Chores and Pocketmoney – advice please

My friend Sue (hi Sue!) asked me about chores and pocket money recently as her daughter (and Daniel’s BFF) is also in Grade 1 this year and we agree that it is time to really start teaching our kids about the value of money*.

This is something I have been wondering about as well, so I’m crowd sourcing some answers pretty please with cream on top.

At the moment our kids don’t formally do chores (beyond putting their dishes away) and we don’t want to create an environment where they only do chores because they won’t get money otherwise (I know, who am I kidding, they are kids, right?). We want it to be about getting your pocket money because you did your chores and not use it as a stick. Yes, I can see you old hands laughing in the corner over there…

I grew up a very lucky and spoilt little girl, everything was done for me and I hardly had to lift a finger when I was growing up. As lovely as this was it didn’t necessarily equip me for beginning to cook or mop floors or pick up dog poo or take out the trash. So I’m going to put my own Working Mother guilt aside and do our kids a huge favour.

Here are the questions I have:

At what age did your kids start with chores?

What type of chores do your kids do? (Age appropriately)

Do you make use of charts and if so, how do you make them work? (I’m not sure that will work here, purely because there would be too many adults involved in monitoring, thus more room for error)

Do you link chores to pocket money or do they just get an allowance. If so, how much at what age?


Thank you!

*Daniel very smartly told us one morning this week after he had left his takkies at school the previous day that he doesn’t really care, Mommy will buy more.  Horror does not begin to describe the looks on our faces.

27 thoughts on “Chores and Pocketmoney – advice please”

  1. Megan’s only daily chore is to make her bed and keep her room neat. We also expect her to help us when we ask for assistance without too much grumbling (that is tough sometimes). She helps me a lot with getting Ami ready for school in the morning though. We have been giving her pocket money weekly since last year. The amount of pocket money she gets is based on the amount she can count to and backwards from. It is very important to us that she develop her mathematical skills for future and this opportunity presented itself quite out of the blue when she asked for spending money the one day.

  2. The idea in our house is that certain chores are for the good of the family (making beds, picking up after yourself, clearing dishes)
    Other chores (setting table, cleaning bath, washing dishes) if done consistently – 5 times in a row- get rewarded with pocket money.They get tuck money regardless of whatever chores done once a week and then can decide for themselves if they want to earn more. So far the consistenly doing chores has not seem to inspire them- but I suspect this will change once they want to buy more stuff for themselves.

  3. Mine have always done chores-laying table,packing dishwasher,tidying their own rooms,making their beds,getting their washing to the washing machine,packing their laundry away,taking leaves out of the pool,cleaning fish tank,feeding the dogs.
    OK so my older 2 are much older and very capable of doing almost any household chore but Sam (7) is expected to do what I ask,so I make hers age appropriate.
    We do not give ‘fixed’ pocket money but the older 2 both have bank accounts that we deposit money into monthly for them to use to buy clothing, usually about R200.The older one gets paid when she kid sits for us too.
    We pay for their cellphone accounts(17 and 13 yr old) but it is a fixed contract of R18(kid you not) a month for 50 sms and R50 airtime!
    Sam gets money for tuck on a Friday….usually R7.
    My FIL also gives them pocket money when we visit,on average 2-3 times a month.He gives them diffirent amounts(age appropriate)
    I do not allocate set chores but do rotate them,so they all get turns for varies things.
    We do not have a maid so everyone is expected to help.
    Oh yes lastly…..leaving things at school or loosing them…..need to nip that one in the bud…… not replace loss item immediately…make them go without for a while so they understand or make them pay for the replacement item-either by working it off(chores) or no pocket money for a set time.

    1. Thank you Debbie, I really want the kids to do more. It’s almost ‘easier’ to make them do stuff around the house when there isn’t anyone else. I still don’t know how you do it all, amazing.

  4. Someone recommended the following website for chore charts for families. At the time I thought it looked great and bookmarked it but have not got to looking at it properly again. Might be useful:

    Also had one of those jaw-dropping moments when Kiran broke a toy (by throwing it – NOT an accident) and said I now had to buy him another one. Needless to say I quickly disabused him of that laughable notion!

  5. Mine have always had chores and pocket money. But the 2 haven’t been related. Household chores need to be done anyway, because everybody has jobs to do for the benefit of the whole household. They need to do the chores because it’s the right thing to do, not because they’re getting rewarded for it. Layla gets pocket money in her bank account which she has only recently started spending on occasion for something special. They have their usual daily chores but also will be asked to do other things to help out where necessary

  6. Daniela (9) packs and unpacks the dishwasher. She feeds the dogs, brings the hamster out of their sleep in room to my room and has asked to start doing the washing. Dad supervises this one but she takes pride in it. She also puts the pool pump on everyday. Luke and Mika (almost 6) are also very keen to help. The one gives the cat water and the other feeds it. They are all required to bring their lunch boxes and water bottles to the kitchen after school. Daniela receives R15 pocket money every Friday and the twins don’t have a tuck shop at their new school so they don’t benefit from their chore. But they used to receive R2 every Friday prior to that.
    Weekends they are all required to make their beds and Luke loves this – so generally he grabs all the beds if he is in a good mood. Then they play and make a mess and are required to clean that before bed time or mom might fall and get hurt 😉 or if its not too bad Sunday’s are clean up days!

  7. Matthew is 5, will be 6 this year, and I started a star chart this week. Items on the list is things I generally have to beg him to do! Eg: feed his fish, brush his teeth, LISTENING!!, waking up without giving me any attitude! I bought gold stars for good behaviour and red stars for unsatisfactory behaviour. At this stage he is frightened to death to get a red star! Wierd I know….His rewards aren’t purely in monitary value, it rages from having pizza evenings with 2 friends etc.But its been working for me. I think at this stage his chores will be kept to a minimum, I’ll add the more serious items when they are more age appropriate.

  8. Hmm, that last statement of yours scares the crap out of me “mommy will buy more” … my four year old clearly thinks that money is unlimited, and says that often. Time for some lessons in finance it seems. good luck, would be great to know what you end up implementing!

  9. Mine have been doing them for about 3/4 years – so Kiara would have been 4/5. Each day a different child is on duty and on their day they have to unpack/pack the dishwasher, set and clear the table, feed the dog and take the bin out if there day is a Wednesday. Those are the formal chores – they do need to clean their rooms etc.

    We don’t really have a chart because they now know what it is they must do. We don’t link it to pocket money either BUT if they aren’t listening repeatedly then we have taken money away but it’s generally after I have taken away other stuff with no result and doesn’t happen often!

  10. Jess has chores, she keeps her own room tidy and washing to the washing area, will help out with most that I ask for.
    She has progressed now to making meals for us if I am busy with something, she makes a great mixed salad!
    Pocket money is given, not related to chores, R200 from me when I get my salary and R100 from the maintenance her father pays. From this she has to pay for her own BIS R60 per month and any movies she wants to go and see with friends. I pay for all the basic toiletries, but she has to budget for perfume, body spray and nail polishes. She also saves money every month. Hope that helps. xx

  11. We sort of start early with packing away toys and making beds. They all help in the garden on Saturdays. A has to clear the table and help to wash up over weekends.

    But, it is not related to pocket money. In grade 1 they can go to the tuck shop on Fridays so she got R 20 per Friday- what she did not use she could save and about 3 x the year we went shopping with her savings. I think she did learn a lot about savings. This year she can go to the tuckshop whenever she wants but still gets her R 20 on a Friday. She saves less, but still saves some so,I think it is a good principle.

    However, we have threatened to keep back,pocket money tomorrow after an incident last weekend but she did what she needed to rectify so we have used it as a handle for behaviour ( which in this case was a chore not done)

  12. Pls summarize feedback for us. Bullet points and maybe a spread sheet. I need to know.

    PS my kids have also said the “mom will just buy another one thing”

  13. There ARE chores happening in my house and no kid is ever too young.

    Pocket money is not linked to chores because we are a team living in a small space and we ALL need to pull our weight in order for this arrangement to work. There is a chart of sorts (with pictures) because they are forgetful sometimes. OK, it’s not THEY, it’s Child1.
    Pocket money is linked to extra things done around the house. Like washing the car or something similar – NOT something on the chore list.

    Ps…read this post that my Marcia (my rockstar friend) wrote about her 3 years olds doing chores:

  14. I am defnitely going to study all the comments as I have the same questions about my Gr 2 daughter! She doesn’t get pocket money, but she does have a reward chart. For every good dead like feeding the dogs, cleaning the TV room, packing away books, she gets a sticker. And at the end of each row, she gets R10. But I’m also now wondering about actual pocket money. Do they just get it or do they have to earn it? Interesting debate!

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