Chores/Allowance For a 6-Year-Old

Updated on April 27, 2009
L.M. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
13 answers

I know I've already seen great answers here somewhere/sometime on Mamasource about what chores you could have your kids do, but I can't seem to find those threads now. I have a 6-year-old daughter who suddenly seems eager to earn some money, and I'm wondering what to have her do for what price. So far she just gets a few pennies a day for brushing her teeth, and now and then she can buy herself something at the dollar store. We agreed to add a nickel a day for making her bed. She honestly doesn't need anything and will mostly choose junk, but still I wonder if I'm not being too cheap and shouldn't devise a system so she could save up for something, buy presents for others, give to charity, etc. Any thoughts?

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So What Happened?

Thank you to all who responded with such good sensible ideas. Many of you said that you try not to tie the allowance directly to the chores -- that's something I agree with, didn't quite know how to handle and appreciate your advice on. Just after I put in this request, Mamasource happened to have an ad from on the page -- you can custom print chore charts and kids can then adopt a pet and play on-line using points they earned from doing their chores. Have a look!

More Answers



answers from Philadelphia on


In our house, my kids get their allowance by cleaning in areas that we all use. I've tried to pick once-a-week chores, that, if they don't do them, I can let go for a few days without major negative consequence. My 7-year-old son swiffers the stairs and upstairs hallway to earn $1 a week. I'll mention it to him once as a reminder, but I don't nag. If he doesn't do it, no allowance. My 5-year-old son dusts the living room and dining room and (supposedly) uses the Swiffer flick on the area rug in the living room for $1 (the real vaccuum cleaner freaks him out a little.) He's usually pretty quick to do things like this, so no nagging is required.

My seven-year-old is a little capitalist, and always trying to come up with ways to make extra money, so if he asks for extra chores, I usually have him help unload or load the dishwasher. My 5-year-old doesn't really seem to care about money yet. For both kids, if they are extra helpful without a motive, I will occasionally give them an extra $1.

We do have other expectations for their behavior and participation in family responsibilities not tied to money, and I appreciate the philosophy behind allowance not tied to chores, but this seems to work best for us.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lancaster on

hi L.,

Everyone has a different philosophy about this, but here is mine and you can take it or leave it or take some of it or whatever.

We give our son (just turned 7) a dollar a week. This we call his allowance... It is simply because he is part of our family. but being part of the family also means that there are chores he is responsibile for. He sorts his wash on wash days, sets the table for dinner(when I remind him!), takes his plate to the sink after a meal, cleans up his room once a week and helps Dad with a chore on Sat. (whatever my husband comes up with). I try not to emphasize that he's getting paid for these chores, but just that it's part of being in this family. I don't want him to think he gets money for every little thing he does around the house, but if there's a special project like raking leaves in the fall or something big, then I think it's very appropriate for us to give him extra "pay" for his help. Sometimes when he's reluctant to clean his room I tell him that he can "hire or pay me a quarter " if he'd like me to do all the work.
we tell him to put one quarter in a savings bank, one in a spending bank and one in a charity/giving bank. the other quarter is his to choose. when he starts wanting new toys, we suggest he go count his quarters and see if he has enough to buy something and then we all go to store and he picks something out. the last time he went he realized he had to bring extra money along for tax! so he's learning! Also, if there's an opportunity to give, like at church, he is able to give from his giving bank. This doesn't mean we never use our money to buy him a toy, but it's also a way for him to start understanding the value and use of money and even our three year old is able to do a simple version of a lot of the chores around the house.

hope that helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My son is 6 and can make his bed, set the dinner table, clean his room , feed the dog anything basically and maybe pay her a few dollars a week.



answers from Pittsburgh on

How is she with scissors? At around 6 or 7, I started my daughter on the job of clipping coupons for me. She's 15 now and still enjoys this extra little income. I go through the flyers in the Sunday paper, mark the ones I want with a little dot of magic marker in the corner, and then she cuts them all out. For her effort, she receives half the total savings when I use them: since my store doubles them up to $1, she earns AND I save the full face value under $1, and half the value $1+. Since I have arthritis in my hands, this has been a huge help to me since I can still save a little on the grocery bill; and she not only feels she's really earned what she receives, but she also sees the value of using the coupons and shopping wisely. For that reason I'd encourage you to take her along when you shop, especially when it will be a big "coupon trip." For example, there are times when we decide to forego the coupon because the generic is cheaper; she has come to respect that we do that even though it means she doesn't get her coupon money from it, because it's good for the family, and she's learned to compare prices and look for the bargain, when it does not greatly affect quality. She saves some of what she earns, and she has to give some to the church; but overall she spends very little; she isn't a very "material" kid. We used to give her a small allowance as well, with the same save/give requirements; but we found she wasn't really interested in it because she spends so little. We did not tie it to chores; those are simply required and are not paid. She COULD choose to do "above and beyond" chores like sweeping the garage or washing the car for a few dollars (especially since washing the car was something we'd have paid to have done elsewhere, and garage sweeing is something I like to keep up with, but sometimes am not physically up for, so she's saving me the work). Eventually she started babysitting and we discontinued the allowance altogether, but she still does coupons. Hope this helps! Good luck and God bless!



answers from York on

My kids are 6 and 7. They each receive an allowance each week. My 6 yr old gets $1 and my 7 yr old gets $1.50. We also do not associate money with chores. Everyone in the family needs to contribute to the running of the house without thinking they should get paid for work that they will have to do on their own someday anyway. I feel this can create an expectation of payment for things that they should be doing anyway.
My boys clean their room, clean the bathroom, gather the trash for trash day, take the trash cans and recycle bins out and then put them away, feed the dog, help set the table and clean it off, and my 7 yr old is learning to do the laundry. They can earn extra money, by doing things without being asked or without complaining, they can earn extra money by asking to do other chores (like pick up the apples from the yard before we mow in the summer).
Money is earned by doing a job and by doing it well. Allowance is earned by contributing to the running of the household.
Good luck, I am sure you will find what works for you.



answers from Philadelphia on

My almost 9 year old step-daughter loves to clean. I hated giving her chores because I wanted her to think of her time with us as fun, not work, butI caught her a few times "sneaking" washing the dishes or trying tomop the floor. So here's what I did;

I went out and purchased the "baby-ganics" line of cleaners that were safe for kids to use. We designated a dollar amount for each chore, for example:
cleaning the windows in the living room-$2
cleaning the bath tub-$3
and so on.
She loves going to the boardwalk in the summer and my in-laws live near the beach, so the money she earns we put towards her boardwalk budget- we keep a log of the earnings and she doesn't see the cash until we are at the boardwalk. This way we can help her learn to stick to a budget and earn some cash in the process. before she would never understand why we couldn't play every single game on the boardwalk, now she knows, when the money is gone, that's it!



answers from Philadelphia on

My oldest is eight and I have her take things out of the dishwasher she can put away and she loads it, she gets 1.00. I sometimes have her straighten up the living room for me and she would get another 1.00. You need to do what is best for your family. I see nothing wrong with a nickel at 6, your right what does she need to buy. I say up it a bit as she gets older.



answers from State College on

My son, who is 5, has chores, but we don't associate them with money. We've explained that he is part of our house and it takes all of us doing our jobs to keep it running. He is generally pretty good about it. He is responsible for setting the table, clearing off his own dishes, taking the recyclables to the recycle bin, and toilet wanding the toilets (his choice - enjoys it for some reason. Of course he also has to pick up his own toys and his bedroom. My son usually gets money from Grandparent, aunts, uncles for holidays/birthdays, or sometimes just because. The money he gets from others, we have him put half into the bank, knowing some day he will want more expensive toys. This way he will be able to choose what is most important to him and buy it himself.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Now is a great time for your daughter to learn the principles of saving/giving/budgeting/wise spending.

Our kids are given a weekly allowance. They must put a portion each week into their piggy banks. They decide how much. They each have a long term goal to buy something expensive such as a bike, American Girl dollar, a trip to the toystore. The money in their piggy banks cannot be removed until they reach their goal. However, we do allow some exceptions, for example if they want to buy a nice gift for someone, or we go vacation or to a big book sale.

When they get gift money, some of it goes into their credit union savings account, some into their piggy banks and some into their wallets.

Then they must set aside some each week for giving. Since we are regular church attenders, this goes into the offering plate each week, though sometimes they give to charities also. Again they choose the amount, but it is at least ten percent, as that is what our churches teaches about tithing.

Then the rest is their pocket money, to spend as they choose (within reason). They like to be able to buy gum, toys, etc. when they go with me shopping. When they waste their money on something cheap that breaks, we talk about it and how they could have something different.

Learning to do this has been great for our kids, especially my oldest who has a regular job and has saved enough money to buy herself a car.



answers from Reading on

I just wanted to say I think it's a GREAT/Wonderful/Amazing idea to encourage your little one to give to charity and buy gifts for others with her allowence. It's also nice for her to learn that saving money for longer periods of time reap more rewards than impulse spending. Good Job



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi L.!
I have a 4 1/2 year old boy who also loves to help. I let him feed our pet, help put out the trash, put the clothes in the hamper. He also loves to help make his bed and vacuum. I feel the more kids do, the more confidence they aquire. Take care!



answers from Pittsburgh on

My son is 7,and he gets $2 each week. He makes his bed every day, puts away his laundry after I fold it and goes to church on Sunday without a disgruntled word! I just chose those things because they are the things that drive me crazy! :)

Sometimes we will think of something extra he can help out with and boost the allowance 50 cents or a dollar for that week. With gifts from relatives (for every holiday!) he saves up pretty quickly to buy things he wants. Certainly makes it easier for me to say no when he asks for something. I also have a "stash" of my own that I save for special things for myself. I am trying to teach him(also by my example)about saving and spending and it is really working.

Sometimes I have to bite my tongue when he buys the 1000th Webkin, but I see it as his money and he does buy what he wants. He is also learning from mistakes when he "wastes" it on something not worthwhile.

Good luck!



answers from Pittsburgh on

My daughter is also 6 and has started to inquire about an allowance. I have not instituted one yet because I have not put enough thought into what kind of system I want to use.

Like other posters I do not want her to think she gets paid for every little thing she does since she should be doing these things anyway. But I think the importance of the allowance is teaching them to budget, spend, conserve and save. Whether they need that 'crap' they want to buy or not, they need to be free to make that decision and live with that decision.

I recently read America's Cheapest Family. While I would not recommend the book, they did talk about a points system that they used for allowances. I thought it might be something I want to use when I put something together. So you might want to read that chapter of the book.

Up until now I have always put gift money into a savings account for college. I do not know how much longer I will be able to get away with this but it is my preference to keep it this way since it would be much better spent on education than today's fleeting wants.

I look forward to reading how other people handle allowances.

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