Should you make kids pay ‘rent’ to help them learn about money? An expert weighs in

A TikTok user is making her daughter pay 'bills' from the pocket money she's earned (posed by model, Getty)
A TikTok user is making her daughter pay 'bills' from the pocket money she's earned (posed by model, Getty)

The value of money is an imperative lesson to learn at any age, but one mum’s technique for teaching her daughter has divided parents.

TikTok user, @feliciaraefarley posted a “parenting hack” to the video sharing platform, explaining why she was giving her seven-year-old daughter money for doing chores and why she was making her daughter pay ‘bills’ with the money she earned.

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In the video, which has been viewed over 6.6 million times and ‘liked’ more than 1.7 million times, Felicia says: “Every week my daughter has a list of chores. If those chores are completed daily, she will get $7 at the end of the week.

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“She is then required to pay bills for living in the house. $1 for food, water, electricity, internet and rent – so in total, she pays $5 for bills. She has $2 leftover which she can keep and save or spend.”

Felicia then explains that the money she takes for "bills" is being put into a savings account for her daughter who will be able to access this when she is 18.

While some TikTok users praised the idea as “genius” others said that Felicia’s kids are “way too young” to be paying bills.

However, Dr Amanda Gummer, child research psychologist and founder of the Good Play Guide, says making your kids pay “bills” is a good approach to teaching them about money.

“Especially If you can make it a playful challenge rather than charging them for living, it can work and it’s also a good way of encouraging children to turn off lights, not waste water and be mindful of all the resources that we use day to day which come at a cost,” Gummer tells Yahoo UK.

Kids shouldn't be given pocket money for expected behaviour, says Amanda Gummer. (posed by models, Getty)
Kids shouldn't be given pocket money for expected behaviour, says Amanda Gummer. (posed by models, Getty)

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Gummer adds that parents should start teaching their kids about money “as early as possible”.

“Parents can start with their children ‘earning’ things and any currency works - this can be an extra story at bedtime, time watching a favourite show or playing on a device - it doesn’t have to be money,” Gummer continues.

“Start with something small but it’s about giving children a work ethic that shows them that they get rewards for doing things that benefit others.”

What techniques should you use when teaching kids about money?

“Try to make it relevant and relatable where possible,” Gummer explains. “A young child won’t have the skills to understand how much things cost so earning counters and putting them in a jar to save up for small things is a good start.

“As children get older, encouraging them to save up for things they want and earn money towards them, helps them develop good habits. You can also teach them about credit - if they save up for something and buy it outright it is cheaper than getting it straight away and having to earn off the balance.”

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What are the benefits and drawbacks of giving kids pocket money?

Gummer warns against giving kids money for behaviour that is expected.

“There’s a certain amount of cooperation that is required within a family so children shouldn’t get rewarded for behaviour or activity that is expected, and it’s ok to give children jobs that they do as part of being in the family without payment,” Gummer continues.

“The payment for chores works well when they are doing things they would normally not be expected to do - things that maybe you’d consider paying someone else to do.”

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Examples of this could be helping with DIY or a spring clean or helping with work projects that can benefit the whole family.

“Rather than just putting their own clothes away or tidying their bedroom which is something they would do as part of their daily routine in any case,” Gummer adds.

Ultimately, it’s a decision that should be made by each individual family but even if kids aren’t earning pocket money, the value of money should still be taught from an early age.

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