Teaching your kids to be responsible with money is the best way to start them on a path toward lifelong financial stability. That’s why chores can be more than just an easy way of sharing the workload around the house.
It’s important to teach kids that working hard and being diligent about saving money will help them get the things they want and need.
To help kids learn about money, chores should be age-appropriate, introduced gradually and duly rewarded. That said, knowing what to ask of a child is a personal decision and will vary based on the family.
Chores vs. Allowance for Kids
It’s open for debate whether or not having an allowance is better than doing individual chores around the house to earn money. On one hand, a set allowance teaches kids to budget their money and live within a fixed “income.” On the other, if you reward chores individually, your children may be more motivated to work. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which system you’re more comfortable with and what your child responds the best to.
Chores for Kids Ages 2-5
Most parenting experts agree that kids can start doing basic chores around the house when they’re as young as two years old. At this point, your child will start with little to no concept of money, but doing chores can help them learn about helping take care of your home.
Some easy chores young children can do include:
- Picking up and putting away their toys and books
- Picking up and throwing away trash
- Folding washcloths and other small linens
- Helping set the table or clear it after eating
- Feeding pets and watering houseplants
At a young age, of course, your kids will require supervision while doing their chores. The goal at this point is less to insist on perfection and more to simply get them into the habit of helping around the house. Be patient and encouraging, but show them the right way to do things when they make a mistake.
Chores for Kids Ages 5-10
Starting kindergarten will expose your kids to new people and new ideas — and may increase their exposure to social pressure around having the latest toys or gadgets.
By this point, your kids should also have some idea of how money works, and you can use this to your advantage and start giving them an allowance, or small monetary rewards, when extra chores are completed. This will teach them the importance of working hard and saving up for the things they want.
Children grow a lot between the ages of five and ten, so use your judgment about which chores they can handle. Some common tasks parents will have their kids doing at this point include:
- Sorting and folding laundry
- Cleaning their room
- Sweeping and mopping the floors
- Dusting the wood furniture
- Loading and unloading the dishwasher
- Clearing and setting the dinner table
- Helping with the cooking and dinner preparation (washing vegetables, etc.)
- Preparing their own snacks and packing their own lunch
- Raking leaves and doing other light yard work
As far as how much to pay your kids for these chores, you’re at liberty to determine what each job is worth. The most important thing is to be consistent.
Chores for Kids Ages 10 and Up
By age 10, your kids will be capable of taking on more responsibility around the house. If you’re ready to start giving them extra chores, make sure they’re rewarded accordingly. Older kids should be able to:
- Mow the lawn
- Do their own laundry
- Clean the kitchen and bathroom
- Wash and clean the car
- Cook a simple meal on their own
- Babysit their younger siblings
- Shovel snow or rake leaves
- Walk the dog
Bigger jobs should come with bigger compensation, depending on how long they take.
Chore Charts to Incentivize Kids to Do Chores
Chore charts not only help you keep track of what chores need to be done and who has done them, but also give kids a physical reminder and a sense of achievement. There are lots of ways to create a chore chart but here are the important parts to include:
- What the task entails
- How long it takes or how much money they will get paid for doing it
- Who is assigned the task
- When the task needs to be done
- How to know if it’s completed
When your kids start doing chores around the house for money, they can learn valuable lessons about the importance of saving. To begin saving, the next logical step is for them to open an account of their own. We allow kids as young as 12 to open a checking or savings account in their own name.
Find more money management tips and resources on our WalletWorks page.