Allowance for a 6-Year Old

Updated on June 05, 2009
K.T. asks from Citrus Heights, CA
15 answers

Hi there,
My daughter is 6-years old and has just completed kindergarten. She's in a place where she "wants" a lot of things whenever we go out and I've begun to talk to her about earning her own money to buy things for herself. I'm looking for ideas for a system that would reward her positive behavior but that could also be used when she does something less desireable. I was thinking about a system where she would earn some marbles for chores or positive behaviors and they could also be taken away when she does something we're not excited about. Each marble would also then have a value so she could begin to understand the concept of money and responsibility. I thought the visual and the tangible would help to make it more real. My big dilemma is how much money is reasonable for a 6-year old to earn? I don't want it to be so little that she doesn't ever feel like she's getting somewhere, but also don't want to break my bank paying her.
Thank you in advance for your answers!

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

I used poker chips when they were young and had them trade poker chips for certain things. We switched to just doing straight allowance at some point. 50 cents per year of age, plus there are certain extra tasks beyond their regular chore list. My 12 yo gets $6 as a base, plus about $2 extra for the extra chores. My 10 yo gets $5 plus usually $2.50.

Also for learning how to handle money, I used a moonjar;

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answers from San Francisco on

We started allowances for our kids (now 6 and 7) about two years ago, and it's been working GREAT! No more begging me to buy them things when we are at the store. I just remind them that they can save up for whatever it is they are admiring. And they are learning how to make choices with their money, the value of saving and giving, how to count money, and getting the idea of change and taxes... It's been fantastic. I'll tell you how we do it at our house.

We do not connect the money with chores or general behavior (though if we had any serious behavior issues, I suppose refusing allowance could become a consequence)--those are things that are expected of them because they are part of the family. We told our kids from the get go that the allowance they were going to get was part of teaching them how to manage their money, which will be a very important skill when they grow up. Just like we teach them how to read and work with numbers, they need to know how to take care of their money well.

The amount they get each week sounds very small, but you don't really want them to be able to buy a new toy each week and to not care about saving. The idea is for them to get just enough that they can buy something small and still have incentive to save for something larger. They also can get extra money from specific big jobs that come up around the house, from the tooth fairy or gift, and if they take care of sorting and bagging the cans and bottles, they get to keep the recycling money. So there are ways to get extra money for something special.

We give half of their age each week, with specifications of how to budget it. My daughter just turned 6 and got a "raise" to $3 a week. My son who's 7 gets $3.50. They put 10% right away into their giving bank (a clear plastic jar), then 50% into their savings bank. The last 40% gets to go into their wallet which stays in my purse for when we're at the store. So my daughter puts 30 cents to giving(our church), $1.50 to save, and $1.20 to her wallet every week.

$1.20 doesn't sound like much, but it's enough to buy something from the dollar aisle, or she could save it and have more the next week. She is FINALLY learning that she she doesn't have to burn through her money each week.

For the savings bank, I let them spend it on a special toy after it has accumulated up to $10. When my son turns 8 soon, I think we'll start dividing that into short term and long term savings.

Well, I didn't mean to write so much, but hope you have found something useful to help you. We also find is a good resource for us. Best wishes!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi K.,
My daughter is six and gets one dollar every Friday. It is not linked to work or chores. She can't earn extra by doing extra either. She doesn't want to part with her money as she's saving up for a car... I don't know why...

Everyone needs to contribute to the household just because they are a part of the family, not for money. After all, how many moms get paid when we make our beds or brush our teeth?

I saw a great tool for measuring "chores." It was a simple board with holes to put pegs in. One chore equals one peg. Each child was expected to be able to put four pegs in the board each day. There were no labels or anything. One kid might choose to do the same four things each day. Others might mix it up. It taught them to look for things that needed to be done rather than be assigned tasks.

Another thing I read about had marbles. Mom caught her kids being good and would reward with marbles. They would have to give her marbles if they misbehaved. On a certain night each week, the child with the most marbles got to choose the dinner or dessert that night. The mom called it "The Chalice of Choice" which she described as some old plastic cup the family decorated with those glass rocks one might find in a vase.

Because my six year old girl won't share her money, my four year old boy is starting to figure out that money has some sort of value. He doesn't get an allowance yet.

Finally (sorry to ramble), I generally pay with my atm or visa card when I shop. How many kids know that the dollars and cents we give them can be used in shops if they don't see it?

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi K.,

I found this on <> and I think its a very good plan. The only thing I would add is (if your child does not already have a bank account) open one and start having her put at least 10% of her allowance, birthday, Christmas money etc. in her account on a monthly basis.

Step 1Start your child’s allowance with a weekly amount that you can afford and can increase by a pre-determined amount each year on your child’s birthday. If you start with a dollar a week at age five and increase by a dollar a year, by 17 your child’s allowance will be up to thirteen dollars a week.

Step 2Start with a dollar allowance at age five and increase by fifty cents yearly, if you don’t want the amount to grow too high. This plan will equal four dollars weekly at age 11 and seven dollars weekly at age 17.

Step 3Decide what kind of tasks you want to link with weekly allowance payments. Make the tasks very simple to start with, like having the child make their bed and straighten their room every morning. If you have problems keeping track of tasks during the week, consider using a daily allowance payment basis.

Step 4Explain to your child that allowance can be withheld for not doing chores or for particular behaviors such as lying or missing curfews. Make the rules clear ahead of time so it doesn’t seem like you are making up rules as you go along.

Let us know what you decide.


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answers from Yuba City on

For me it started with a potty sticker chart for the 3 year old, then when the 11 year old and the 5 year old saw their sister get a 'prize' when her chart was full, they wanted one. So the 11 year old got one for completing daily chores without whining and doing 'extra' things. For the 5 year old it was a 'first time listener' chart. She got a sticker when I asked her to do something or stop doing something and she did it the first time Mommmy asked. The 'prizes' can be something they've wanted (cut a picture out of a magazine and tape it to her chart, so she knows XXX more stars and I get this) It can be a toy, an ice cream trip out with the family, or other special things. My children loved hitting their goals. Anyway, Bravo to you for wanting to teach her how to earn the things she wants, whatever way you decide (my friend does the marbles in a jar & her 5 year old loves it) you are doing her a favor!!

Bless you & your family.



answers from Sacramento on

Hi K.,
The marble idea is great. I did that but with actual coins. At the beginning of the week I put the coins in the jar um for 6 I would use dimes or quarters. Then they had to perform their choirs faithfully without complaint. I took money away each time they complained or didn't do them. Also they lost money for bad behavior. So what was left was what they got. You might want to use marbles and say they are worth an amount or a chart with stickers will work. And however many they earn is what they get. Good luck.



answers from Sacramento on

There are a lot of ideas about allowances or reward systems for kids. My advice is that you do one or the other, because it's just too confusing to mix both.
Personally, I think that having certain tasks that she knows are expected of her "just because" she's part of the family and family members work together to keep things going well in a home is good. Then have some 'extra' chores that she can choose to do, or not to do, for which she can earn money. Make the chores simple enough that she can do them well and expect good work. Since you are training her in a work ethic, don't let it be something she thinks she can just do a 'get by' job on and still get paid (goodness knows we have too many people in today's work world who are working that way already!) For a six year old, often nickles, dimes and quarters for a job are still thrilling, so figure out how much you think a job is worth, talk with her ahead of time about what you expect her to do and how much you are offering as pay, and maybe even make a little written contract with her if you think that would help. I wouldn't have more than one ongoing job for her to do for pay (just to much work for mom to keep up with in my opinion), but you can also have occasional one time tasks that you negotiate with her for pay so she can earn more.
Be sure she has an opportunity to choose to do the job or not, but once she has made the choice she needs to stick with it and finish well.



answers from Salinas on

Hi- Sounds good but use real money. She'll be learning how to count it in 1st grade and dealing with it before then will be good for her. It'll also be more fun for her as little kids have a real thing for cash. Don't over think it at this age, just a jar, some jobs and the amount she might earn for doing them and she'll be learning and having fun at the same time, what could be better? Also if she wants to spend some of it have her make the transaction herself as much as possible. My kids have what my husband and I call "transaction phobia" and making them purchase things themselves has helped. Good Luck!



answers from San Francisco on

I think actual money is more fun than marbles. At that age they don't need a lot of money, and I agree that $5 a week sounds about right.

I have never given my kids allowance, believing that they should earn their money. You could have her earn the money by doing extra chores beyond her regular household duties. When my kids were that age, they would do things for a little as a quarter! My friend and I would get our boys to be completely silent in the car for an hour for a quarter, and it was well worth the cost. My kids remember that and can't believe they ever did anything for one quarter.



answers from San Francisco on

we're in the same place with our son, and it's been touch-and-go. I only use chores as part of allowance, not behavior, so it focuses on cleaning his room and putting toys away. We use a chart to keep track of each day, plus any Bonus efforts (which I haven't really seen) to be tallied at the end of the week. Maximum he can get is $5, which he got the first week, but last week was $3, since he didn't do that much. He saved up for 2 weeks and bought himself a new toy. I think he likes the process, and it has definitely helped me when he wants something -- earn the money and save up!



answers from San Francisco on

Hi K.,

I'm ALL about positive reinforcement (R+) for good behavior - I am a positive reinforcement trainer. I use a version of TAGteach (see with my 6-year-old, pointing out good behavior and rewarding it with praise or any desirable thing I was planning to give her anyways ("I'm so glad you cleaned up your stuffed animals! Hey do you want some lemonade?").

However for allowance after much research I decided to separate R+ from allowance, because I didn't want her to choose to not do chores because she wasn't motivated by the tokens or coins at that moment. So she gets 3 quarters a week - one goes in her "spend" jar, one goes in her "save" jar, and one goes in her "share" jar. She can spend the "spend" money any time she wants; she has to have a specific purchase in mind for her "save" money, and the "share" goes to charity when we discuss a particular solicitation or news event. I have found that this has really helped her learn about some value of money.

Hope this helps!



answers from Sacramento on

We also give $5 a week, when earned. We sat down with our son and developed a list of reasonable chores for him to complete. Eventually we won't tie in the allowance to chores, but at this age he doesn't quite get the concept of "it's just expected being a member of the household." He needs the motivation of the money. We use a list that is posted on the refrigerator and he checks off when he completes the chore.



answers from San Francisco on

I believe you can give you child an allowance. I was watching one of the nanny shows last year and I think it is $1 per age. I googled and it is saying the same thing.

Most experts recommend that children get $1 per year of age for an allowance, which would equal $6 each week for your 6 year old child.

Here is the website that I used.



answers from San Francisco on

We have 2 boys (8.5 & 4) & over the past year or so have revised the allowance/reward system. Before, just our older son got an allowance but now our 4 yo is interested so he gets one as well. Like others have said, no payout for chores. We all live in this house & help make it run. They get extra for good behavior. So, here's what we have: 8.5 yo: has a base of $2 & can earn stars for extra good behavior: good character & taking responsibility, taking initiative to do things unasked. He gets $.25/star. By Sunday, he has usually earned about $5-$6. Examples of good behavior for him are: being cooperative & agreeable thruought the day, helping out w/o being asked, being nice to his brother, being a good friend. Little brother has the same system but has a $1 base & then $.10/star which nets him about $3/week. He gets extra based on being a good listener, helper & friend at school, at home & while playing w/friends as well as doing things w/o being asked. Some thoughts of school sya a $1/age but we did't feel comfortable giving our older son almost $9/week so this is why we came up w/this system. Best of luck!



answers from Sacramento on

I appreciate your desire to teach her through a rewards system although I am not sure if money and tokens mx as well as truly using this as a time to learn about money, cost value and how to earn it. I say this because short of crime, our money is not revoked for attitude or making errors. I would separate the two..create a visual chart for her behaviors you feel need to be addressed and use whatever token , including a white board and marker it that is easy and perhaps earn special events or a pick in vacation.

The dolloar store and book stores have simple money workbooks but I would just use those minimally...get real money in her hands, coins, dollars and a notebook. Have her make a wishlist and when you guys go out, have her right down what she wants and how much it is . My son is not the I want that kid in our family but the few things he wants are big a result of the discussion, he asks what everything costs when we go out..not in a wierd, grow up with money issues way, but a WOW. that is a lot..

I also encourage you to take her to a bank and open a savings account.
Have her make regular deposits after she earns her weekly money.
Keep a ledger. This will lead into real addition skills and eventually subtraction.
Have to write down categories of money, fancy clothes and accessories ( girls love those !) souvenir budget on vacation, photo booths, toys, movies, and she can learn and also plan...great organizational skills

As for allowance. I would match work with money...
I bet some other moms will have great ideas on that
I would also decide if keeping her room is beyond standard responsibility..I have my children help with laundry, do dishes ( they love the bubbles) set the table, sweep, dump garbage...picking up play room and bed rooms is expected.

Also, My 3.5 year old is my "ooh, I want that child" That is her love language.
I encourage her to make her wish list and have her select her top favorites and then make a choice..she is putting things back on the shelves, saying, maybe next time, no thank you and feeling like she has some say. This is huge for any of us to feel like we are making some choices in our life.

Best of luck in teaching your daughter these many lessons

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