Allowance for 4 Year Old

Updated on October 02, 2013
S.S. asks from Los Angeles, CA
18 answers

I'm thinking $1/week but my husband thinks that's too little with inflation. lol. What is an approriate amount?

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So What Happened?

My son always wants toys and we are trying not to buy him too many toys because he already has a lot. Right now there's a toy phone he wants that costs $13. We've told him he needs to save his money to get that phone and so far he's saved up $6. The other day he was tempted to buy something but then stopped himself saying he wanted to save his money to get the phone. So he seems to get the concept of saving. In any case thanks for the thoughts! Food for thought for certain. I think I will keep giving him $1 and see if it ends up being too frustrating for him. Thanks!

Featured Answers


answers from Houston on

None. A 4 yr old doesn't need money.
And don't chime in about 'learning responsibility' 'how to save' blah blah blah. Let the kid be a kid. Jeez

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I never gave the kids that young money/allowance. They were much older before they started getting anything like that.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

I think 4 is a little young to being the 'allowance' lesson. There's a purpose behind the concept of giving an 'allowance'. Is there something they want that they have to save for? I can't imagine, but with the desire of young children these days, perhaps there is. I don't think allowance is appropriate at this age.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Reading on

I think a four year old should get more instantaneous rewards. An allowance is just green paper that can't really be used for a while. Even stickers on a chart are more exciting.
Just a thought.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

$52 a year? For a 4 year old? I can't imagine the advantages to this. Create a sticker chart for special behaviors or particular chores you want done, and encourage a lot of helpful activities that are not specifically rewarded with anything. Everyone in the family needs to cooperate.

When they start asking for money in first or second grade, and when they are doing math skills and learning to do more than just count to 10, you can institute some money. You might wait for the math unit that deals with this, as it will reinforce the lessons at home.

Spend the time now deciding how you will encourage values like generosity, charity, frugality, and so on. We got my son a bank that had 3 compartments, so he had money to spend, money to save, and money to donate. Then we got him a children's savings account (no fees) so he could start to watch his money grow over time.

4 is way too young. For now, you and your husband have to supervise and decide what gets bought for him and what doesn't. He doesn't get candy just because he has the money, for example - he gets it when you think it's appropriate. 4 year olds are way too young to do any long-term savings for a desired toy or treat - it will do nothing but be an exercise in frustration for all of you.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

what does a 4 year old need an allowance for?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

nothing...too young....

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Please sit down and discuss with him why you're even thinking of an allowance for a child this young. No one I know ever gave an allowance to a child who was not in at least, say, first grade or so.

Allowances are intended to teach children how to manage and be responsible about money. At four, that's not a lesson your child is ready for yet. If you are not giving an allowance to teach that lesson -- why are you considering it at all? Would you ask your child to save it, save some of it, give some to charity, etc.? It's asking a LOT of a child that young -- not even kindergarten age -- to be given something then told to hang onto it or put it away.

If you are doing this to teach your child about charity (many parents give allowances and then expect their kids to give a certain amount to charity): Well, next time you see someone collecting for charity, hand your child a dollar then to put in the collection box, or into the plate at church, or whatever.

I don't give an allowance at all. My child at about eight started earning some money on "extra," large chores (but I do not ever pay for day to day chores that must be done to keep the household running!). She is nearly 13 and does not get an allowance now either, and won't in the future. She saves the money she gets as gifts from relatives and earns it via certain chores.

But handing a kid as young as four an allowance could end up teaching the child that "you get money just because you get money" and not because you're expected to do certain things with it, or save it, or donate it. It won't matter how much you say "You have to save some of this" etc. The four-year-old brain is not good at deferring its wants and saving up, and your kid will likely get frustrated.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

I think no allowance is an appropriate amount for a 4 year old.

If you want to give her some money to save, I would give her a quarter a week, and a fun piggy bank to deposit it in. My 3.5 yo has one that squeals whenever she puts money in hers, and she loves it. (Great for counting practice. Lol.)

Until she is old enough to understand the concepts of saving, spending, etc. there really is no point, IMO.

Of course, if you WANT to give her some allowance, that's your prerogative...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

No I wouldn't give allowance. I still do not give allowance , my kids are teens. To me that seems like welfare in a way. Wages are a debt paid for exchange of work, ... giving money away just because they exist is called a handout. My hubby, my kids, and I , ALL pitch in on the home and chores. it's expected and no one gets paid to live life. If my kids do work above and beyond what is normally expected, then I will give them money for it. This encouraged my children to want to work and to find creative jobs and to have an enturprenal spirit. I do not pay for grades either, as learning is a gift to them. Grades should be motivated by encouragement and the desire to improve oneself and increase self esteem.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Parents, why are you rushing your kids' lives and experiences? Stop. They will grow up in enough time to do such things as allowance and designer clothing. I work in a joint middle and high school. The girls' handbags are actually REAL designer ones! I carry one from TJMaxx!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

No offense, just my first reaction - why in the world does a 4-year-old need an allowance??!!

If you want to reward a 4-year-old for "being a good helper" or whatever, try stickers! Or ice cream!

A 4-year-old should not be buying anything that you don't want him to have. He has no need for his own "spending money".

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

What is the purpose of it?

Are there certain things you are going to expect her to pay for out of her own money? Is it for mad money for her? Is she expected to do anything to earn it? What are you trying to teach her by giving her the money?

ETA after your SWH:
Of course he wants toys (and has too many already). He's 4. That's what kids do. They want. As the parent, your role is to tell him "no" to what you find inappropriate. If he has too many toys (in your opinion) then just tell him no, and move on. Don't acquiesce by telling him he can save his money for it. If you are ok with him having it, then buy it. If not, tell him no. It really is that simple.
What you are trying to do is make an impossible (or very delayed and frustrating) goal for him that you really do not want him to achieve. Is that really a good idea? To purposefully thwart him, or yourself, in your goals? I don't think that it is.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think .50 a year is reasonable.

In fact, I will soon be giving my soon to be 4 year old $2. I'm not rushing anything. he collects the garbage every week, and does a bunch of other household tasks. As a contributing member of this household, he gets to share in the money too. I know it's meaningless to him, but his sister gets an allowance, and I feel like he should get one too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I wouldn't give allowance to a 4 year-old little kid.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

There used to be a person (therapist of some sort I believe) on this board that would post about the benefits of giving your children an allowance and the best ways she has found for it to work. It had to do not with getting allowance for doing normal 'family' chores that everyone should do, but more for learning about the value of money as well as earning it for things beyond just the daily stuff we all should be doing to contribute to the household. I wish I could remember her 'handle' because she was so much more eloquent than I am being right now:)

Anywho, I'm clearly in the minority of opinions here, but this year (age 5) we decided to start giving our son an allowance. We started this because we were going to go to Hawaii for our vacation. I read a great article in Parents (or Parenting) magazine about providing an allowance for the kids while on vacation. In this way, they could buy whatever they wanted so long as they had enough money. Basically, if it was something the family was buying together, the parents would pay (group ice cream outing, lunch, etc.), but if it was something only they wanted, they had to decide if they want to use their money for it.

From there, we decided to continue giving our son allowance. It's $5.00/week and he's required to put $2.00 into his savings piggy bank. This stems from his constant want of toys and things. He has to save his money and really decide what he wants most - the cheapy item he can get right now but that will probably break in a week, or the nicer item he's really been wanting but has to wait and save for. He's starting to get the hang of it. We started in August.

We are a country of credit cards and debt. I want to teach my child as early as possible that if you really want something, you have to save your money. I want him to understand when we say to him, "sorry honey, we don't have that in our budget right now" or "we don't have the money for that right now" he understands a little bit of what we're saying.

The point isn't how much you give, it's the lessons you teach with it that matters.


answers from Grand Forks on

I think $1/week is fine, because at the age of four the allowance is mainly symbolic. Give four quarters. With one quarter let him buy a candy from the candy machine, let him donate one quarter to the collection plate at church (or the charity box at the store), and the other two quarters go into the piggy bank. Others have said that at four he won't yet understand money, which is true, but by the age of five they do (at least they had a basic understanding). When he is five and you show him how many quarters he has in his piggy bank from saving his allowance all year that will be a great lesson! Also, at the age of five a large pile of coins is more impressive than a smaller stack of bills. It looks like treasure.

ETA: It is also a great, tangible way to learn about math. I remember at that age I loved counting the contents of my piggy bank. I had the best piggy bank, a cash register that counted the coins as I deposited them, then when it hit ten dollars the drawer would open. That is when I would sort the coins, count them, and my parents would help me roll them up to take to the bank.

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