Pocket Money incentives could be damaging to children

·                     15% of parents say their children put their pocket money into savings each month 

·         Almost 1 in four (23%) parents give pocket money to their children aged under five  

·         One in five (20%) are still offering their grown-up children (aged over 18 years) money each month 


New research from 118 118 Money has found that seven in ten (70%) UK parents use pocket money to incentivise their children, offering money for doing chores around the house, doing well at school and getting their homework done.   

Nearly half of parents surveyed (45%), claim to give their children pocket money for generally ‘being good’ while 70% give their children money for helping around the house. Tidying bedrooms is the most regularly requested chore at 72%, whilst 43% do the dishes or empty the dishwasher. Making beds (42%), taking care of pets (31%) and washing cars (23%) were also popular. 

More than four in ten (45%) parents admit to offering the incentive of pocket money to their children to motivate them to do well in school – a performance method that is deemed controversial to some.   

Sarah Greenly, who teaches year 2 pupils in Greater Manchester, said: 

Parents teaching their children financial responsibility is incredibly important. However, using money as an incentive to do well in school could make children feel under even more pressure to perform, leading to stress.  

“Using different incentives, like reward stickers or gold star charts could be a little easier on a child’s stress levels. Offering money for household chores is a way that children can earn money without making learning feel like a competition they must win.”  

All the parents surveyed (100%) claimed to give their children pocket money each month, with one in four (23%) even admitting to giving their children aged under five pocket money. 

One in five (20%) are still offering their grown-up children (aged over 18 years) money each month.  

One in seven children (15%) who receive pocket money put it into savings each month. While 16% spend their money on video games, and one in ten (11%) choose to spend their money on clothes.

Experts advise that pocket money is a great way for children to treat themselves and can also be used by parents as a learning tool to help their children become financially independent.  

Dennis Relojo-Howell, psychologist and founder of psychology website Psychreg, explains: 

Some parents choose to give pocket money to their children to instil in them the value of managing finances. They will learn to choose between spending and saving“. 

Incentivising children with cash has its pitfalls, but it also has power too, as you are preparing them for real-world experience. But it’s also important to help children realise that there are things more important than money – the joy of learning and experiencing new things, for instance“.   

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