1) Give no allowance. Just buy your children things as needed or as wanted
2) Give allowance but tie it to chores, grades, etc
3) Give allowance but don't tie it to any specific activity
After reading through the pros and cons of each, we settled on option 3. But in reviewing the various options, it was intriguing to see how they each would fit different families.
Here's our rationale:
We suck at housekeeping. Seriously. So linking any allowance to chores simply wouldn't work. By the age of 6, kids are smart enough to question why you don't have to follow rules that they do. (I got busted tonight for drinking something upstairs which the kids aren't allowed to do) We knew that the chore thing wouldn't work.
But more importantly, we wanted the allowance to be money for whatever they wanted that was given for being part of the family. For behaving like a member of the family - talking at family dinner, getting along with the sibling, hugging your parents (I'm milking that for as long as I can!)
And then, for chores, we give the kids tickets and have a prize cabinet set up. For 50 tickets, you can get a big deck of Pokemon cards. For 10 tickets you can get a glowy, bouncy ball. We figure that this teaches them about working for things they want, delayed gratification, initiative, and saving.
That's our cobbled together allowance strategy. Oh - and we make them donate 1/3 of their allowance to charity. They love writing letters and sticking $1 in the envelope and then getting mail back thanking them for their donation. We think that it's very important to teach them how to give. They are allowed to pick whatever cause they want - my son likes to donate to Toys For Tots and my daughter likes to donate to animal related causes (depending on the animal she loves at the moment).
Anyone else have any allowance strategies?