Starting an Allowance. 5 and 9 Years Old

Updated on July 31, 2015
J.M. asks from Melrose, MA
11 answers

We haven't done allowance yet. I know I should for the 9 year old and it will be easier to just do both but is almos 6 too young? I have read it shouldn't be tied to chores. When they have a bad attitude, how do I resist urge to tell them, "if you don't behave you won't get your allowance!" And if they are fighting a lot, etc, do you still give it? All ideas welcomed, thanks

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answers from San Francisco on

I never gave my kids allowance. I tried it once briefly and found it didn't improve them. I like the idea of their having usual, smaller chores, and being paid for larger chores.

I did pay for outings and special events, but they had to earn the other money they wanted or needed, and birthday and Christmas money went a long way. My kids were motivated to have jobs as teens.

All my kids are financially responsible as young adults. The no allowance approach worked very well for me.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Santa Fe on

My husband read a book that said to give an allowance to your kids each week that is not tied to chores. This will help them to learn how to manage money. I strongly disagree. I think this may work with a certain kind of kid, but our son just spends any money he gets immediately. He wants things all the time...want want want and he does not care about saving for long term or giving to charity or saving up for something that costs more. If he were to be given money each week he would just feel entitled. I have 5 small chores written down in his room that he is to do each day...these are just things that are a part of being in a family and helping out. Making his own bed, keeping his floor neat, dirty clothes in the hamper, clearing off the table after dinner and vacuuming the living room rug. To earn money he can do more substantial chores...these are on a different list. This list changes depending on what needs to be done. On this list are things such as weeding the front flower bed, raking the leaves, taking out garbage and recycling, sweeping and mopping the kitchen, washing windows, washing the car. Our oldest now has his first bank account and the rule is he is to put half his money earned into his account. Personally, I would never give an allowance that is not earned in some way. As an adult we don't get money given to us weekly for no reason, so I don't believe this is helpful to teaching a kid anything except to expect being given money.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

We were a "no allowance" family, like some of the other posters. I simply couldn't get on board with paying my kids to help the family with chores - I don't get paid to clean the bathroom, either :) Our kids got birthday money, Christmas money, etc. that they saved up, got jobs when they were old enough, and before getting real jobs, did babysitting, and lawn care to earn money. Once in a great while, the kids could earn money from me by doing a really big job that I really was not wanting/didn't have time to do. My adult children are very responsible with money, so I don't feel like giving an allowance is a necessary training tool for being financially responsible.

If you really wanted to institute some kind of weekly payout, perhaps it shouldn't be tied to chores or behavior. Rather, the ability to spend the money should be tied to behavior. So if you are giving your 9 yr old $5 a week, let's say and she can spend it however on Saturdays at the local store, if her behavior hasn't warranted the trip to the store, she doesn't get to go - she still gets the $5, though. Do you see what I am saying.

No matter what you decide, consistency is really the most important part :)

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

My husband and I never got an allowance and we never started an allowance for our son.
Any money he gets from gifts or relatives he's been very good with feeding his piggy bank.
He rarely spends his money and thinks long and hard before he does.
A lack of an allowance never hindered him in learning about how to handle money.

No one gets paid just for existing - it can create a horrible entitlement mentality.
Also - kids with an allowance get trained up to be 'good little consumers' - getting use to spending money WAY before they have any idea how difficult is it to earn.
How many people who grew up with allowances have trouble keeping the credit cards paid off? Too many!
They got use to living beyond their means - they got use to a free hand out allowance.

If the kids are fighting a lot - separate them - send them to different rooms.

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answers from Columbia on

We give 50 cents per year of age. There's nothing wrong with SOME money being tied to work. We work for our income. But be sure that you separate "family work," which everyone does in order to contribute to the overall wellbeing and running of the home, and nobody gets paid for, and "extra work" they can do to earn extra spending money. In our home, memorizing bible verses is also a way to earn some extra money. Our boys go shovel driveways in the winter, and mow lawns in the summer, to earn extra money. We also live next to a golf course, so the boys go hunt for lost golf balls and sell them.

You can institute a demerit system along with their allowance, but beware: You have to keep track of it. I also don't believe in using allowance as a discipline tool when it doesn't fit the crime. If you're not getting along with your sibling or have a bad attitude, you address that specific issue (Fighting over a game? Put the game away and go play separately. Having a bad attitude? Go to bed an hour early because you're clearly tired and grumpy and need some time without an audience.) As tempting as it might be to take all their allowance, I don't think that, at 6 years old, it will fix their attitude, just make it worse. If there are anger issues, we have to work with our kids over time to be able to identify and manage their emotions. Taking their allowance does not teach them to do that.

Finally, be sure that you start smart by helping them understand that money should be budgeted. The easiest way to start is to talk about a percentage to be given (or tihe, if you are a Christian family), a percentage to be saved long term (we do 20% in their bank accounts), and then the rest for spending or saving short-term as they see fit. If they do decide to save some of their spending money for something special, sometimes kids have a hard time disciplining themselves enough to not dip into it. So we parents keep encouraging them and help them keep track of how much they have saved for their goal, and how much the have left to save to meet it. It helps instill that patience and discipline needed in order to stay the course...and that's a lesson that will last their entire lives.

Best of luck.

ETA: I just wanted to say, it's important that your kids' chores aren't just "their" stuff. I see parents all the time who only make their kids clean their own room and pick up after themselves, but mom and dad are constantly doing things to benefit the entire family. Nope. Kids need to pitch in on chores that help everyone too. You never want to hear, "But that's not even mine. Why should I have to do that?" You go grocery shopping for everyone, not just yourself, right? And pay for the electric bill for the entire house, not just the lights you turn on and the TV you watch. Kids need to know that it's not all about "I, me, mine," but that the entire family matters.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Don't worry about "should" or "shouldn't". Some people think they have everything figured out and anything else is wrong. Assuming that not giving allowance because "that's how I was raised" is the only way to go is fine, but there are a million other options that can also result in un-entitled kids.

Bottom line -This is your choice. I tried to do .50 per year age of child (and yes we did it at 6 years old) but in the end it came and went depending on whether I had cash on me and he forgot about it.

My son is almost 9 now. What has worked much better for us is a chore chart. Many things he is expected to do just as a member of the household, pick up his dishes, help me carry in groceries, whatever else I ask him to do. But I made a specific list of 5 chores that I allow him to do for a dollar each, each week.

Examples would be making his bed (this has to be done every day though, to get his dollar at the end of the week). Taking out trash (a once-a-week thing). Dusting the living room. Emptying the dishwasher (which he hates and has never voluntarily done- used to be one of his "chores" and something I'd fight with him over but now he just doesn't get his dollar for that.) And keeping his room clean (which I have him do a couple times per week, and as long as it's clean on Sunday when it's pay time, he gets his dollar.) I put a mixture of "easier" and "harder" things, including the dishwasher which he hates doing but I'm hoping one day he'll take the initiative and decide it's worth his dollar.

He has been great at marking off his chart (this way it's not all on me, and we're both held accountable for it) and I've done a better job of making sure I have the cash each week. It has also eliminated battles because for some reason he doesn't seem to mind the "free" chores or the "paid" chores now that we've been doing this. And if there is attitude, I am not above "docking" his pay for it. He does about whatever I ask with a good attitude. I also think it draws a more clear line between Work = Money. Sure you can get by without working (much), but life is sure more fun if you work a little harder and get that extra money in the pocket. At least that's the idea. I got it from Dave Ramsey and so far it seems to be working well. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

In regards to the question, " do I resist urge...?"

I assume the point of the allowance is to teach financial responsibility, learning how to save, when to spend, etc. Receiving an allowance has nothing to do with the kids fighting with each other.

Behavior has consequences, but consequences should make sense and be related to the problem. You're not paying them to behave (that would be bribery) so it isn't logical to take away their 'paycheck' as a consequence.

It would make sense to have one child use some of their money to replace a sibling's toy that they broke.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Definitely an allowance for the 9 yr old.
I didn't start my youngest w/an allowance until 6 & it wasn't much $1 for doing
one thing, $2 for doing several things.
Some things are required: putting your toys away, picking up your clothes,
putting your dishes in the sink etc.
Then I add extra age appropriate chores. When our eldest was 10 we added
cleaning bathroom (just wiping down counters w/cleaning agent, mirrors.
Didn't add cleaning toilet/bathtub until 12 or 13). Later we added gardening
car washing or mowing for extra money. Folding clothes is a requirement
but we give extra allowance for sweeping, vacuuming etc.
When son is older we will add taking out the trash, washing of the cars,
mowing, trimming hedges w/manual clippers etc.
Don't tie allowance to behaving. They are separate. They do work to get
their allowance. Behavior isn't tied. It's a given. You can use something
else as a motivator such as: if you don't listen, we won't be able to have
our playdate, if you don't listen I will not take you and your girlfriends to the
mall, if you don't behave, I won't be able to take you to the water park
Saturday, if you misbehave, we won't be able to go to the fair this weekend.

You are giving ample warning!
You are tying listening/behaving with rewards for good behavior (outings,
playdates, going fun places etc.).

Allowance is paid for work done.
Also, I use tiimeout for the 6 yr old. Still effective. For the 9 year old....if he/she is losing their cool....I just say "let's retire to our room for awhile until you can calm down & come back to be with the family". It's just a cool down
period in a quiet place away from the hub-bub they are involvved in.

When they are fighting (which all siblings do), separate them & redirect their attention. For example, 9 year old, "I need you to get me the cake mix so we can bake a cake. For the 6 yr old, "I need you to go get your pink tutu so we can play dress up" or "if you get your blocks, I'll help you build the coolest castle". etc. Redirect, separate.

I fought like cats & dogs w/my siblings. Didn't get along like we should w/love & respect until the age of 25 so hang in there.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

we do allowance for our 8 and 10 year olds. We have been for years! and yes they have to earn it. If they forget to do a chore, then we take out 25 cents each time they forget. They need to know that money isn't just handed to them. They have to earn it and work for it. They each get $5 per week. They can also get bonuses for going beyond what they are required.

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answers from Miami on

I have been doing allowance for my 9 year old for 2 years now and this summer my 4 year old joined in for allowance.

It is tied to their chores. Each child has a chore chart (4 year old has a picture chart) - they must complete these chores. Week begins on Monday and ends on Saturday. Sunday is our day of rest and our payday. They get paid 50 cents on a 7 day week ($3.50) but only have chores assigned for 6 days. If they miss a day, than they lose 50 cents.

They are both very motivated. We do not use this as behavior incentive or reward at all. I will modify it when school starts.

Each child can chose what to do with their money. So far both are saving it so that they have spending money on vacation.



answers from Washington DC on

we were a hybrid family. my kids got a small allowance from a very young age (i think 5 or so). it wasn't tied to chores, but they could a) earn more by doing chores above and beyond what was expected, and what was 'expected' was decided from a job jar and a weekly chart and b) they could lose it for asshattery. not a regular disciplinary tool, but just as they could earn more for exemplary behavior, they could lose it for egregious violations.
but every family's different.

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