Child Labor Laws

I have been wondering for a while whether to give my daughters an allowance or not. On one hand I can see the value in my girls earning their money. I am sure they would appreciate being able to buy something with money they actually earned. It could also teach them the value of saving their money and teach them buyer’s remorse when they spend their hard earned money on something that wasn’t really worth it.

Then there is the other part of me that doesn’t like the fact that I am basically telling my children they get paid for just doing their part around the house. Listen, it isn’t like I’m asking them to pour concrete, rent a cherry picker and trim trees or even get on the roof and clean gutters. I am talking about simple things, like keeping their rooms and bathroom clean, putting away the dishes or bringing the recycling to the bin out in the garage.

I don’t like the thought of my girls not doing anything unless I pay them to. There is a difference between teaching them the value of earning a buck and rewarding them for doing the simplest of things. My wife and I can teach our girls responsibility without having to pay for the lesson. I would be more than happy for them, especially without prompting, if they would do some of the small chores around the house. Of course I would also be more than happy to hit a $500 Powerball jackpot, which is only slightly more likely.

The next question is what to pay them? I have memories of earning a quarter as my first allowance and think I might have gotten as high as a dollar but honestly don’t know if that is a real memory or not. Plus, around the fourth grade I got a paper route and made my own money. A dollar nowadays goes nowhere but I don’t want to be shelling out $20 a week for three salaries.

I suggested to Julia who is now 14 to see about getting into babysitting. She informed me she would but first she has to get her First Aid and CPR certifications. Personally I think it is smart to have a babysitter have those certifications before they are allowed to watch children. I also, find it funny that a teenage babysitter would be more qualified to handle a choking child than myself, or I’m willing to bet, most parents are. Do most parents know how to perform First Aid or CPR? Just goes to show you need no qualifications, training or certifications to create and care for a life.

No matter how many times I go back and forth on this issues I still can’t come to a firm decision. It’s not like we don’t buy our kids things outside of essentials (clothes, foods) unless it is their birthday. It also is highly doubtful if we gave them an allowance we would refuse to continue to buy them things that their allowance money didn’t cover. Recently Julia went out to dinner and the movies with her friends, which cost me $20. If I gave her an allowance of say $5 a week it would take her a month to save that.

Should she only be allowed to be able to go out once a month? What about the other two? At $5 a week that would cost us $60 a month. Sure we could pay on an age wage scale but that is a Pandora’s Box of issues waiting to be unleashed. I really don’t want to be paying $60 in salaries a month, especially when I can get that child labor for free.

In the end I don’t think my wife and I will be giving the girls an allowance. We will expect them to do certain things and when they need money as long as they are pulling their weight, we will give it to them. My only hope is that they don’t need money to realize they are part of a family and should pull their weight and accept responsibility. Maybe one day they won’t even need to be asked (yelled out) to do it. I think while I’m at it, I think I’m going to buy some Powerball tickets.


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