Chores for a 5 YO

Updated on March 27, 2013
J.C. asks from Blacksburg, VA
14 answers

My daughter is turning 5, and we have decided to give her an allowance and require her to do some chores. What are some good chores for a 5 YO to do? Thanks, moms!

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answers from Dallas on

I will caution you, also, not to link allowance and chores. There will a day when she doesn't want to do the chore and tell you just to keep the money!

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Columbia on

As I've mentioned previously, I don't believe that chores should be related to allowance. It fosters a mentality of "how much money will you give me for doing that for you?" Which is not an attitude I want my kids to have towards my husband and I. I'm not their employer, I'm their mom.

Chores are considered "family work." Everyone in the house contributes. We help each other because we love one another and want to ensure that our home stays in good working order. It also strengthens our family bond.

Allowance is to teach kids how to responsibly manage money. Kids also enjoy having a little change to call their own. It's a morale builder as well as a responsibility. In our house we pay 50 cents per year of age per week. So a 5 year old would get $2.50 per week. We require that the kids tithe 10% and put 20% into long-term savings. It helps them to get into the habit of saving. They can save more if the choose, but they cannot save less. The rest is theirs to save or spend as they like.

As for 5yo friendly chores:
Taking out the recycling (it tends to be lighter than the big trash can). Dumping all of the smaller trash cans in the house into the big one (bathrooms, office, etc).
Feeding and watering pets.
Putting their dirty clothes into the hamper (they can start to learn to sort lights and darks).
Clearing the table (to include scraping plates into the sure no utensils get thrown away!)
Setting the table.
Organizing the entry area (shoes and coats)
Sweeping (they won't do it right....but this is when you start to teach how it's done)
Taking all of their toys that are scattered throughout the rest of the house back to their room or play area.

Hope that give you a good start!

C. Lee

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

1) Chores should be, something that she IS able, to do.
And, remember, that no child will do it as "you" would do it... but as long as they try their best, to me, that is "good."
Otherwise, they think they have to be "perfect" about it, and then may not want to try, at all. Or they will fear they will get scolded about it... since it is not as good as Mommy would do it.
So tread, lightly.
The POINT of it all, is that they "help" the family and feel good about it.
Some kids you hear about, will seem superhuman in the types of chores they do just for a 5 year old. BUT do NOT worry about that or what other kids are doing or how much or what type of chore. Don't expect... your 5 year old to do what an 8 year old would do. Just keep things, in line with YOUR child and her abilities or coordination.

2) We do not link, chores to allowance of money. That is a vicious cycle. The child then "learns" that what they do, FOR the family, they always get money or something for it. For us, HELPING the family.... is just what members of a family, does. We don't do it cause we get "paid." It is about... learning responsibility. And responsibility is not always tied to money. It is, a role we ALL do in a family... tired or not. We do it.

3) for extra special efforts, we do give our kids a little money. And it varies. And it is up to, us. Not the kids. If a kid says "I'll do it if you pay me...." to me, that is not the lesson, here. The lesson is, to help the family and to just help. Not ONLY if you get something for it, be it money or a toy.

4) Keep expectations about chores, per what you think your 5 year old is capable of... doing. Per coordination and ability. Each child is different... don't compare her to other kids and what chores they may be doing or not. Just keep it, simple, per YOUR child and her ability/understanding.
ie: instead of telling her "clean this room...." (which is overwhelming for a young child because a room is "big"), you need to be specific. ie: "can you help clean this shelf? Neaten it, dust it, and return the books to it? I see 5 books on the floor, please put it back on the shelf..." And thank her. Her seeing you "happy" she did her best, is the "reward."
Tell her "you can be the Captain of the shelf, okay? Neaten if everyday or when Mommy does her chores, too." This will encourage the child.

And try not to micromanage it, but offer tips. ie: "Oh great, you put the books back on the shelf! You organized! Sometimes Mommy does it by size.... but I see you did it by color... that's a good idea..."

5) if/when you do start to give her money for whatever reason, ALSO teach her about it. ie: some is for spending, some is for saving, etc.
And teach her about it.
By 5 years old, my kids were able to discern their money and its uses. And we ALLOWED them to "decide" how much to save or spend. And we taught them about money denominations etc.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I just have a few, I'm curious as to what others ask their 5-6 year olds to do. Here are mine:

Put away silverware from the dishwasher
Match the socks from the laundry and put away
Wipe out sink after brushing teeth
Pick up toys in playroom
Pick up room, including making sure all clothes are in the hamper and toys are in bins

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

My girl is 4.5 and we don't do the "allowance" (yet?). She does help with chores and has her "personal" responsibilities. Chores she helps with: feeding cats, setting and cleaning the table for meals, yard work (raking, sweeping, collecting trash), and other random things I ask her to do (pick up laundry tossed around the house, pick up cat/dog toys, put away books/games/toys, etc). Her "personal" things are putting her laundry in her basket then dumping it to my basket when it's full, picking up the trash/tissues in her room, putting away her toys/books (she cleans her room weekly), and putting her clothes away (after I fold them). She doesn't always do a very good job, but it's enough for her to know that "when mama has to clean the mess, mama isn't happy" AND "when mama isn't happy, nobody's happy!" :)
At this age, she's starting to realize the benefits of helping out--when she sees a small toy at the store that she wants, if she was helpful around the house, she's more likely to get it; same goes for the ice cream truck and participating in "special" events (going to the park, flying her kite, etc).
We had a chore chart that included things like getting herself dressed, brushing her teeth, putting on her shoes, making her bed, and etc, but we just didn't keep up with it (putting the stickers/magnets on the days she did those things), so it wasn't really motivating. I'm planning to give it another go in a few months--now that she's really starting to get the hang of some of these things (and recognizing the rewards).
My theory is that I'd love for her to do the chores that I hate (dishes, dusting, windows, litter box)! :) Will probably be a few more years before she masters those, though!
Good luck mama!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

My five year old is required to set the table for meals, help unload the dishwasher and feed her pets. We give her $3/week. She has to put some in an evelope to save, has some to spend and gives some to charity.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Kids don't really need money so they quickly lose interest if you are paying them for chores.
Give her responsibilities instead, simple things she's in charge of, like setting the table, feeding pets, watering plants, etc.
Family members do their part because that's how families are. No one pays YOU to cook and shop and do laundry, right? Don't set your daughter up to have that expectation. That's where the whole sense of entitlement comes from.
When she's a little older and starts wanting/needing cash you can always negotiate bigger jobs and she can start doing things like babysitting or pet sitting.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

My son is four, and he has to water the plants once a week, feed the dogs every evening, empty the dishwasher, and, in theory, clean his room.

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answers from Chicago on

Sweeping under the kitchen table
Matching socks & putting away sorted laundry
Vaccuming (my son (age 6) LOVES this)
Collecting sippy cups from around the house
Unloading the dishwasher (after I put away knives or fragile items)
Wiping down their bathroom sink - I HATE toothpaste globs
Pick up toys

I don't pay him for it--he accumulates stickers on a sticker chart, and when he gets a certain amount, he gets reward, like a day out with me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Off topic, but super valuable, at a mom's recommendation on this site I picked up a "Financial Peace Junior", by Dave Ramsey. Since it came in a box with a DVD and envelopes for saving, spending, and giving as well as charts, it really felt special to her and she took to it like a duck to water. I also preferred the terminology for commissions over allowances and earning rather than deserving the money. Don't worry about people opinions on rewarding for chores vs. expecting them. Why do any of us go to work after all- for a pay check, thats why. You will see that this is an opportunity to teach about money as much and more so than it is to maintain your space. As they get older perhaps there are things that are expected of them just because they are part of the family. But to me its like potty training. I resorted to candy treats for a time, but after they had the hang if it, those training wheels came off. And those who would caution you not to reward for chores, do they also caution not to create entitlement with non-reward based allowances and or just buying the kid what he/she wants? I was also hesitant to reward for chores when we first started. I was not raised that way. But I realized that it really was teaching her the value of money and saving and the results of laziness and "i'll do it tomorrow" attitude.

Mine (who is 5.5) puts away silverware (I dump out the dish washer basket onto a towel for her)
takes out bathroom trash and replaces the liners
picks up room and toy room (with assistance)
helps fold small towels
puts her folded laundry away
Picks up cat puke (she just did it one day, I didn't put her up to it. Ha Ha, I"m happy to pay for that one!)
pick up tub toys
clean trash, clothes, shoes, toys out of car

We are also struggling to encourage her to take over some personal hygiene issues so are also rewarding for wiping her ow arss and brushing her own teeth until she gets the hang of it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My kids have to keep their bedroom floor and the floor in the playroom clean. They also are in charge of cleaning up crumbs from the dinning room floor. They also help put the laundry away.

And they have to put their coats and shoes, etc away when we get home.

Basically, they have to mind their things, to the best of their ability.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

We do mostly along the same lines as Jane - based on Financial Peace Jr.
We have things that they are suppossed to do because they are part of the family; i.e. cleaning rooms, helping out with "household" chores, and other things. They then have their own chores that they do for commission. Here are some that my 5 yr old does/has done: feed the dog, water plants, dust, vacuum, clean the backyard (with her older brother), sweep the porch, empty bathroom trash.

Hope you find something that works for your family!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

We bought a chore pad from the local school supply store and you write in your own chores. The columns are Sat-Sun and you check them off each day. At the end, of the week, he has to have a certain amount of check-marks to get an allowance.
Some of ours or "Getting self dressed/ready in the morning", "Put dirty clothes in the hamper", "Put dirty dishes in the sink", "Help someone every day", "Put shoes in shoe rack", "Pick up toys out of family room", "Be nice to baby sister", etc. You get the idea. We sometimes change up the chores. We no longer need to add "Brush teeth- no complaining"- he does it without even being prompted now. It's been very successful. These chores don't have to be difficult- just simple life's lessons that teach them personal responsibility. He loves helping me fill out the weekly chart now and even thinks of new chores to add.
Good luck!



answers from Norfolk on

We do an allowance with the kids (ages 5 and 7). They each get $2/week (When I remember which is normally when they go above and beyond their normal chores).

Their typical chores:
Set the table for dinner
Clear their own plates after meals
Straighten up their room
Feed dog (they don't get to do the water...too many messes with water)
Put own laundry away properly
Empty bathroom/bedroom trash into bigger trash can

The 7 year old generally does additional chores through out the week/weekends:
Fold dish towels/washcloths/bath towels
Put towels away
Helps cook dinner (she is on a cooking kick)
Feed the old crotchity cat that hates everyone including herself

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