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by Joanna Fortune, Monthly Blog-Osity Contributor and Clinical Child Psychotherapist

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Parents often ask me about pocket money and how they can use it as a positive parenting tool. Here are some tips on that.

There are many child development benefits to giving your child Pocket Money, including;

• It encourages independence

• It helps develop budgeting skills and an appreciation of the value of money

• By affording them the opportunity to decide on things they like and want, they

are developing a capacity for desire

• It can help them develop saving skills

The amount you give is absolutely up to you and should be influenced by your family's financial situation but also your child's age and stage of development. You can decide if pocket money should be earned by doing household tasks for you but I would add here that part of being in a family is the expectation that everyone helps out so I would suggest that there are set chores/tasks that your child is responsible for that they are not paid for, but you may offer them the opportunity to take on additional chores to earn money. If you do this then be consistent with it and if the chore/task is not done properly, they do not get paid for it.

In terms of what age your child should be to start this system, I would say that is your parental decision, but you could start it from as young an age as 5 years, but just ensure that the amount you are giving and the chores/tasks you expect to be done by your child are appropriate and reflective of their age and stage of development e.g. a 5 year old child can be responsible for feeding the goldfish every day and putting their dirty clothes into the laundry hamper but perhaps not loading your dishwasher.

What do you expect their pocket money to cover? Are they to buy their own phone credit or personal items (teenagers) or do you cover these and their pocket money is for extra or treat items. The amount you give should reflect this and you should be clear with your child from the outset, perhaps have a pocket money agreement you both sign up to. Do not be swayed by what you are told their friends get. You are responsible for parenting your child alone and you won't know what arrangement other parents have with their children regarding the pocket money they give so you must develop your own system and stick to it.

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