Many of us will remember the excitement of receiving pocket money each week. Ideally, kids should earn their cash by working through a pocket money chores list, although it can be challenging to find the right balance.
The idea of giving children pocket money was popularised by parenting expert Sidonie Gruenberg in 1912. Since then, it has spread worldwide, with many parents giving their children a weekly allowance. Often, this is in exchange for chores to do around the house, good schoolwork, or very good behaviour. If you have children, you may be thinking about when to start giving them pocket money and how much to give — or if you should give them pocket money at all.
In this article, we’ll cover common chores for kids, age appropriate chores, and more.
Should children earn pocket money?
The truth is that there is no definitive answer to this question. Every family is different. The decision lies with you as a parent, guardian, or carer. All families have different opinions on the matter and practise parenting styles that may or may not include giving pocket money to their children.
Pocket money can be a good way to introduce your children to the value of money and help them appreciate how much things cost. It will teach them that money does not grow on trees and needs to be earned.
If you’re still deciding whether or not pocket money is a good idea for your children, here are some advantages and disadvantages of it:
Advantages of children earning pocket money
Pocket money allows children to earn, spend and save their own money. If you decide to give it to your children, there are lots of different tools and techniques you can use to help guide you, including our Parents’ Guide to Pocket Money.
Here are some advantages of introducing pocket money to your children:
· They’ll better understand the value of money and how hard work can grant rewards.
· It will make them more price-conscious when spending money.
· It will reduce the number of times they ask you for cash.
· It will give them some independence to spend their money responsibly. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
· It will create a strong work ethic and other important life skills.
· They’ll understand how to earn more money when they do extra chores or do well at school.
· You’ll be developing a future savvy saver! Saving a portion of their pocket money will teach your kids how saving a little can add up to a lot.
· It will give them a sense of achievement and reward for doing something positive.
· It will prepare them for the future when they’ll need to work, save, and pay bills. For some children, this comes as a shock in later life.
· It will give them insight into financial planning, good money management, and budgeting.
· They’ll have a sense of purpose and achievement when they hit their savings goal or save enough money to buy something they’ve wanted for a long time.
· A pocket money chores list helps you out around the house!
Disadvantages of children earning pocket money
Although many parents like the idea of pocket money, there are people who choose not to partake in the practice. Some parents believe that it encourages children to spend money unnecessarily. It’s ultimately a personal decision. It might come down to what you choose to give your child pocket money for — items they need or simply things they want? If it’s the former, will you be able to control that?
Our debit card for kids lets you manage their spending and control where they can spend their money to keep them on track.
Here are some potential disadvantages of introducing pocket money to your children:
· It may make them believe that they should be given money for every good thing they do.
· It could encourage them to spend impulsively.
· For some families, pocket money is simply an added expense that they can’t afford.
· It can lead to arguments between siblings if one earns more or less than the other.
The key is to be open and honest. Talk openly about the pocket money, why they are getting it, and how they can spend it responsibly.
List of age-appropriate chores
If you go ahead with pocket money, there are many age-appropriate chores for kids to help them earn it. How a four-year-old earns their pocket money will be different from a 14-year-old, so choosing a chores list that matches their age and ability is important. Make sure you give them a realistic and fair number of chores for their age and enough time to complete them.
We’ve done the hard work for you and created a list of age-appropriate chores. You can also find a downloadable and printable pocket money chart online to make it easy to keep track of who is doing what. This is especially handy if you have more than one child at home.
Your family’s chores routine is unique to your lifestyle, so feel free to adapt these lists and create one that works for you.
How old is your child? Click to go to the relevant section.
List of chores for kids ages 3-5
Younger children will probably need your help to complete chores, but that’s good. It teaches them valuable skills early on. Toddlers love to get involved, so turn this into a fun way to help with housework. Providing them visual aids such as stickers to keep track of their chores helps with this age group too. As they get older, give them more independence to do some chores by themselves.
· Tidy away toys before bedtime
· Water plants
· Dusting (with socks on their hands or feet)
· Put books away on a bookshelf
· Pick up rubbish and put it into a bin
· Put their dirty clothes in the washing basket
List of chores for kids ages 6-8
As children get older, they’ll be more able to do things by themselves, but they may need more convincing. Young school children are beginning to find their feet in the world, so try to keep things fun and show them that there’s satisfaction in completing tasks.
· Feed pets
· Hoover or mop
· Fold their clothes
· Make their bed
· Set the table
· Dust or wipe height-appropriate surfaces
List of chores for kids ages 9-12
As children get older, you should consider each child when choosing chores. Nine to twelve year-olds can multitask and follow instructions very well. They should be able to handle most household chores with the right guidance. They may now have hobbies or interests that take up a lot of their attention, but keeping a chores schedule should still be an important part of their routine.
· Mow the lawn
· Keep their room tidy and be responsible for their space, including dusting, hoovering, and mopping
· Load and empty the dishwasher
· Put groceries away
· Help to prepare meals
List of chores for kids ages 13-18
Asking a teenager to do chores can be a chore itself sometimes. But that’s normal. As they reach late adolescence, children can safely do most chores around the house and can be trusted to complete them alone.
· Walk the dog
· Do the grocery shopping
· Wash the car
· Help with younger siblings
· Clean up after meals
· Help with DIY such as painting or decorating
Parents and caregivers can help children to become self-sufficient by introducing them to chores at a young age. Tools like the HyperJar child’s debit card will help them keep track of their pocket money and give them the skills they’ll need later in life, such as money management, responsible spending, and saving. If you need further tips on making sure that your child manages their money responsibly, check out our Parent’s Guide to Pocket Money.