Chores for a Six Year Old.

Updated on November 21, 2010
A.C. asks from Union Point, GA
15 answers

My husband and I would like to give our six year old a few chores to teach him resposibility. We would also like to pay him for his chores to teach him the value of money. He is a child who we have done everything for and purchased everything for. He is spoiled. Totally my fault, I know. Recent bratty behavior has led us to decide to have him be responsible for a few things. We have come up with feeding the pets (which he actually enjoys doing), keeping his playroom clean, and emptying the bathroom trash cans. We would like to pay him $3 per week (half his age) and then take him to the store once a month to spend it. I would also like to teach him to split his earning into 3 groups, save, spend and charity (tithe to church). How much is too much money to give him and what percent should he save, spend and donate? I was thinking a dollar for each catagory. Also how many chores are too many for a kid this age. I don't want to punish him and make him work like slave, just learn to help out. Should I add any additional chores? Any advice would be appreciated.

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So What Happened?

We are going to give our son the following chores:

Clean up playroom
Feed Pets
Make bed
Take out trash in bathrooms

We will give him $5 a week and have him give one dollar to charity, two dollars to savings and two dollars to spend or save as he wishes. We will take him to the dollar store or discount store once a month and he can choose an item to buy. If he sees an item that he does not have the money for I am hoping that this will teach him to save his money until next month, but then again he will probably just choose anther item that cost less. I want encourage him to save for the more expensive item but in the end let him make the decision. I think he will learn more this way. I'm still thinking about letting him earn more money for any extra jobs he does. Like 50 cents for helping fold the laundry (I usually do this while he is at school but sometimes he is home and can help). I'm sure I can find other things he can do too, but I am a stay at home mom and I don most things while he is at school. I think this will encourage him to look for things to help with so that he can earn more money and as he gets a little older we will just incorporate them into his usual chores. I don't want to overwhelm him since he has never had chores so I think this is a good way to start. Thanks for all of the advice but I have to say that I don't agree with the moms who don't give their kids an allowance for chores. How are kids supposed to learn how to handle money? I think it gives kids a good work ethic and teaches them to work for their money. At this age there is not a lot extra that he could do for money. He can't wash cars or mow the grass, I'll save that for later.

I've also tried to talk to the grandparents about thier excessive buying for him. Both of them think they are showing him love by buying him things. They get their feelings hurt when I tell them that they can't buy him things so they just keep the stuff at their house for him and never tell me about it! I've just let this one go!

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answers from Savannah on

Other chores I have my now 9 year old do when he was six was dust on the weekends (which he enjoyed), fold his clothes (which takes training but they really can do it!) and clear off the table after dinner. That is not slave driving, it is teaching him responsibility. I tell my son that we are a family and each has responsiblities. It will help him to be more independent later in life. One dollar for each category sounds great. Too much math at this age could be confusing and frustrating for him.

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answers from Savannah on

I have a 2 year old little boy. I forsee this problem as well. I think that it is a good idea to start chores. I don't think that the ones that you have chosen are unreasonable, either. That is the problem with a lot of the kids these days...they don't know the value of a dollar, or the meaning of responsibility. My child, too, is spoiled. But, I firmly believe that there is a difference between spoiled and bratty. I wish that the grandparents wouldn't buy a bunch of toys, and instead put that money into a college fund. That may help, too. He should choose the charity that he wants to give to, Humane Society, library, church, food banks...that way can learn a lesson in the process. Hope this helps.

J. D.

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answers from Savannah on

You are on the right track!!! You aren't having him do too much and $3 is a perfect amount. For most adults they said you should put 5% of your paycheck into savings so that would be 15 cents a week and I wouldn't give more than 10 or 15% for charity.


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answers from Atlanta on

I think $3 per week might not be enough. If you're having him split it three ways for saving, spending, charity (which I think is a GREAT idea), then he's not going to net that much monthly to spend, which will be frustrating for everyone.
We relied on some web sites for advice and went with $1.00 per year of age. So our 8 year old gets $8.00, and then we have him put half in savings.
As far as chores we do about the same as you-- feed the dog, clean his room, take out the trash, and a weekly pickup of the family room, removing all the toys that have crept in there during the week.
We also help him set goals of identifying his "big" purchases he wants to make outside of any weekly spending, like a video game, and show him how his weekly savings is adding up toward that goal. Trying to get him to see long term.
Hope this helps!

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answers from Savannah on

$3 is appropriate for a 6 year old and splitting it 3 ways is appropriate.

Make a goals chart for his 'spend' money. $4 a month will make him appreciate his toys and take care of the ones you buy him more. My son is currently saving his 'spend' money to pay for his brother's Christmas ornament that he broke.

Savings should be for a long-long term item. My 6 year old already knows that his savings account is for a car when he is old enough to drive. He even tells me how he is going to get a car with good gas mileage or a 4-wheeling vehicle that doesn't get good gas mileage!!

You may want to have him identify what charities to give his $1 a week to. Maybe it will be 25 cents to church, 25 cents to a local shelter, and 50 cents to another charity (let him choose the amount to go to different charities). There are also legitimate charities that allow you to 'sponsor' kids in another country for $25 a month. Maybe you could take his money and add your own to make a difference in another kids life.

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answers from Atlanta on

My children have helped with laundry, cleaning their rooms, making their beds and rinsing their plates and loading the dishwasher since they were 6 and 8. They are now 11 and 13 and they do their chores without having to be asked. Their reward for making their beds in the morning and picking up their rooms is dessert. They are respectful of this rule and openly admit when they can't have dessert when they don't clean their rooms. These are things I expect them to do, so I don't give them an allowance for them, but I do pay them when they wash the windows, dust or sweep, etc..
I believe starting out with $3 is great! I also like the idea of teaching children to save money. I allow mine to spend 50% however they want and the other 50% goes into their savings account at the bank. Our church recommends the 10%-10%-80% rule, 10% to God, 10% to savings, 80% for living expenses and fun. I like your idea of 33%-33%-33%. Delayed gratification is something our younger generation does not understand. Working around the house and having to save up money to get something he wants is a great way to help teach this.
Since he's only 6, I would give him 3 separate piggy banks to put his money into so he can watch it add up. I use glass peppercorn jars with the labels removed as piggy banks for my kids. They have a wide opening on top and a cork lid. I like them for three reasons, they can see through it and see how much money they have, the opening on top is wide enough for them to get their money back out, and I've done my part to reduce, reuse, and recycle. : )
Congratulations! You are on your way to raising a responsible child! Good luck!

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answers from Macon on


We had the same issue with our son, and when we were in counceling she told us to give him an allowance that is equal to his age and every year on his birthday he would get a raise. We have done that and since then we only have issues occasionally, because he doesn't like losing his money for any amount of time. He is now 16 and he has to pay his cell phone bill and pay if he wants to go to the movies or anything like that, so if he doesn't get his money, he doesn't go. Now, we also have a five year old that gets five dollars a week. That is to pay for whatever toy he really wants and if he asks for stuff in the store, I just ask him if he has saved his money, we go home and check and go from there. I don't have him take his money yet, and divide it up to charity, but we volunteer our time and do charity projects together. If you think about, if you try to divide up $3.00 a week, he's not going to have enough to really buy something at the end of the month, except candy.

I hope this helped. It has worked very nicely for us.


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answers from Atlanta on

go to this link
We have one of these and it's the perfect helper for children to do thier chores. It has cards with stickers you put on them showing different chores for them to do at different times. it's better explained on the site. My son is six and we've had ours for over a year and he loves it. It comes with plenty of extra cards and stickers for when things change. It also comes with little plastic coins they get for chores done. Then save and add up for special privliges or whatever you choose them to be for. Just remember to figure those things out first.
I don't think I gave it much justice just check it out.
Hope it all works out!!

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answers from Atlanta on

I would have to agree with Alicia on this. Everything I've read and learned says not to reward chores or expected help around the house with allowance/money. Don't pay him for the regular chores, or he'll come to always expect payment for things he should just be doing. Instead of rewarding expected behavior, remove those extra things he likes to do until he does them(ie tv or computer games). They need to learn responsibility.
I think the 3 dollars is fine, I have also heard the $1 per year of age, but that can get rather pricy when they get older, and they don't have to have that much money when they are this young. You are just trying to teach him the value of money for now. Growing up we always had to donate 10 percent to charity, and split the rest 50/50 for spending and savings. There are really many ways to do it, and it depends on what your life style is like. If he's used to getting everything, maybe go this route, so he'll end up with a little more spending money, and then you don't buy near as much for him. Just make sure you stop spending so much on him and let him do it! I'm trying to figure this whole thing out right now for my son who's 5 1/2. If you find out something that really works well let me know!



answers from Spartanburg on

Our 4 and 6 year old have the following chores and activities on the week day based on their schedules:
Feed gerbil
Clean playroom
Clean bedroom
Piano (6 year old)
Clear plates

In the past we have had various ways of keeping track of this. It does not always work. We now have a chart on the frig. for each one. Each chore is weighted - most are one point, the harder ones are 2-3, and clearing dinner plates is a half point (if they do breakfast and supper = whole point).
They have set amounts of points needed to earn allowance. Our 6 year old earns $2.50, 4 year old $1.50 - the 6 year old has piano, way more homework, and generally does more of the cleaning. We used to include trash collection but because we live in the country and have to go to the dump so we are inconsistent with it. They can also earn stickers for good behavior and doing extra tasks without being asked - stickers can also be removed for the opposite whereas points earned for work done cannot be taken away. The stickers are redeemable for points and a second level of points earns them extra computer time each week. They also chose a monthly goal such as going to Chuck E. Cheese or bowling etc. The monthly amount is proportionally higher.

As for division of money. Our son actually has a ATM bank. It is preset, when he deposits money it is automatically divided into Give, Save, Spend. We chose to set the amounts at 20%, 20%, and 60%. Its called My Learning ATM - you can order it online at and probably some other places as well or you could make your own.

Until we began the point system there were certain things we asked them to do that were just expected without any reward. We will keep some of that as well, but we also are giving extra points as incentive for them to be more self motivated.
Hope this tremendously long post helps.



answers from Eugene on

We settled on separating "allowance" from chores for our six-year-old girl as follows:

Allowance is $3 per week - $1 for spending money, $1 for savings, $1 for charity. She gets this regardless of behavior or chores. This is to teach her about money - she can expect a steady income and save up or spend her spending money according to her own whims. When she doesn't have it, she doesn't get to spend anything. Not tied to her behavior.

Chores - We have a picture poster showing all the things that she "can do" and how many stars they are worth. Examples: Make the bed, get self dressed, be ready for school, brush teeth, set table, clear table, do homework, etc. Going to bed on time and cleaning up her toys get the most stars, making the bed and feeding the cat get the least. She can also earn an extra star on some chores by doing them without being asked.

We have also made a "rewards" chart showing pictures of things she can cash her stars in for, such as ice cream dessert, two-friend playdate, staying up extra 30 mins on Friday night, 1 hour of TV, 1 hour of computer, etc. These are also weighted, so that TV only takes 10 stars, but she has to accumulate 50 stars to get a trip to the toy store.

So far this system has worked out GREAT for us. Much more positive than taking privileges away when she misbehaves. With this system, when she wants a privilege, I ask, have you earned it? And if she has, it's hers to enjoy no questions asked!



answers from Spartanburg on

You should check out Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Junior. It is great and we have been using this with our 9 and 7 year old for about 3 years.



answers from Atlanta on

My son is five and we dont necessarily give him money for his chores explaining that mommy and daddy do things around the house for pride in having a nice home and nice things. We used to give him an allowance here and there but he rarely spends it. I think he forgets about it. We make him clean his plate into the trash and then put it into the sink. We make him bring his clothes to the laundry room. We make him clean his room. We make him water the dog. He has given the task of feeding the dog to his sister (3) since she can do that and he can carry the water without spilling it. I am thinking of adding more chores since he is getting older and quite honestly taller (he can reach more things).



answers from Columbus on

We took Financial Peace (Dave Ramsey) through our church and learned alot about Finances and he offers a program for about 13.00 for kids Financial Peace Jr. We have just started it with our nearly 7 year old.
He does not call it allowance, he refers to it as commission.
Your child does jobs for commission and you can say xx things are done because he is a member of the family say... feed the dog or keep his grades up.
Other jobs he gets a comission for say, help set the table, put dirty clothes away, help load the dishwasher.
My daughter LOVED it, she was so gung ho last week when we started then My husband BLEW it with her first comissions!!! He did not make her save, or give (It was agreed upon that she would save 1.00 per week for long term savings, and give a portion of her money to church they also recommend giving to a charity but, Ramsey really stresses the giving) My husband gave her EXTRA money on the spot to buy what she wanted. Which totally goes against the principle. So guess what this week she doesn't even ask about her jobs, she sees that HE is not serious and I am furious.

Anyway..... I suggest the program and get you and HUbby on the same page. It offers a chart for jobs and money earned, a CD to listen to a book for parents to read, calculator etc.
Dave Ramsey is ANTI-DEbt if your family suffers from too much month at the end of a paycheck I definitley recommend his program. We have been debt free (save one car payment) for two Christmas's. We plan to have the car payed of nearly 2 years early.

Good luck be consistent



answers from Savannah on

Please hear me out. I think that any EXTRA tasks a child does are things he could be paid for...things that he does above and beyond his regular chores(ie, helping to weed the garden, stacking bricks, helping daddy on the dairy farm, helping to clean out the garage.) However, the regular daily chores are not something that a child should be paid for. Regular chores like cleaning your room and emptying the trash are just a part of daily family living and they should know that their help is expected and required to make the family front run smoothly.
Our 3 year old has been taught to help mommy and daddy with daily chores and she loves it! She knows that everyday, she is to clean up her toys, go and feed her chickens, and when we're doing the laundry she brings the basket and takes the clothes out of the dryer and puts them in the basket. Outside with her daddy she hands him his tools as he's working, and helps to gather little sticks for the wood pile.
What you choose to pay your child for the EXTRA tasks is up to you, and yes, dividing the money in groups is wise.

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