We try to operate in the Montessori fashion here at home, at least in some capacity- as my daughter had been in Montessori school from age 3-6 (Kindergarten) and now my son took her place in that same children's house this year.... I am wondering, we expect children to do work (at thier level of course) around the house such as clearing thier own spot and wiping the table after meals, putting dirty clothes in hamper, making bed, etc.
How do you work allowance when operating in the Montessori style? We want to teach about money and responsibilty with money, but hard to determine where the $ is earned....
I am a strong believer that an allowance shouldn't be connected to regular household responsibilities. There are certain things that everyone must do to make our family run smoothly and just like your children, by daughter (5 y/o) has her own list of things she does to contribute. If I tell her my daughter that she going to be paid for those items, then what happens if she decides she would rather not do the chore (in "exchange" for not getting paid)? Do I just have to do those things myself or do I implement some other punishment to force her to do them?
I have a chart that lists the items my daughter is required to do daily (Hang up PJs, Make her bed, Clear her breakfast dishes, Feed & Water the dog, etc). I also have another list of weekly chores (Fold washclothes or napkins, Match socks, Dust, Empty Trash Cans, etc) and she is expected to select 1 of those to do each day. My "carrot", so to speak, is that she is only allowed to play when all of her responsibilities and chores are done. (I do try to phrase it in a positive way though. For example, "You can go play with a friend / read a book / color / etc as soon as you have finished your chore chart.") I don't want to link any of her chores to an allowance because she would frequently decide that she would rather play than get her $3 allowance at the end of the week.
I do believe that kids should get an allowance so they learn that their parents don't have an inexhaustible supply of money and also learn how to save up for things. I just don't think it should be linked to chores. I can understand the feeling that kids need to work for the money, but my parents did this method with me and I am (and always was) very responsible with money. It certainly didn't cause me to feel like I deserved money without having work for it, as I think some people might fear.
If you really can't stand to give your child money without linking it to work, another option might be to have a set of "extra" tasks (beyond normal responsibilities) that your child could do to earn the money. For example, shining the appliances, sweeping the kitchen, watering the flowers, etc.
Starting at age 4, we began an allowance. $1 for every year of age, and it is not tied to chores. She gets it no matter what.
There are certain chores DD is expected to do around the house. Help unload dishwasher, clean her room, help fold and put away laundry (not hers, she helps me with all of our laundry), feed the cats...these are her main chores.
During the summer, I told her she could earn more money if she wanted, by helping with other household chores not normally expected of her. For example, she dusted the master bedroom and her bathroom for $1. She also cleaned downstairs with a swiffer for another $1. Things like that.
As she gets older, her expected chore level will increase, but I will always have a few things she can do around the house to earn more allowance, things that aren't expected of her.
I start allowance with my children when they have learned how to count money. For DD1 it was around age 6. I started out with $1.00 a week, but also added a chore that she had to do throughout the week in addition to her regular responsibilities. The first year, it was setting the table for each meal. Each birthday, I add a dollar as well as another responsibility.
I have to say that before allowance, it was often difficult to get DD1 to help with chores around the house. It's not that she wouldn't help, it's just that I found myself asking a lot and hearing a lot of whining and complaining. Now that she knows that she is getting allowance for certain chores, she does them willingly, is always agreeable when asked, and takes on a demeanor of ownership and responsibility while doing the task (like night and day!) She has even been known to pay her little sister (who does not get allowance yet) when she helps her with these chores. She thinks it's only fair :)
We have just implemented a system, that is a bit in flux, but works like this (and we were very anxious about this- as we didn't want to tie chores to money either, but ended up doing so in a partial fashion).
Each child gets $.50 per year of age put into a mason jar on the shelf at the beginning of the week. Each is responsible for daily items (dressed & bed made each morning, laundry put away, room floor kept clear, packing lunch for school, etc.) For every time any one of their 'daily' chores isn't done, then a quarter is removed and put into the MOM jar. If at the end of the week there is any money left, then they get it as allowance. If they didn't do chores to the point they are negative, then they owe me money for them, as presumably, I am the one who picked up the slack.
We've been doing the above for a couple of months with mixed success... We are adding into the mix a 'punch card'. They will each get a punch card, and a posted list of punch card chores will be made available. Should they choose, they can do extra chores (these will be things above and beyond - e.g. clean out the car, wash windows, rake leaves, etc.). For every extra chore, they will get a hole punched on their card. Once a card is full, then they will get a surprise - small present, etc. My daughter is responding very well to this whole routine and anxious for the punch card system to start so she can rack up additional money and/or presents. My son is ambivalent...