The summer break is in full swing and our children are enjoying their well-deserved vacation.  They might be in a day camp (kaytana) or a summer camp, yet when these activities are finished they have to entertain themselves.  Most children will need funding for the duration of the vacation. Here are some of the options:

  1. The child was given pocket money throughout the year and a percentage was saved for the summer vacation. If this is not your child, please start implementing the giving of an allowance on a routine basis.

  2. The child worked throughout the year or is working during the summer vacation, and has some money saved up.

  3. Mummy and Daddy need to provide funds FOR EVERYTHING! To avoid this situation again, please either give your child pocket money or put money aside for the summer months.

How much to give depends on the funds available, and of course the age of the child.  For this sake of this article, I will be dealing with children 10-18.  Parents know the importance of pocket money but there are some mistakes to learn about and avoid.

Not paying the allowance on time. How would you feel if your employer did not transfer your salary on time? How will you child learn to trust you if you don’t keep your word?  You entered into an agreement to always make sure that your children are put first and you have to pay them the amount as promised.

Do not use your child’s allowance as a punishment. The child entered into a contract that they would receive an allowance, with no stipulations regarding behaviour. Unless otherwise stipulated, the child should receive the allowance on a fixed date.

Decide what the allowance should cover.  As the child grows, so should the allowance, to cover basic items such as entertainment, clothing and so on.  NEVER take money from the child’s allowance to pay for an expensive item without the child’s consent.

Do not criticize how the allowance is used.  Let your child spend his or her money as they want. If you disagree, sit down with them so they can explain why they felt that they should spend all their savings on a certain item. Then explain to them in a calm manner why you think it was a mistake.  The child will only learn from the conversation how to make a calculated financial decision in the future.

Understand the difference between children.  Although your children grow up in the same home, do not be surprised that they all behave differently.  Each child will have a different approach to money just like adults do.  Some children will look for every opportunity to work and save money, while some will not be so interested in financial planning and prefer to spend, spend and spend.

The issue of children and their money is not complicated, so if you have some questions about this topic, please contact me either via email suzy.kahati@gmail.com or via phone tel: 054-4217207.