I have heard many different arguments for giving and not giving an allowance to one’s children. Some people give an allowance for chores done around the house and others give an allowance just for being a member of the family. We have actually tried both techniques, neither of which has been very productive.
One family I know actually employs both techniques, giving each child a base allowance and then an additional allowance for extra chores done throughout the week. If the children do not complete their daily chores (making their beds, feeding the dog, etc.), then Mom happily does the missed chore, but the kids are required to pay her for her services. Their family actually uses a family token system. At the end of the week, the kids are allowed to use their acquired tokens to purchase items from a basket of goodies purchased by Mom (books, manipulatives, etc.).
We started giving an allowance to the kids when Jake was about seven and Jolie was four. They would each get $.50 a week for each year they were old. They then had to put a certain percentage into a savings pile and another in to a charity pile. After a while, they could choose a charity to donate their earnings to or purchase an item for that charity. As for their savings pile...well, the system sort of fizzled out before they had accumulated much in that pile.
As previously mentioned, we started using Chore Wars about a year later, and again had little success. The kids didn't do many of the chores that were on the list, thus earning little money. They never really made enough to purchase anything that they were interested in, making the system of little value to them.
I decided to go ahead and tie our revitalized Chore Wars points to a monetary allowance. We each get one cent for each point. We have all discussed the point values of each chore, and everyone seems to be in agreement that the values are fair.
For example, here are the chores that Jolie did today, and the point values earned for each -
Jolie earned 15XP for Room Inspection
Jolie earned 5XP for Empty Trash Cans
Jolie earned 15XP for Load Dishwasher
Jolie earned 10XP for Clean Off Table
Jolie earned 5XP for Feed Animal
Remember, we each get to choose the chores we want to do each day during our daily family meeting after breakfast. It is possible for the kids to choose more difficult chores each day and earn more points than other members of the family. Jake, for instance, had trouble "remembering" to do his chores today, but would like to buy some Legos. He has decided to do today's forgotten chores tomorrow, plus tomorrow's chores, with the hopes of earning just a bit extra.
I haven't decided if we will again have a "savings" and a "charity" pile for each of the kids. Right now I am just hoping that they will start helping out more around the house. Justin and I are also earning "points" for our chores. I am handing out our Chore Wars allowance each Sunday evening, so each family member gets the opportunity to see what they did to contribute to the family and how it relates to the contributions given by the other family members. At some point, we will probably add a “member of the family” allowance, probably when the kids are a bit older and have additional expenses related to being a ‘tween or teenager.