What should I know as a parent?

An age-by-age guide to giving your child a chore-based allowance

One way to allow your child to experience working for their own pocket money is through completing chores at home. By earning their own pocket money, your child will be better able to grasp the value of money and understand that it doesn’t come easy.

Does your child know where money comes from? When they see you withdraw money from an ATM or swipe your credit card at a cashier, they may think that money comes from an infinite source. This misconception can be cleared by letting them experience working for their own pocket money through completing chores at home.

In fact, this is a common method already used by many parents. According to a survey by T. Rowe Price, 54% of parents surveyed give earned allowance to their children. By earning their own pocket money, your child will be better able to grasp the value of money and understand that it doesn’t come easy.

Alternatively, some parents may choose to give their child a basic allowance but allow them to earn additional amounts by completing chores. This hybrid approach gives children the security of a regular allowance, but also encourages them to work hard if they want more.

But what kinds of chores can your child handle at their age? To help you get started, here is an age-by age guide to household chores.

3-6 years

Your child will be getting ready to start their school life soon, which makes this period perfect to get them started on a chore-based allowance. Besides earning their own pocket money which they can use to buy things they like, they can also start lessons in savings even before they begin formal education.

Some simple chores that your child can handle (with parental supervision) at this age include:

  • Watering the houseplants
  • Making their bed
  • Keeping their toys after playing with them

7-12 years

At school, your child may now experience for themselves the difficulties of managing their pocket money — there’s always so much to buy, whether in the canteen or the school bookshop. Because of this, it’s now more important than ever to teach them that money is finite and should be managed wisely.

At this age, children may be able to handle chores more independently, but will still need some parental supervision to make sure that they complete the tasks properly. To find a happy medium, why not let your child become your little assistant for household chores?

  • Washing and drying the dishes
  • Tidying their rooms and/or cleaning the house
  • Helping out with cooking (e.g. washing vegetables, measuring ingredients, etc.)
  • Taking care of the family pet (walking the dog, feeding them regularly, etc.)
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Early adolescence

As your child enters their early adolescence, they will start to spend more time at school and with friends and, as a result, need more pocket money. This means that it may be time to either increase the amount of money they can earn from chores.

Perhaps you could also consider allowing them to earn ‘bonuses’ when they take the initiative to do chores unprompted. This encourages them to take a more active role in taking care of the house.

  • Sweeping and mopping the floor, taking out the trash, keeping the house clean, etc.
  • Tutoring younger siblings or cousins
  • Running grocery errands
  • Doing the laundry

What are some ways to keep track of chores?

If your child is on a chore-based allowance, it’s crucial to keep track of what chores they’ve completed. But this can be difficult, especially for working parents. Thankfully, there are apps you can use to keep track of the chores your child has been tasked with and completed.

1) OurHome

This free family organiser app allows families to coordinate everyone’s assigned chores and tasks. Its useful features include a shared calendar and grocery list for all added family members to access, so everyone can see what tasks they each need to do.

Most importantly, the children can earn in-app points for completing their chores, and parents can give their children actual money accordingly.

2) RoosterMoney Allowance Manager

This child-friendly digital finance app has a chore management feature, which allows children to earn “stars” for completing chores assigned by their parents. The app also allows parents to reward their children with actual digital money on the app instead.

DIY calendars

As useful as apps can be, some parents may be reluctant to let their young children have their own mobile device. If that is the case, why not exercise your DIY skills and draw up a chore calendar for your child? This could even become a monthly arts and craft activity that your child can look forward to.

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