How Much Allowance Money to Give 4 Year Old

Updated on April 01, 2008
B.C. asks from San Jose, CA
10 answers

My son just turned 4 years old and my husband and I have been talking to him about him starting to do some simple chores around the house and receiving allowance money each week. I'm not sure how much money to give him each week. I was wondering how much other parents give at this age. I heard on a program on tv that $2.85 is the average for this age, but I've also heard that some people give a dollar for each year (i.e. $4 for a 4 year old). Any advice would be much appreciated!

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D.J.

answers from San Francisco on

My sister has done a great job with her children. She gives them a jar of nickles (about $2 at that age) and then takes nickles out for bad behavior and puts extra in if the child does chores above what they should be doing as a member of the household. That way the kids do not get paid for expected behavior and responsibilities, but is rewarded for everything over and above.

Why pay a child to clear the table and make his bed. He will have to do that without pay when he is on his own.

D.

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C.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi B.,

I encourage you to step back from your question of how much to give, and ask yourself, what do you want to teach your child through this allowance money?

If you pay x$ each week in exchange for chores being performed properly and timely, and withhold partially or fully if chores aren't executed per plan, you are teaching your child he can earn money through labor. You are also, as some prior to me have suggested, teaching that chores are optional, and only done *if* he wants the money.

If you pay x$ each week regardless of chores completed, and assign him chores as a part of family life, he learns that family life includes both duties (chores) and benefits (love and money). Some of the prior replies have outlined ways of apportioning or dividing the allowance among worthy goals in order to teach further lessons about saving and charity.

If you pay him no set amount, and link any cash given to his initiative (above family duties) and negotiating skills (a crucial skill necessary for success in life), you may be teaching him the optimum life lesson. Income isn't limited in life, but rather is elastic, expanding with initiative, positive thinking and good negotiating skills; and contracting with lethargy, negative or selfish thinking and poor negotiating skills.

By negotiating, I don't mean begging or whining; rather, the process of coming into agreement without overpowering or denying anything. Helping your child develop this skill will pay more dividends over his lifetime than any amount of allowance saved and invested in any long-term instrument.

Whichever lesson(s) you intend to teach your child, know that money is an externalized physical representation of what we value internally. How we handle our money, and where we choose to allocate it, reflects our internal value system. Structure your allowance system to teach your values to your son.

Best wishes,
Cathi

1 mom found this helpful
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D.M.

answers from San Francisco on

None. Allowance at 4 years old?? I subscribe to another online parenting source. Yesterday's note might be helpful to you. At that age, I believe they should be learning that they live in a home with others. There are certain things that need to be done in the home that will benefit all of us. And since you can't cook, wash your own clothes, etc. here is what you can do to contribute. I am sorry. What is the world coming to when we have to start giving 4 year old allowance for doing chores. Now I can see when they get older only because by then they should have learned how to contribute and you now want to teach them how to work, earn and manage money. Following is the article. BTW, I am not religious freak. These folks are local and do a lot of parenting class. I get some good advice from their books and their daily note. All the best. D.
Parenting Tip

March 27, 2008

A Heart Approach is Different

Many parents use a simple behavior modification approach to raise their children. “If you get your homework done, then you can go out and play.” “If you clean your room, then you can watch a video.”

Unfortunately children trained this way often develop a “What's in it for me?” mentality. “If I don't get something out of it, why should I obey?”

God is concerned with more than behavior. He's interested in the heart. The heart contains motivations, emotions, convictions, and values. A heart-based approach to parenting looks deeper. Parents still require children to finish their homework and clean up their rooms but the way they give the instructions is different.

Instead of just getting things done, parents look for long-term change in their kids. Sometimes children aren't ready to change on a heart level and parents must work to address the heart. Sometimes that means more relationship to open the heart and other times it requires creating a crisis to show kids that they way they're living just isn't going to work.

A heart-based approach shares values and reasons behind rules. It requires more dialogue, helping children understand how their hearts are resistant and need to develop cooperation. A heart-based approach is firm but also relational. It's a mindset on the part of parents that looks for heart moments that then bring about significant change.

As you consider your kids remember the words that God said to Samuel, “Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.”

This idea was taken from the book, Parenting is Heart Work, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

Learn more

Learn more

10 Ways
You Can...



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Parenting Tip



Please do not hit reply to this email. To reach us via email contact us at [email protected]____.com unsubscribe, click here unsubscribe. To adjust the way you receive mail click here, Click here to manage your subscription.

Parenting Tip

March 27, 2008

A Heart Approach is Different

Many parents use a simple behavior modification approach to raise their children. “If you get your homework done, then you can go out and play.” “If you clean your room, then you can watch a video.”

Unfortunately children trained this way often develop a “What's in it for me?” mentality. “If I don't get something out of it, why should I obey?”

God is concerned with more than behavior. He's interested in the heart. The heart contains motivations, emotions, convictions, and values. A heart-based approach to parenting looks deeper. Parents still require children to finish their homework and clean up their rooms but the way they give the instructions is different.

Instead of just getting things done, parents look for long-term change in their kids. Sometimes children aren't ready to change on a heart level and parents must work to address the heart. Sometimes that means more relationship to open the heart and other times it requires creating a crisis to show kids that they way they're living just isn't going to work.

A heart-based approach shares values and reasons behind rules. It requires more dialogue, helping children understand how their hearts are resistant and need to develop cooperation. A heart-based approach is firm but also relational. It's a mindset on the part of parents that looks for heart moments that then bring about significant change.

As you consider your kids remember the words that God said to Samuel, “Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.”

This idea was taken from the book, Parenting is Heart Work, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

Learn more

Learn more

10 Ways
You Can...



Please do not hit reply to this email. To reach us via email contact us at [email protected]____.com unsubscribe, click here unsubscribe. To adjust the way you receive mail click here, Click here to manage your subscription.

Parenting Tip

March 27, 2008

A Heart Approach is Different

Many parents use a simple behavior modification approach to raise their children. “If you get your homework done, then you can go out and play.” “If you clean your room, then you can watch a video.”

Unfortunately children trained this way often develop a “What's in it for me?” mentality. “If I don't get something out of it, why should I obey?”

God is concerned with more than behavior. He's interested in the heart. The heart contains motivations, emotions, convictions, and values. A heart-based approach to parenting looks deeper. Parents still require children to finish their homework and clean up their rooms but the way they give the instructions is different.

Instead of just getting things done, parents look for long-term change in their kids. Sometimes children aren't ready to change on a heart level and parents must work to address the heart. Sometimes that means more relationship to open the heart and other times it requires creating a crisis to show kids that they way they're living just isn't going to work.

A heart-based approach shares values and reasons behind rules. It requires more dialogue, helping children understand how their hearts are resistant and need to develop cooperation. A heart-based approach is firm but also relational. It's a mindset on the part of parents that looks for heart moments that then bring about significant change.

As you consider your kids remember the words that God said to Samuel, “Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.”

This idea was taken from the book, Parenting is Heart Work, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

Learn more

Learn more

10 Ways
You Can...



Please do not hit reply to this email. To reach us via email contact us at [email protected]____.com unsubscribe, click here unsubscribe. To adjust the way you receive mail click here, Click here to manage your subscription.

Parenting Tip

March 27, 2008

A Heart Approach is Different

Many parents use a simple behavior modification approach to raise their children. “If you get your homework done, then you can go out and play.” “If you clean your room, then you can watch a video.”

Unfortunately children trained this way often develop a “What's in it for me?” mentality. “If I don't get something out of it, why should I obey?”

God is concerned with more than behavior. He's interested in the heart. The heart contains motivations, emotions, convictions, and values. A heart-based approach to parenting looks deeper. Parents still require children to finish their homework and clean up their rooms but the way they give the instructions is different.

Instead of just getting things done, parents look for long-term change in their kids. Sometimes children aren't ready to change on a heart level and parents must work to address the heart. Sometimes that means more relationship to open the heart and other times it requires creating a crisis to show kids that they way they're living just isn't going to work.

A heart-based approach shares values and reasons behind rules. It requires more dialogue, helping children understand how their hearts are resistant and need to develop cooperation. A heart-based approach is firm but also relational. It's a mindset on the part of parents that looks for heart moments that then bring about significant change.

As you consider your kids remember the words that God said to Samuel, “Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.”

This idea was taken from the book, Parenting is Heart Work, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

Learn more

Learn more

10 Ways
You Can...



Please do not hit reply to this email. To reach us via email contact us at [email protected]____.com unsubscribe, click here unsubscribe. To adjust the way you receive mail click here, Click here to manage your subscription.

Parenting Tip

March 27, 2008

A Heart Approach is Different

Many parents use a simple behavior modification approach to raise their children. “If you get your homework done, then you can go out and play.” “If you clean your room, then you can watch a video.”

Unfortunately children trained this way often develop a “What's in it for me?” mentality. “If I don't get something out of it, why should I obey?”

God is concerned with more than behavior. He's interested in the heart. The heart contains motivations, emotions, convictions, and values. A heart-based approach to parenting looks deeper. Parents still require children to finish their homework and clean up their rooms but the way they give the instructions is different.

Instead of just getting things done, parents look for long-term change in their kids. Sometimes children aren't ready to change on a heart level and parents must work to address the heart. Sometimes that means more relationship to open the heart and other times it requires creating a crisis to show kids that they way they're living just isn't going to work.

A heart-based approach shares values and reasons behind rules. It requires more dialogue, helping children understand how their hearts are resistant and need to develop cooperation. A heart-based approach is firm but also relational. It's a mindset on the part of parents that looks for heart moments that then bring about significant change.

As you consider your kids remember the words that God said to Samuel, “Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.”

This idea was taken from the book, Parenting is Heart Work, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

Learn more

Learn more

10 Ways
You Can...



Please do not hit reply to this email. To reach us via email contact us at [email protected]____.com unsubscribe, click here unsubscribe. To adjust the way you receive mail click here, Click here to manage your subscription.

Parenting Tip

March 27, 2008

A Heart Approach is Different

Many parents use a simple behavior modification approach to raise their children. “If you get your homework done, then you can go out and play.” “If you clean your room, then you can watch a video.”

Unfortunately children trained this way often develop a “What's in it for me?” mentality. “If I don't get something out of it, why should I obey?”

God is concerned with more than behavior. He's interested in the heart. The heart contains motivations, emotions, convictions, and values. A heart-based approach to parenting looks deeper. Parents still require children to finish their homework and clean up their rooms but the way they give the instructions is different.

Instead of just getting things done, parents look for long-term change in their kids. Sometimes children aren't ready to change on a heart level and parents must work to address the heart. Sometimes that means more relationship to open the heart and other times it requires creating a crisis to show kids that they way they're living just isn't going to work.

A heart-based approach shares values and reasons behind rules. It requires more dialogue, helping children understand how their hearts are resistant and need to develop cooperation. A heart-based approach is firm but also relational. It's a mindset on the part of parents that looks for heart moments that then bring about significant change.

As you consider your kids remember the words that God said to Samuel, “Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.”

This idea was taken from the book, Parenting is Heart Work, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

Learn more

Learn more

10 Ways
You Can...

1 mom found this helpful
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N.M.

answers from San Francisco on

We just started giving allowances to our two children in the last year. After a lot of researching ideas about how and how much, we settled on an amount that's half their age. So every week our 6-year-old gets $3 and our 4-year-old gets $2.

We chose not to tie the allowance to chores because we want them to do chores as being part of the family and not because they want money. (I remember being young and deciding I would rather not do chores and not get the money...) Instead we talk often about their allowance as being part of their education--learning how to take care of money a little at a time so when they are big they'll be smart about it. We also talk often about things the family has to spend money on like the house, food, water... and how we have to make choices with our money because you can only spend it once. So you could say our allowance system is very "active" instead of "passive".

Our kids divide their allowance into 3 parts: 10% to the church, 50% to their savings bank, and 40% to their wallet. (I've already done the figuring, they just know what amount goes where.) I make them wait to spend their savings bank until they've saved at least $10. So weekly in their spending wallets, my son gets $1.20, and my daughter gets 80 cents. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it has turned out to be just enough for us. They can buy something every week from the dollar aisle or the quarter machines or a pack of gum, or they can wait til the following week to get something a little bigger. Oh, and they also get a bit of extra money from recycling our cans and bottles, from the tooth fairy, finding it on the sidewalk, special big chores (like helping wash the car) etc.

This amount has worked out great for us! It's just enough to satisfiy their desire to buy something small, but not so much that they have no incentive to save for something bigger. And it's turned out that I have little shop-a-holics on my hands, so I'm glad they have a limit and are learning to make choices. Their spending money burns a hole in their pocket and they can never seem to save it until the next week, so I'm glad it's not much.

And it's been good for me too. Every time we're in the store and they ask for things, I can say, "Do you have enough for that? Are you going to save up for that?" They must have a million things on their lists to save up for, but they don't pester me a bit any more to buy it all for them.
Good luck!

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A.R.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi B. -- I've done a dollar for each year for my two older kids (almost 8 year old son and 4 year old daughter) and that seems to be a good amount. We do make sure that they have very specific chores that they can do, mostly on their own (set the table, keep their rooms clean, clean up toys & books in the family room, help weed in the garden, etc.). We also don't let them spend all their allowance -- we have 3 "buckets" we encourage them to put their money into: 1) save, 2) spend, 3) give (to charity). That has helped to spark some good conversations about charity, about saving for things like college or spending money to buy treats on the next family vacation. Hope this helps!

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C.G.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi B.,

My philosophy with chores and allowance is that chores should be done because the child is part of the family and should help out. Allowance should not be tied to the chores. The child gets an allowance in order to learn about money responsibilities (such as saving for a particular item (or just having fun), college, charity, etc.). Extra chores can be done in order to earn extra money, but the base allowance amount is not tied to the chores.

My daughter also just turned four earlier this month and I also want to start giving her an allowance, but I haven't figured out how much to give either. $4 a week seems like a lot to me. My daughter is excited just to get "money"--it doesn't matter to her whether it is a quarter, a penny, or whatever. At this point she doesn't have a concept of coin values but she seems to like coins more than bills.

Just my 2 cents,
C.

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J.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi B..

I started to give pocket money when mine were 6 years old, they had/have more understanding of money than age 4, every child is different as your son may understand. We would go to the shop and they could buy some sweets or save it up for a toy. They only had a few jobs like tidy up their toys, help lay the table and as they have got older they now have a few more jobs. we stared at a £1.00 and now they earn money by doing jobs and can earn up to £3.00 a week if they do all the jobs. I know some mums who just give their children money when asked. Doing the odd job or 2 helps them in lots of ways. Learning about money, learning skills around the home for when they have a home themselves and it can be made in to fun with you and dad. Start off small and work up, do what fits your purse and just seeing his face light up when up give him the money will be priceless.

Hopes this helps, mine are 12, 8, 4 and 17 months.
J.

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L.L.

answers from San Francisco on

We do the dollar per year, and divide it into 4 buckets: discretionary, short term savings, college, and charity. We take about 10% for helping others, and about 30% for each of the other categories, which pretty much never works out to sane numbers, so we make a decision as to how to do it.

The discretionary money she can spend any way she wants. The short term savings (her "train bank" money) has to be used for something that takes at least 5 weeks savings. The college savings just accumulate for many more years. We decide yearly where the charity money ("helping other people", although some of it sometimes goes to the humane society) goes.

We started her on an allowance when she was 3, because she kept begging for a snack from the vending machine at gymnastics. She quickly decided the snacks in the car were just fine most of the time, but occasionally wanted one as a treat, which was fine. The really amazing thing was how quickly she decided to save her discretionary money to add it to her "train bank" money to save for something in particular (a Barbie doll with wings that could fly on a string-- she named it "Angel the flyer").

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B.J.

answers from San Francisco on

We started with quarters for various projects when my son turned 4 also, but quickly found out that he had no real concept of the value of money yet. So we switched over to a star chart instead, and it's been working like a charm!

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R.D.

answers from San Francisco on

We do not do allowance.

My four year old (almost five) sometimes gets a few dollars from Grandparents, and sometimes gift cards, which she knows she can use to buy stuff. My daughter recently got six dollars and we went to the dollar store where she purchased two puzzles, a toy horse, and foam beads. She has two dollars because I told her I'd pay for the tax (and got to explain what tax was).

She also knows that she can't always get whatever she wants at the store, because it requires money and that we don't always have the money. This makes her ask why, and then I can explain we just spent X amount on the cats, or right now we have to pay for the energy bill etc etc.

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