf_id=PAAAIABAFPGNMDDG&ad_id=BING&key_id=MOONJAR%20CLASSIC

Angella
10 years ago

1. Those comments are beyond awesome.
2. YAY, Riley!
3. My kids get $2 each, and while we don’t have specific chores, they are expected to clean up when I ask, help with making lunches, etc. Last week, I had them spend over 1/2 hour doing a deep clean/organize and I surprised them with an extra $2 after we were done.

Wizzie
Wizzie
10 years ago

My kiddo gets a dollar a week for each year that he is in age. We also call it payday instead of allowance b/c payday is what happens with mom & dad for working so we can draw parallels. He earns it by going to school (which is his “job”); stuff around the house is expected because he lives there too. Payday is split into 4 categories- spend, save, invest & donate. At the end of each year, he gets to choose the charity to donate his money to and we match the amount. Save goes into the bank while invest goes into investments (once it reaches a certain amount).

Also, there is a book “Earn It, Learn It” that I helped out with one of the chapters. It gives a different perspective on earning money. It has kids learn about different careers. Just another idea…
http://www.earnmykeep.com/

Shelly
10 years ago

It’s the brotherly concern that made me teary. Oh, when they play together or watch out for each other – that’s when having more than one is SO WORTH IT.

Emily
Emily
10 years ago

I had read somewhere you’re supposed to give $1 per age so we started at $6 week! So dumb, right? After a month of going broke we scaled it back to $3 week. We try to have him save $1 for a “longer-term” goal and the other $2 for whatever goofiness he sees at the stores. We also don’t tie the allowance to chores. Again, I read somewhere (a better source than the $1 per age thing) that they need to learn certain things, like making your bed and carrying your plate to the kitchen, are expected and not as a result of allowance.

Deanna
Deanna
10 years ago

I give them chores to do and pay them. The 14 yr old shop vacs the boys’ room (i broke a vaccuum cleaner in there once – not gonna do it again- frickin legos and crap!) for 1$ or the car for a buck. The 8 yr old uses glass cleaner and “cleans” all the mirrors in the house for 1$ and all the windows for another buck. The 4.5 year old fetches and sorts – like she sorted all the plasticware into circles, rectangles and squares (although she proclaimed it was too haaaaaaard and left a mess I had to pay the 8 yr old to finish).

But I also charge – most recently someone had to get their wallet and give me a dollar for sneaking and leaving the bag of string cheese out all night. The 14 yr old had to buy me a new roll of scrapbooking tape because he used mine all up without asking.

Making them go get the money and NICELY give it to me (no throwing at me!) hurts them more than a spanking!

And sometimes when we are out running errands and they want milkshakes I make them order and pay with their own money – amazingly all of a sudden no one wants milkshakes anymore. Hmmmmm.

Actually, Santa is bringing a cool wallet to the 8 yr old – it has flames on it and zips shut. We are fully expecting his crazy excitement over it and then his crushing disappointment that it is . . empty. (that will be videotaped for sure!)

Deanna
Deanna
10 years ago

Forgot to add cash is good but in our house “the coins” are prized. I printed big quarters(google found image) and cut them out.

They are awarded spontaneously (“thank you for setting the table- you can have a coin”) or for a reason (all of a sudden I shout “whoevers bedroom floor is cleared gets a coin!” and the kids scramble) – like finding a lost object (“whoever finds dad’s glasses gets a coin!”).

The coins are worth 10 mins of video game time. Or sometimes I will accept them in place of paying me back money or coming with me on errands, etc.

I wanted something that had meaning and the kids want video game time more than cash at the moment.

Karen
Karen
10 years ago

I officially lost it when someone took the woman seriously who posted about how bothered she was by “Chet’s nuts roasting on an open fire.” So not only did they miss the initial sarcasm, but missed the additional sarcasm and are wtf-ing about that. I don’t know what they’d do if they EVER heard my boyfriend’s reworking of the lyrics to Christmas songs. His favorite to sing is “Frosty the nutsack” and he sings the “thumpity thump thump” part with gusto!

Aunt Linda
10 years ago

Did you know it is an old family custom to give aunts allowances? Yes! Believe it or not! The average is around $1000 a week.

marilyn
10 years ago

Oh my GOSH, this comment. Since it’s all the way on page 7, I’m just going to copy in its glorious entirety:

This is honestly the most seriously the most idiotic , innane , insane offbeat , ideas about some of our most cherished memories as ” normal ” children , your mixed up ideology of what these songs mean with along with your assumptions of what you ” think ” these songs mean in the real world is absolutely astounding . I kind of grew up in the ” Peace ” & ” Love ” Era and your diagnosis of what these songs means is just rubbish . I taught them to my children and they will teach them to their children who are by the way ALL ” CHRISTIAN” folks and yes we watch FOX NEWS but no we are not MORONS by any means . WE believe in CHRISTMAS and the CHRIST who gave HIS life to save us ” ALL ” We are normal everyday folks who love peace and quiet , have tried to raise our children to be moral and honest young adults ( aged 37 son , father of 4 and husband to “one” beautiful wife soon to be retired from the USAF and currently serving his first Pastorate in Biloxi, Mississippi , and daughter aged 34 , mother of 3 , and wife to “one ” husband , teacher of the Autistic . I guess we are a strange family after all ………….. Rudolph the red nosed reindeer , over the fields we go , you better watch out you better not shout , Santa claus is comin to town . Sorry just had to get this off my mixed up , maybe insane , schizoid mind

Elaine
Elaine
10 years ago

Just in case you didn’t realize it, “gay” meant “happy” long before it referred to anything sexual. You know, just in case you weren’t aware. Just trying to help. snort.

MRW
MRW
10 years ago

Since my son has been similarly cautious all his life, I totally get your feelings of teary-eyeness about Riley doing the big slide and coxing Dylan on same. It’s a big thing.

We eased into allowances once my son hit first grade and started wanting to buy whatever stupid plastic toy was popular at the moment (silly banz, gogos, pokemon cards, etc). He asked how he could earn money and I told him he could take out and in the trash and recycling for $2 when he wanted to. That may not seem like a big chore but living in the Pac NW we have an incredibly complicated recycling and trash program that requires all kinds of sorting and bins and crap. ANYWAY, the point is, after he did it for a year, I told him it would no longer be discretionary, but mandatory. He would continue to earn the allowance but now he HAS to take out the trash.

Since his 8th birthday I’ve started the same program with his laundry. If he wants to earn another $2, he can load his laundry into the washer and switch it to the dryer (I still fold it when it’s done). When he gets to be 9, that task will also become mandatory.

This Fall he and two friends did a leaf raking service on their own initiative. They didn’t earn a ton of $, but it was enough to keep them going, so hopefully he’s learning some kind of earning spirit here??

Nolita
10 years ago

We give our 9 yr old daughter $3 per week allowance not tied to chores. She is expected to clean up after herself, tidy bathroom and bedroom, etc as are her siblings (who don’t get allowance). It’s enough to buy gum and apps or save up. We do dock allowance for chronic offenses though (like making mom clean up messes all the time). There is a responsibility chart (hah) that is supposed to be incentive to earn more money for extra chores, but we haven’t used that in a couple of months. Still a good idea when we’re on the ball. [Note: Emi has earned so much more money parking cars in our driveway on game days so $0.50 for manual labor = not her thing.]

Michelle
Michelle
10 years ago

I think allowances and chores should be separate. I give my kids an allowance and they have jars to separate the money in to (spend, save, give). I do this to teach them how to manage their money properly.

Kids should do chores regardless of an allowance since it is also about teaching them responsibility. You can put a reward system in place, but the reward should be something other than money.

This is just my opinion. :)

Christine
Christine
10 years ago

Who the F are your STIR readers? Wow.

ktjrdn
10 years ago

My girls are 5 and 8. This year we started an allowance for them, not tied to specific chores. They each get $2 to put in their wallet to spend on whatever crap catches their eye. The oldest is saving for an Ipod Touch – and will probably get there soon (with birthday and Christmas money). The youngest spends $50 on a bouncy ball every time we go past a machine. They also get $2 that MUST go in the banks.

They are expected to pull their sheets off their beds and bring them to the laundry each Saturday, wash their clothes (with a little help) and put them away, and clean up when asked.

For an extra dollar each, they can vaccuum the toy/room and living room, clean a bathroom, put the dishes away, help me mop the floor, etc. There is no limit on the extras they can earn, and the money is theirs for spending or saving at their own choice.

In the summer, my husband gives them a penny for every weed they pull that has roots attached. I can’t believe they actually do it! Seriously – a penny? They obviously don’t know the value of their time or money yet :)

ktjrdn
10 years ago

50 cents, not $50

:)

Redbecca
Redbecca
10 years ago

yay for Riley and Dylan (especially Riley)!!!
My kiddo inherited the thrill-gene in full so I’m only ever worried about him falling from high places, not being scared to go there in the first place, but I totally get it. Bravo, boys!

Also, your Stir piece is all kinds of awesome. The reader comments…well, I think they speak for themselves! (And now we know approximately 50% of the U.S. population has a sense of humor and the other doesn’t.)

Artemisia
10 years ago

Oh, Riley. I got teary eyed and these are not my kids! That was damn sweet of him to look out for his brother. Holy cow.

Kate
Kate
10 years ago

My kids get their age in dollars each month. (They get a raise every year!) The money isn’t tied to chores, they get paid regardless. But they do have things they’re responsible for and they are expected to help out when needed.

Tatiana
Tatiana
10 years ago

We started out with $2/week and it didn’t really do much. My boy’s inability to recognize coins gave me a brainstorm. Now he get’s one of each kind of coin for each year of age, each week, e.g. he’s 6 so 6 quarters… He counts them out of our jug of change. In a few weeks he could tell the difference between dimes and pennies. In a few months he was able to count by 5’s and 10’s. Now he’s cashing in change for paper bills. My four year old just likes getting a pile of money. She counts them herself.
He get’s his allowance and is expected to help out but can get extra for chores. His sense of value is still weak and I can sometimes pay only 20 cents to have my whole house swept.
I think I’m winning.