Why I paid a 7-year-old to draw me a picture

In January, I became a dad, and while pocket money's probably a way off (our nine-month-old baby isn't pestering us yet), it's something I've already thought about. How much would I pay, and what could my kid do to earn it?

The importance of giving pocket money as a reward for children's effort is a widely accepted principle of good parenting – see Martin's Give Pocket Money As Pay blog from a few years back. Personally, I remember cleaning the windows and washing the family car (both no doubt needed doing again after I'd finished), usually earning £1, which seemed a lot.

Last month, by chance, I spotted the Facebook post below from a mum in my local area whose seven-year-old son was selling pictures he'd drawn to anyone who'd buy 'em. A very sweet and, I assumed, entrepreneurial way of earning some pocket money. Yet on further reading, rather than spending the cash on himself – or his pet rats – I learnt he was donating every penny to the East Anglia's Children's Hospices charity (EACH). How nice is that?

His parents had even made a JustGiving page to help him with his fundraising.

Obviously, I was so impressed by what Hayden was doing, I had to get involved. I promptly commissioned him to draw me a portrait of himself. You can see him in the photo below, proudly showing off his artwork as he delivered it to my door and collected my £5.

Hayden's mum, standing just out of shot, explained how Hayden's charitable aims had been inspired by the tragic death of a family friend's daughter, Maddison. She was just two.

With all the donations, both online and in person, Hayden's so far raised £145 (and his mum tells me he's still working his way through a list of requests for more drawings).

7-year-old Hayden holding up his drawing

Since meeting Hayden, I've been thinking. Firstly, about how much more I could be doing to help good causes myself, and secondly, how I'd like to do everything I can to make sure my daughter Edie grows up to have the same altruistic, unselfish attitude.

It reminded me there are tons of ways for kids to learn the meaning of money and begin to understand the mechanics of it. Whether we're spending money, saving it, or using it to help others, in the age of 24/7 online banking, mobile payments and e-fundraising, we grown-ups have never had so many opportunities to pass on what we know to the next generation.

Related video: Martin Lewis: How to teach your kids about debt