Money skills simply don't come naturally to children who are impulsive, disorganized or distractible. Fortunately, a weekly allowance is a great way to teach an ADD/ADHD child how to live on a budget and how to be a smart shopper. It's also a great tool for showing the vital importance of saving.
Some parents give $1 a week for each year of the child's age '- for instance, $8 for an eight-year-old. But these days, it may be better to take a realistic look at the kinds of things your child is likely to spend money on during a typical week, and to calculate an allowance based upon the costs of those items.
In lieu of a conventional allowance, some parents prefer that the child earn money for doing chores, babysitting, and so on. Often, the best solution is to use a combination of these approaches. For example, the child might receive a set amount of cash with no strings attached and be given additional opportunities to earn money by doing special chores, such as cleaning the garage, waxing the car and other tasks that lie above and beyond the child's everyday responsibilities. Cleaning his room, feeding the dog and completing homework assignments are routine chores that your child should complete without any financial incentive.
Whatever approach you take, it's essential that you view the allowance as a teaching tool. Never make the allowance a reward for good behavior and never withhold it as a form of punishment.
Allowance Do's and Don'ts
- Do give the allowance on the same day of the week, every week.
- Don't tell your child how to spend the allowance money. That defeats the purpose: teaching financial decision-making.
- Do base the amount of the allowance on the realistic spending needs of the child at that age.
- Don't pay your child for cleaning her room, completing homework and so on. Everyday chores should remain separate from an allowance.
- Do build your child's money confidence by praising good money-handling habits and decisions.
- Don't tie the allowance to grades. Most children with ADD/ADHD feel enough grade pressure as it is.
- Do provide opportunities for your child to earn extra money by doing jobs around the house.
- Don't criticize poor spending decisions. Discuss them with your child, and let him deal with the consequences of his decisions.
- Do set a good example for your child through your own financial planning and responsible spending decisions.
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