It can be really difficult knowing how much money you should give to your children for their pocket money. They may want to buy various things, they may want what their friends get and you may be struggling to repay loans or not have a very high income and so it can be difficult to know what to do for the best. There are also pressures to use pocket money to teach them about money ready for the future and so it is worth thinking about how much to give them rather whether to give them any at all.
As much as their friends
There is often pressure form children to ask parents for as much pocket money as their friends get. It can be tempting to give them this much too or perhaps even more. However, it is worth bearing in mind that their friends may be showing off and stating they get more than they actually do or they may be expected to buy things like clothing or toiletries out of their pocket money. They may even by lying about how much they get just to make themselves seem better. It is worth talking to your children about this and explain that different families can afford different amounts and that there will be some families that will not be able to afford anything at all.
It is also important for parents not to feel pressured by other parents to give their children certain amounts of money as an alternative to a regular short term loan option. These days there can be a lot of rivalry between parents, particularly at the school gates and it is wise not to get involved in this. It can be useful having an idea of what others do and why so that you can decide what might be best for you to do.
Enough to save
It is worth thinking about whether you want your children to have a savings account with their money in and whether you want them to save their pocket money in that account. If this is your intention then you will need to talk to them about opening an account for them and your intention to give them money to put in it. You could set up a direct debit to pay the money straight in, which will save you having to fiddle about with the cash and go in person to pay it in. However, the children may prefer to have the coins in their hand and visit the bank. Going to a bank or building society is a good opportunity to teach them about these places and to talk to them about the function of banks and what they do.
Enough to buy what they want
It might be that you want your children to be able to afford to buy a few things. It might be that they want to buy a few treats at lunchtime at school, buy something for themselves at the weekend or save up towards something bigger. You may have an idea in mind about what you want them to be able to buy or they may have an idea so this should help you think about the amount. It can be a good lesson to learn if they have to save up for what they want though. Holding onto their money for a few weeks or months until they have enough to buy something can be difficult, but it will help them to get into a good habit for when they are older. They will learn how good it feels to buy something that you have saved up for compared with always being able to get what you want without worrying about saving.
As much as you can afford
You will, of course, need to make sure that you can afford the amount of money that you decide to give to your children. Once you start regularly paying them it will be hard to stop as they will start to expect it. If you have several children then you will need to do the same for all of them and so this could add up. Make sure that you set it at a level that you can afford. If your children are old enough it could be worth explaining to them that this level may be too expensive for you at times so they may not always get it.
Should they earn it?
Some parents will only give their children a certain amount of pocket money if they earn it. They may have chores that are worth a certain amount of money that they need to do in order to get paid. Although this will get them used to the idea that they have to work to get money, it may also mean that they will always expect to be paid when they work, so if you ever want help with things around the house they may refuse to do it unless they get paid.