Allowance and Chores for a 6 Year Old Entering 1St Grade

Updated on June 16, 2010
C.R. asks from Gilbert, AZ
14 answers

Hello Mamas,

My daughter is a mature 6 year old who will be entering 1st grade in the Fall. I'd like to start giving her chores and paying her an allowance. Can you suggest chores that would be age appropriate? How much should her allowance be, and how often should she receive it? I also have a 4 year old son who will no doubt also want an allowance. How should I handle that? Any suggestions, tips, and advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks very much for your help!

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So What Happened?

Thank you all very much for the wonderful suggestions. Both my kids already do chores, and I wanted to incorporate an allowance for my 6 year old. I definitely don't want to give her an allowance for doing things that she should do as a responsible member of the family, so I'll need to think of regular jobs she can do that go beyond her normal responsibilities for which she can earn an allowance.

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answers from Flagstaff on

Mopping the kitchen floor was worth $1.00 to me, so I suggested this as an allowance item. I got the floor washed every day for a week, the first time with enough water to float a boat. I didn't freak, but did sttep in and showed her how to soak up and squeeze out. The kitchen $ had to be renegotiated and became less popular, but the bathrooms were spotless. Rather than impose tasks, my kids responded better to discussions and negotiations. I should add that the youngest is now 32 and a marvel at balancing career and personal order. Her older sister, who got the #^*&Z! ultimatums about chores HIRES her little sister to come over and dig her out. Working at home with 2 kids and a thriving business is certainly a factor, so no hard and fast conclusions here. But maybe some will be helpful.

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answers from Tucson on

My son will be 5 soon and we have had him doing “chores” since he was about 3 &1/2. I do not pay him his allowance for doing chores.. They are something that everyone in the family is expected to do. His chores are things that I know he is capable of doing.. He tidy’s up the bathroom, takes laundry down to the laundry room, making his bed daily, helps with the dishwasher, takes trash out, takes the kitty litter to the trash (I still scoop it since he can make a huge mess), he sets the table and washes it when we are done our meal, and of course recycle. That being said we have set him up with a weekly allowance of 5.00 ½ of which MUST be put into his savings account and the other ½ he gets in quarters. If there is a time he doesn’t feel like doing something like laundry duty he has to pay mommy a set amount for whatever task it is. The first few months it was hard getting used to having money, he wanted to spend it all at once on match box cars and silly things. Now that he is seeing the value of HIS money he tends to save it more for bigger items he also doesn’t like to pay someone else to do a simple job.. This is something that has worked for us… Good luck with whatever you do!


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answers from St. Louis on

Well this is what I do and I know most people would not agree with me, but I have a 3 yr old son and he has chores and an allowance. Now before you freak out, know this first, my son some how developed the "Super Helpful Gene". When I clean he wants to clean, when i do the dishes, he wants to as well, when I take out the get idea. So I figured this was as good of a time as any now he is vary mature for his age, so I figured I would give it a shot and see where it went. So Monday - Friday, he has chores now difficult of coarse, but he helps with whatever clean up I do (he even has his own mop and broom..I didn't give it to him). At the end of each week, he gets $5...then on saturday we go to the bank and he (we) deposit $3 in a savings for him and take the rest and go to the yogart shop and have ice cream just me and him (its our mommy/son day) and he loves it...he likes going to the bank and every once in a while he gets a free ice cream..

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answers from Tucson on

Check out the website called It has some great suggestions on ways to inspire your child(ren) to help themselves.

Jobs for Kids
Your three-year-old child can do these chores:

Get dressed, put away pajamas
Brush teeth
Comb hair (will need help)
Make bed (will need help)
Fold clothes (washcloths and small articles)
Empty dishwasher (will need help)
Clear meal dishes
Empty wastebaskets
Pick up toys before bed

Your five-year-old child can do all of the above chores plus:

Set the table
Clean bathroom sinks
Help clean and straighten closest and drawers
Feed pet (if it doesn’t require opening a can)
Dust furniture in room
Vacuum room
Help put away groceries
Help with grocery shopping

Your seven-year-old child can do all of the above chores plus:

Empty garbage
Sweep walks
Help in the kitchen before and after dinner
Help make lunch for school
School homework
Clean out car
Music lessons

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answers from Philadelphia on

Sure, start talking to her about money and give an allowance. Talk to her about having some to save and some to spend. Help her understand what she would save for (dolls, toy cars, games, so on) and things that she would spend on (small book, small toy). As she gets older the saving for items can be more significant such as clothes, car, bike.... But for a child, you just want her to understand what it means to want something and save for it. As for tying it to chores, studies have shown that tying money to chores or grades robs the child of a chance to learn to do things for the self satisfaction of it and because it is their responsibility. A child needs to know that they need to clean up a mess or help out a family member if asked, not because there is money involved but because thats how a family works. If, as the child gets older, they would like to earn more money for an item, you can figure out money making jobs and have a list so that it is clear that helpers do not get paid for helping the team but if a child would like to take on a full job they can get paid.
Eg. Helping fold some laundry is helping, doing 2 family loads can be a paid job. Helping put some dishes away is helping. Cleaning, loading and putting dishes away could be a paid job. It is really up to you and your family to decide, but make sure the ideas are CLEAR.
As for the 4 year old. Sure, give a little something with the same ideas OR you can also tell the 4 year old that when they are 6 they too will get an allowance. Fair and equal are not the same. As we get older we get more privileges.

B. Davis
Because nothing is more important than family

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answers from Albuquerque on

We went to the hobby store and picked out three boxes with clasps, and painted for save, one for give, one for spend.

We made a chore chart with things to do every day (had some "gimmes" on it like brushing teeth) and things to do on weekend days. We also put together a cup filled with popsicle sticks that have chores written on them, and the kids draw two a day (this is on their chore chart, too). There are a couple of blanks in there, so sometimes they get lucky.

Every week the kids get money just for allowance, to help them learn about money. It's a number we can divide by three...the 12-year old gets $6 a week, $2 for each box, and the 6-year old gets $3 a week. If they do extra stuff, they get extra money. I pay them $1 for every half hour they work.

The kids love building up their boxes. We have savings accounts for them and they get really excited to put money in the bank. They often put their 'spend' money in the bank, too. they ask for money for birthdays, and the older one saves up for bigger purchases. The younger one just wants a big number in his bank account. When the kids get about $35 in their 'give' boxes, we find a charity they are excited about and donate the money.

I did a lot of research online before setting up our system, and it's got all the good separate from chores, kids expected to do chores to help the family, a way to earn extra, an element of fun. The kids are really good about doing their chores and they don't complain. You could give the older one $3 a week and the younger one 3 quarters or something. The younger one could get a chore chart, too, just with pictures and easier stuff. We laminated ours and put them on the wall, and use dry-erase markers on them. The biggest challenge is me giving them enough time to do their chores, since we stay busy and don't always get home early. But we have a sense of ease about punishments, not too complicated.

Good luck!



answers from Phoenix on

Hi, C.R. -
I also have a 6 year old entering 1st grade, and we just started the chores/allowance thing with her. It's going great! My daughter is responsible each day for making her own bed and tidying her room, putting down clean water for the cats and making sure their bowl of dry food is full, taking trash/recycling out to the bins in the garage, and making certain that all the bikes, etc. are brought in from the back yard to under the patio every evening. Sadly, we don't often sit down as a family at the table, but when we do, she helps me set the table. She does these things willingly and without complaint, and is THRILLED at receiving $2 each week. Other chores appropriate for that age might include helping unload the dishwasher or folding towels, I think. Good luck.


answers from Phoenix on

My children (ages 7, 4 and 2) all have a chore chart. My 2 year old has to pick up 2 items and put it away to get a sticker. My 4 year old has other things on it, but let's go to the 7 year old, who is closer in age to your child (and has had the chore chart since she was 5.)

There are things on the chore chart that she does not get paid for, but if she doesn't do them then she loses privileges... those are the everyday things like clean room, bathroom trash, cleaning windows (this is a weekly item but she doesn't get paid for it) and clear dishes from the table. Then there are a few items that are extra... things I don't expect her to do, but if she does them then it benefits both of us... like actually doing a load of laundry from start to finish, doing dishes from start to finish (although I still put them away), vacuuming and mopping... the chart changes a few times a year, where items from the extra list move up to the required list, and sometimes things will come off the list and "magically" appear on the younger children's lists.

I tell my children that they have to do things from the required list everyday, but if they drop below 5 days of everyday chores then they begin to lose privileges, such as no bike riding for a week, no computer for a week... I have a "scale" for each child so if they only do 4 days of chores then he/she loses X, if only 3 days of chores are done then X and Y are lost. The possible loses are listed/pictured on the chart so they know exactly what will happen. So they start with all of the privileges and lose them if they don't do them.

For the extras where my 7 year old can earn money... some extras are listed and there are spaces below so if she decides to do something not on the list then I can add it. She starts with $5 and loses money should she choose to not do anything extra. Extras I give her 3 days... if she doesn't do anything extra for the week, she only gets $2.

Since at this age I allow my kids a couple of days where they don't have to do most chores they get to choose what days to do the chores. So if my 7 year old has an activity planned on Friday, she may choose to work her chores around that day so she isn't quite so busy Friday. So I incorporate the calendar onto the chore chart for the kids. My 7 year old has learned time management from this.

There are a few nuances that I didn't list, but this is basically what we do. It has worked well for us... and the younger children LOVE putting their stars/stickers onto the chart! And my 7 year old likes having some control over what and when she does something.
Sorry this is so long... HTH



answers from Tucson on

I have an 11yr old and a 4 year old. What works best with us is what we call the "brownie points" system. Each child has their assigned chores that are age appropriate and if they do their chores with no complaints they get points for the day. Also if they are extra good (especially on outtings or something that kids may tend to act up at, they can earn points. When they reach their goal (the 11yr old has to get 100pts-since he has harder chores, and the 4 year old has to get to 50pts) they get a $15 gift card to the location of their choice. The 11 year old has chosen an itunes gift card and the 4yr old has chosen toys r us. It works better for us especially since the 4 year old really has no concept of $ and giving him $ every week would not be an incentive for him. Honestly we have only been doing this a few weeks now and the kids are almost at their goals (they only get a few points per day) but they are very excited to get their rewards and has worked GREAT so far!


answers from Richmond on

Chores, yes... allowance, no. I don't get paid to clean up after myself (and everybody else for that matter), she shouldn't get paid to do what she's going to have to do for the rest of her life. That's my take on it. I understand teaching kids the value of a dollar, but allowance for doing what you should be doing every day... no way. My 4 and 6 year old have chores they do every day... feed and water the dog, water their flowers, empty the garbage cans in the bathroom and bedrooms, put their dirty dishes in the sink, dirty laundry in the hamper, they HAVE to keep their room clean (must be done before bedtime), they also put their clean clothes away in drawers or hang them up in the closet. Once in a while, to keep them busy if they're bored, I will have them sweep the hardwood floors (one gets the dust pan, one gets the broom). Occasionally when they're VERY bored, they'll pick up a dustcloth and start dusting, LOL! My 6 year old has always been very good, I have never asked her once to make her bed, but she still does it every day. My 4 year old takes a little more push to get stuff done, but she's still very good. They take a lot of pride in saying they cleaned up after themselves! They also love being my little helpers... hopefully you'll have an easy time with this too :)



answers from Boston on

My daughter has a chore chart. She has one chore for each weekday. Either washing the table after dinner, setting the table, picking up the books from living room table, cleaning up her dresser or "chore choice." (You could also: have her bring her clothes to the laundry, sort her clothes by color, put the silverware away from the dishwasher, pair up socks from the laundry, or wipe out the sinks with a damp cloth). My daughter's always super psyched to cross of her chore of the day. At the end of the week, if all of her chores are done, she gets a dollar (but in quarters). I don't have a philosophical objection to tying her chores to her allowance; she still has to pick up when she makes a mess, etc, and doesn't get paid for that. But since she's only 5, it's not like I can tell her to get another job so she can learn the value of a dollar.

For your situation, I think you could probably make one chart for your daughter and one for your son. You could make your daughter's chores slightly more difficult and give her a little more of an allowance. I don't know what feels reasonable to you. Good luck!



answers from Tucson on

I started my son in kindergarten at $1 a week. He had to get up eat breakfast then get dressed all on his own with out my prompting. Then he had to make his bed, brush his teeth and pick up his room with out arguing. We had a chore chart to keep track.

My 4 year old wanted to do it as well. I explained that we all get to do special things at special ages. So when she gets to kindergarten she will get an allowance too. Kinda like with naps, she asks why do I still have to take a nap. I said because she is not in kinder yet. It worked for her.

I am going to bump my son up to $2 when school starts again.



answers from Chicago on

I started doing that with my daughter too! But she's only 2... haha.
I'd say picking up her toys, cleaning her room, brushing her teeth, setting the table, help with pets... just simple small things that make them feel like they are part of the family. :)



answers from Phoenix on

Hi, my children have been doing chores since they were 3 years old. I helped them, of course, being at a young age. I have always had something visual for us to check off their chores. When they were younger, it was a colorful chart, hung in their room. Now, it is a paper I print out from my computer listing the jobs with pictures. For the young ones, I assigned: make your bed; get dressed, brush your teeth; pick up toys at the end of the day. Now that they are older (9 & 7), they have the same as I just mentioned plus homework; practice the piano; doggie duty; reading for 20 minutes. They pretty much had the same when they were six. We have them do extra jobs around the house just because we ask them to like: set the table; mow the lawn, pull weeds. We give them extra money for outdoor jobs. I would like to give them the allowance amount of their age, but we cannot afford that, so we give them $5 for the older one and $4 for the younger one. They have a wallet and a jar that says, "savings" and when they get their allowance every week, they put half of it in savings and half in their wallet. They have learned to save well, and buy toys for themselves. We go to the bank every few months and they deposit their savings for college. There are many free job charts available to print out on the internet, or you can tailor one for your children on your computer if you have any programs like Word or Printshop, or you can draw one. One that I have been wanting to make it a magnetic board with cute magnets that they can put on the job that they have completed. It is such a good thing that you are doing this - it teaches responsibility that they will need in real life for years to come!

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