My husband and I have never paid our children a set allowance. We prefer to pay them for what they do.
Using principles from a recently written article, we came across the current allowance system we now have...the Money Grab.
A few months ago, Mike and I heard about a family whose children reached into a jar full of coins for their weekly allowance. The idea piqued our interest but didn't seem the right fit for our family.
We had been looking for something to: First, motivate our children to want to complete their daily tasks. Second, we wanted them to work a little more quickly and willingly. We tweaked a few systems together to come up with one that worked.
Each week, our children have a spreadsheet to mark off required tasks. At the end of each week, we look at their efforts and their results and with some fancy calculations (age, effort, results, etc.) each child receives a number of seconds. Let me explain.
Based off the container of coins idea, and with a little tweaking, our coins get scattered across the family room floor.
The first time we did this, my (sometimes cheap) husband looked down on the floor and saw too many quarters scattered, so at the last minute he threw in a negotiation. Each child could "buy" a couple more seconds if, while they grabbed for coins, they were blindfolded.
Each Sunday afternoon, you will find my husband holding spreadsheets, I am holding a stop watch, and a child scrambling blind-folded around our family room floor.
It turned out to be a fairly minimal "allowance" they earned the first week, but their confidence in grabbing more money each week helps them stay on task with their chores.
It helps that we have a "bonus coin" thrown in the mix. If grabbed, it provides either extra seconds or "double your money."
Before you run to the bank requesting rolls of coins, remember it is more about finding a way for children to want to work hard and obey rather than having a specific system. Be creative! Think about your personalities, the end goal, and, ultimately, find what works for you.