While visiting a sister and her kids this summer, I was confronted with the idea of allowance. Her son carried around his Boston Red Sox wallet and generously bought himself and my daughter a plastic insect while in the gift shop at a butterfly exhibit. Until this moment, it never occurred to me to pay my kids to do work around the house. Give my girls a sponge, soapy water and a bucket, and they couldn't be happier, so why would I pay them? But then it hit me... My oldest daughter, at the age of 4.5 asked for me to buy her a magnifying glass that we saw in a shop window as we were walking to the grocery store. I hastily said, "no, but maybe you could by it yourself one day". "But Mom, how could I, I don't have any money?"
So it began right then and there, my daughter would be earning an allowance so she can have the freedom to purchase. Don't worry, I worked her hard that first day as all of my bushes needed trimming and I didn't have to bend down once to pick up a fallen branch. Are we entering into the material age way too soon by giving kids money? Surely they aren't going to buy groceries, clothes or something truly needed, so should they have money? I feel guilty handing her money, like I'm forgetting to teach her manners, or neglecting to teach her about stranger danger (which is next, I promise) Do other parents give their preschoolers money, and do they feel bad about it? Should I hope she forgets, and never mention it again or should I continue to help her reach her goal and purchase the magnifying glass before the first frost kills all of the insects she is dying to view closer? Did all of these thoughts run through our parents mind while they were opening up their wallets for our small allowances?