6 Year Old Asking for Money

Updated on November 25, 2016
S.M. asks from Miami, FL
23 answers

Hello Moms,
I am not sure if this has happened to any one of you.
So my son started kindergarten this year and they have treat sale once every week and have vending machine in school. Everyday my son ask for a $1 to buy something. I told him I can not give you everyday but some days are ok (am I being unreasonable?). It is not that I can't afford to give him every day $1 but I want him to understand you can't get it everyday.
He says he buys icecream with it. I told him we have so much ice cream at home or I will take him out to eat ice cream today but it lasted 20 minutes the argument and finally he went school crying which broke my heart.
Have any of you experienced 6 year old crying for money??
FYI - this happens at his karate class, his swimming class because every one sells snacks and I constantly battle with him telling we bring our snacks from home and we do not have to buy from there everytime. I do allow sometime to buy.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much moms! I am new here but I was so confused that I goggle and found this website. I am glad I wasn't doing it wrong. To add, I do give him money for helping me in the chores. The thing is his piggy bank has well about $30 ($20 from tooth fairy and rest from finding change from here and there). He thinks he can take money from his piggy bank and do whatever he wants. I think he is too young for that. I told him, he needs to ask me before he uses his piggy bank money.
I felt bad today morning because he behaved very good in the morning to get ready for school and he kept reminding me that he wants $1 today and he is behaving good to get it. which I kept on telling him, no he would not get it today because he got last week ($3-4 at school, karate and swimming).
My problem is he doesn't want to accept "No".
I was also thinking $1 a week sounds fair, and to give him on Monday and let him spend any day of the week he likes. What do you say?

Featured Answers


answers from Los Angeles on

This is the kind of thing an allowance is for. For instance, if you were to give him $2 a week for an allowance, he would need to learn how to budget his money and make choices on what to spend it on. When his money is spent it is all gone. It is a very good lesson to start learning. If you just keep giving him money when he asks or when he cries he will become very spoiled and not learn anything about managing money. As for the money in the piggy bank, maybe open a bank account with it?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I must say this definitely would not have broken my heart. This would have made me realize I must start saying no a lot more often. It would make me realize my child wasn't grasping the concept of delayed gratification and that I had not taught them sufficiently yet how to "take a no"

Watch this video...I thought it was really good.

Go on YouTube and search for Prager University Vitamin N


2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from San Francisco on

It's fine to tell him no. If he cries when he hears the word no, then go ahead and let him cry and calmly go about your business. He will be fine.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

stop rationalizing and explaining and making excuses.
he's 6. he wants something. very simple.
it's not good for him to have this something every day. you're the parent. you say no.
very simple.
you need to toughen up. a 6 year old crying over not getting ice cream should not break your heart.
saying no to a 6 year old should not necessitate 6 minutes of explanations.
develop your 'no.' use it liberally.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I find it easier to draw a clear line in the sand on this one - no snacks at school. I think that "maybe" and "sometimes" are too ambiguous for a 5 year old and long explanations are not understood. That's why it leads to arguments. So, my response is a straight up "no".

ETA: I just saw your SWH. You say this is a problem because "he doesn't accept No"??? This is where you totally lose me. In my house, I'm the parent and No means No. And arguing after I've said no leads to a loss of privileges. I suggest you think hard about your parenting style. If you continue allowing him to nag you into changing your mind, you are in for a long long road of constant arguing with your child.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

he's in kindergarten. He needs to learn about money. NOW.

He needs to know that it is earned and not given.

None of my kids cry for money. They may have pouted and walked off, but no. not cried.

Your son needs to know how to save money, give to charity and spend wisely. Start NOW do NOT wait. He is NOT too young to learn about money.

Your son doesn't accept no because he knows you can and will cave.Stop caving.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'd stop giving him the money, and I wouldn't get into a protracted argument about it. The only reason an argument with a 6 year old lasts for 20 minutes is if the parent keeps engaging and trying to convince the child to see the parent's viewpoint. The answer is no, and if there's crying, you reply that you said no and that crying won't change your mind.

It's okay for kids to cry - not that you want to inflict anything on them, but whining and crying because they don't get their way is not something that should break your heart. I don't think you get anywhere by saying there's ice cream at home or that you will take him out for it later - he knows that both of those options cost $1 or more.

In my opinion, kindergarten kids shouldn't have access to vending machines at all. That's crazy. I'd talk to the school about that. It's not about whether you can afford it or not - it's not a healthy choice, and it's pretty awful to have wealthy kids buying every day while other families are on a subsidized lunch program and can't ever buy it.

You can consider a "Dollar Friday" - that's the day of the week he gets $1 to spend. But he should have some sort of chores for that. He could help with laundry (like sorting his own socks and folding underwear, stuff that doesn't need to be folded that neatly), sweeping the kitchen floor, or taking out the trash from the bathrooms and bedrooms (kitchen trash might be too heavy or messy if he spills it). If he did one thing every day M-Th for 25 cents, he'd have $1 for Friday. It will take a while, but once he understands that everyone works for their money, he can begin to learn to prioritize how he spends his. Too many kids think that money comes from the ATM and we can always go get more - they need to learn very early lessons about budgeting.

You could also get a board game that deals with shopping in some way - Monopoly is way too complicated even for older kids, but something simpler would be great. Get some play money at the toy store too, and start the early practice with making change and figuring out that 5 $1 bills = 1 $5 bill, and so on. Make it fun.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You should teach him about earning money. At age 6 there are chores he can do around the house to earn an allowance. He can spend that money on snacks. Even if you pay him $1 each week, and then he can decide which day he wants to spend that money. (As long as the treats are not "bad"...he should not be eating too much candy...but buying it once each week is probably fine.)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Our schools have snacks as part of the lunch line so parents put money on their child's account and the child can turn around and use it for snacks freely until the parents wonder why their child's lunch account is always in the negative.

It sounds to me like he knows how to manipulate you rather well. Otherwise he would take no for an answer. The fact that he went to school crying and it broke your heart says it all.

Personally I don't feel kids need all of these treats and snacks. We've become a foodcentric society where everything revolves around snacks and treats. I can't imagine where this will all lead.

Learn to say no and be okay with it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Our school has a sticker machine....and I told my kids on certain Fridays (every other one or Fridays they remind me...some such thing) they could get a sticker.

They were fine with it. Same thing with lunch treats in the cafeteria...they could get one treat a week. We marked the day they picked on the kitchen calendar so they knew they had it for the week and had to wait until the next week for another.

That way they weren't breaking my bank and still got to join in the fun at school.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Welcome to mamapedia!!

He's in Kindergarten? Make him EARN IT. Stop giving him the money.

Give him chores to do so that he earns $5 a week.

I would stress the importance of saving his money as well as the difference between a want (like to have) and a need - must have in order to survive.

He knows he can play you with his tears. Stop caving. No means no. Have him EARN his money so he can spend it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

You tell him that these things are "once in a while treats."

You should stay strong and not give in to the crying. He has to learn that he cannot have everything he wants when he wants it or just because it's there in front of him. Ideally, he would have been introduced to this concept before age six, but don't let that stop you from teaching it to him now.

We live in a world that bombards us with constant advertising and enticements (this includes the presence of vending machines at every venue and activity, toy crane machines just inside supermarket doors, constant fundraisers, etc.). Marketing groups desire to make us mindless consumers, and it's up to parents to teach their children how to resist needless purchases. It's a process, however. Of course children want fun things, treats, etc., and as a parent, it's fun to give these things to your children once in a while, when you deem it appropriate, but NOT because they cry for it.

As a parent, you just have to know your values--that is, how, when and where you decide to spend your money--- and stay strong when you are teaching those values to your children.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

You might have him create three banks. They can be simple boxes, or plastic zip top bags, or actual banks. Mark one "spending", one "saving", and the third one "charity" (or church offering, or Salvation Army Christmas Kettle, or the Red Cross, or St. Jude's Hospital, or the local animal shelter, or whatever you support or care about). Amazon.com sells several of these kinds of banks - just type in "kids spend save give banks" in Amazon's search window (without the quotations) and you'll see several.

Figure out an amount of allowance that makes sense, and have him put a portion in the spending bank, another in the savings and another in the giving bank. It can be 1/3, 1/3, 1/3, or $3 in the spending and $1 each in the other banks. He cannot touch the savings and giving banks. If he wants to get something big, like a new bike, or a video game, you and he can figure out the price together and start saving towards that. You might tell him that you'll match his saved money when he's raised half of the goal, if you like that idea.

And then, if you want to buy him something at karate or swimming lessons or from the vending machine, establish some structure that he can count on. For example, the last lesson of the week, he gets to purchase a snack with money that you will give him, or every Friday. But make it predictable, and don't waiver. Also, make sure that chore money or allowance is structured and predictable. Don't say "oh, you did a good job sweeping the porch steps, here's a dollar" and next time, you happen to have $2, so you give him $2 for the same task. List his chores on a whiteboard or poster, and what his allowance is, and when it will be paid. And stick with it.

This gives him some control - he knows he can use up the money in the spend portion, but you know that the save and donate portions are safe. And if he blows all the money in the spend bank, that's tough. But sit down with him and explain the system.

I am guessing that once he starts using his spending money to buy snacks, and figures out how fast the money goes when purchasing from a concession stand vs. the grocery store, or getting a snack from home, he'll understand the value of packing your own snacks or passing up the expensive stuff at the vending machine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

No is no. I'm not sure why he's allowed to carry on. He's obviously been doing this for a while.
Join the PTO! Have the vending machine removed from school.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think that you should be consistent: For example, you will give him one dollar on Friday to celebrate the end of the week. I think if he knows that if he complains often enough you just might give him a dollar here, a dollar there, he'll whine every day. If you just say: Honey, we have a deal. A treat on Friday to celebrate the end of the week.

We do this with our son's beloved Domino's pizza. There is one in every zip code in our city, and short of circling blocks, each time he saw a Domino's the whining for pizza would begin. Now, he knows: Domino's pizza on Friday night..and only on Friday night.

In my opinion, I think a 6 year old doesn't have enough impulse control yet to think about how best to spend that $1.00...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I would pick one day a week as treat day. I would tell him that he will get $1 on every Friday that he can use to buy a treat at school. I would tell him not to ask other days of the week...he will not be getting $ any other day. My daughter is this age. It's super fun for them to use money to buy something all on their own. Then he can look forward to Fridays!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

All kids have a hard time with a "no".. but it's our job as parents to allow them to experience that "no" as it is. It isn't a punishment, it isn't because they weren't good.. if you cater to him constantly he will not understand and form the opinion of always needing a reward for good behavior, or just plain getting his way by making YOU feel bad.

I started allowing my son to do small chores around the house at that age.. but I didn't pay him for doing it. One reason was to show him how to contribute to our family, learn responsibility, and become independent with those abilities to do for himself.

On occasion, I would give him a " just because" reward. It may be a few dollars, his favorite treat or a little toy.

As far as wanting a dollar for school snacks, have him go with you to the store and allow him to pick out his own snack for school.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think a dollar a week to blow on junk food is fine. I'd leave it at that. One dollar-- when it's gone, it's gone.

As to not accepting "no"... ? "I need you to accept my "no" (I have said this to adults as well, who were unclear on the subject) or you will not be getting any money next week either." Make the situation and consequence clear immediately and stick with it. Or "I've said 'no', I'm done talking about it. If you are going to argue, you may go to your room. We are finished here." Clear and concrete directions.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Just say no.
End of discussion.
If he wants to argue about it - he can go to his room.
He'll get use to it.
You might have to take a long break from letting him buy anything at all since he seems to expect it so much.
Buying snacks/drinks from machines gets expensive - and they DO seem to be everywhere.
It's best to nip that bad habit in the bud.
If he gets money for birthday or holidays - he should be feeding his piggy bank with it rather than blowing it in snack machines.

When our son was young I use to have him help me clear the change out of my purse and we'd separate the coins and put them into jars (make shift banks).
It was a great game.
Over the years the change built up - full jars got put onto the closet floor.
When we moved we took all the jars (had to use a wagon) to the bank and used the CoinStar machine.
The bank had to empty the machine for us twice - our son was about 8 at the time and just giggling about it as we poured jar after jar into the machine.
It totaled over $800 by the time we were done!
That money really came in handy for the move!
Our son has built up a very nice saving habit - and he still does it even though he's 18 now - and it makes us proud that he pinches a penny till it bleeds.


answers from Springfield on

my 6 yr old does chores for money, i keep count of what he does and how much hes earned, and tell him how much in in the bank for him. he usually wants books from scholastic. so after a few weeks of chores he will have enough for a few books. we are beginning this with his sister as well.
he also wants to have school lunch, and i tell him that once a month he can have hot lunch. and he is ok with that.



answers from Chicago on

This is what allowance is for, if you ask me. I give my kids $2.5 a week. I let them spend it as they see fit. I let even let my 6 year old borrow $145 for a lego set he just had to have, and he used his allowance to pay me back.

I'd be at the school, as well, arguing for the removal of the treat sale. I honestly don't get that.



answers from Washington DC on

Pick 2 days a week and stick to that. Every Tues and Thursday he gets a dollar, or every Monday and Friday, etc. Tell him he has to eat a healthy lunch and then he can spend the money. Teach him what a healthy lunch is, he will learn the days of the week and your arguments are finished because the treat days are set.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Please talk to the school about this. They often don't let the kids have free reign around vending machines and snack areas. They need to make sure they are monitoring this area.

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