Pay children only for jobs completed. "The one who works his land will have plenty of food, but whoever chases fantasies lacks sense" (Proverbs 12:11). To learn the value of being paid for work done, parents should not pay children unless the work they agreed to do has been completed. In other words, don’t pay 50 percent for 50 percent of work completed. After the work is complete, they should be paid the full amount. Also, parents need to reward exceptional or extra (more than what was agreed upon) work with bonuses.

Pay children for quality work. "Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men" (Colossians 3:23). Children should understand that they will be paid for work well done. This work doesn’t have to be done perfectly, because they probably aren’t able to do things as well as an adult. But children should do the best they can and take pride in their accomplishments. Pay children fairly within the family budget, a fair wage but not an excessive one. Paying children too much for work may cause a distorted value system when they are older.

In addition to their tithes, encourage children to share and set aside a portion of their wages to give to missions, the poor or to other worthy causes.

Encourage children to save. "Precious treasure and oil are in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man consumes them" (Proverbs 21:20). Discourage debt by encouraging saving. Teach your children to save instead of using your credit card to buy the things they want. Then, when your children reach adulthood, they’ll be more inclined to save for wants instead of going into debt to get them.

Establish ground rules to govern how much money children receive and how they are allowed to spend it. These rules cannot be too restrictive, because parents should want their children to experience the freedom of spending their money on what they want to buy. And, this also gives them room to make occasional purchasing mistakes -- mistakes they can learn from later. But when you see your child make wise buying decisions, give him or her lots of praise.

As a parent your goal should be to develop financial discipline and wisdom in your child. It doesn’t happen overnight. But with consistency, the seeds of responsibility that you sow will take root in the lives of your children and yield positive results in their financial future.

And, by the way, always bear in mind that you have to practice what you preach through your good example.

Howard Dayton is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries. Dayton and the late Larry Burkett joined forces in 2000 when Crown Ministries, led by Dayton, merged with Christian Financial Concepts, led by Burkett. The new organization became Crown Financial Ministries, on the web at

© 2006 Baptist Press. Used with permission. All rights reserved.