When I was a kid, my dad gave me an allowance of 50 cents a week. That’s more of an indication of how old I am rather than how thrifty my father was. It was a long time ago.

I was grateful to get that half-a-buck each week as a seven-year-old. It gave me enough money to buy a pack of baseball cards or a treat at the store. Nowadays, that amount of money wouldn’t get you much of anything.

To earn that money each week, I needed to complete a couple of chores, and it also instilled a solid work ethic in me. That’s the goal of many parents who set up an allowance for their kids. But when do you give your kids an allowance? And how do you set it up so that your child is getting something out of the experience? Here are a few things to consider.

1. Make sure they can understand the responsibility

All kids want money. They’ve got their eyes on toys, books, and goodies. If you believe that your child is responsible enough to handle chores, then sit them down and explain how an allowance will benefit them and what they have to do to earn it.

2. Explain that they'll have to do some work

The critical part of establishing an allowance is setting up a system where your child focuses a little time each week on an established chore — cleaning their room, taking the dog for a daily walk, taking out the trash. Let’s face it, every kid is going to chafe at chores. But if they know they’re going to get cash in their pocket for doing it, it should create a change in attitude.

3. Make sure they'll be thoughtful with their money

Once the money is given, it’s theirs to spend. Of course, you can offer them some advice and suggest that they save for something meaningful, or use it for a good purpose, but it’s important for our kids to know a few things about the responsibility of having money. Having a few bucks doesn't mean that it must get spent right away. Sometimes it’s beneficial to hang on to money for a rainy day. Also, they need to know that spending money requires thought and making choices.

4. Don’t reward them for things they should be doing

There are things in life that everyone has to do. For our kids, homework is one of those things. It doesn’t make sense to give them an allowance for doing homework that needs to be done anyway. Some would argue that doing chores around the house shouldn't lead to getting an allowance because everyone needs to do their share to help out. However, doling out a small allowance each week to ensure that your child is doing work carries lessons beyond simply earning a few bucks.

5. Pay them weekly when their chores are accomplished

You want to make sure that your children uphold their end of the allowance deal. It all goes out the window if you simply hand them money each week without them doing the work necessary to earn it. If need be, check out their work before giving them money and make sure they’re following through. This might help motivate them to make sure they’re putting forth a good effort and recognize that in order to get paid, they need to do a good job.