Age Appropriate Responsibilities & Pocket Money

Do your kids do chores around the house? Do they earn pocket money?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. At what age is it time for my kids, more specifically Ava, to start taking on some responsibility for chores around the house and being paid for those chores?

I know when I was growing up, we each, both my brother and I, had a set of chores we were required to do, nothing huge, simple things like making our own beds, tidying our own rooms, making tea and sweeping the leaves around the pool area on a Saturday morning. That last one, I hated with a passion, I remember my dad and I having many debates over why I had to do this seemingly laborious task. Funny, as an adult, spending 20 minutes outside mindlessly sweeping up leaves doesn’t seem like such a big deal now, but as a tween & teen, I hated it!

The pocket money is about so much more than the money for me as well. I see it as a way to teach Ava reward for her work/contribution to our house hold. An opportunity to also learn the value of money, having it and not having it and to teach her about saving as well. But she is only 4 & a half, so I also don’t want to be ridiculous about it.

I took to Twitter last week and asked parents to share their insights, what was age appropriate and reasonable and I got some really interesting responses. First off, the image below, from StaceyVee was really helpful as it made me realize my expectations were not unrealistic.


Age Appropriate Chores


Of the list for 4-5 year olds, I had been thinking that Ava should be responsible for the following:

  • Carrying her own school bag into the house after school  & packing it away.
  • Taking her empty school water bottles to the kitchen
  • Throwing her dirty clothes in the laundry basket
  • Tidying up her room
  • Packing away the toys in the playroom
  • Helping to feed the dogs
  • Throwing away her own litter/rubbish
  • Cleaning up spills

Obviously the list will be re-looked as she gets older and Hannah will also get her own list of responsibilities at some point too.

I know some folk that responded to my Twitter question said they didn’t pay pocket money, but this is something I really want to do as I think there are a number of important lessons to be learned.

  • Earning your keep (sounds so old fashioned but I want her/them to understand that money is earned, not just given. You don’t do your chores, you don’t earn the money.
  • The value of saving

But I’m really not sure how much is appropriate for a 4 year old to “earn”. Walter and I have been talking about this and Ava is expecting her first pocket money pay out next week Friday (she’ll be earning a monthly allowance) but we still have not agreed on a figure.

I was thinking in the region of R80 a month. R40 of which will be automatically transferred into her very own savings account & R40 of which she can spend on whatever she wants, like the R80 candy floss at Disney On Ice last week or some of the other random things her heart desires. I feel it’s an important lesson for her to learn, understanding the value of money and how it can or can’t be used, what it can and can’t buy and of course what it’s like to not have it.

Do you pay pocket money? And if yes, how much, if no, I’m also interested to hear why not?

Lastly, can anyone point me in the direction of where I can get a customized chores chart made?

Also be sure to read the below interesting links on age appropriate chores & allowances:

Age Appropriate Chores

Pocket Money Is About More Than Money



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  • Reply Immeasurable love

    I agree completely. I got pocket money and I did lots of things around the house. I do plan to give J pocket money when he is old enough so that he can learn about making a contribution and the value of money.

    July 16, 2014 at 9:35 am
  • Reply Sue Stuart

    I’m definitely planning to give Katy pocket money, but not just yet. She’s the same age as Ava, but I doubt we’ll start giving her pocket money until she’s at least 6. We will probably work along the lines of a 2 phased approach – a certain amount will be hers, regardless, and then a certain amount can be earned by doing various chores. Haven’t quite figured out what chores and what values yet though. However, there are certain things that she needs to do whether or not there is pocket money involved, such as take her plates to the kitchen, clean up mess that she makes, etc, things that she does now already without receiving pocket money.

    July 16, 2014 at 10:02 am
  • Reply Pandora

    We also want to introduce chores and pocket money. I agree that they need to learn to contribute to the household and that money has to be earned. So some chores will be ‘free’ like making the bed and returning used dishes to the kitchen, but other chores can be used to earn a bit of extra money.
    I asked one of the moms with older kids, and they set the amount by using the child’s age, and adding a 0. I think this is a pretty good idea, as on their birthday every year they will get a R10 raise!
    From the set amount a percentage should be put towards a savings account and I also want a certain amount to be put aside for charity, and some for Sunday school. The charity contribution could then be used for something like the Santa Shoebox initiative each year.
    The rest is for spending, or saving towards a more expensive toy. Extra chores could be done for earning a bit of extra money, and anything spontaneous, like tidying away your toys without being asked, can also be rewarded.

    I am sure the amounts people pay will vary, as I recently asked the moms in my daughter’s class how much the tooth fairy pays these days, and the amounts varied from R5 to R150 per tooth!!!

    PS: There are some great customisable reward charts on

    July 16, 2014 at 10:13 am
  • Reply Megan

    I don’t give pocket money, but the kids earn their money by doing basic stuff, like cleaning up their toys and helping me load the washing machine etc etc.

    I found some very cool chore chart ideas on twitter. I will dig them up and send to you.

    July 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm
  • Reply amberdaddyandmummy

    My daughter is nearly 4, she “tidies” her room, attempts making her bed, must take her bowl/plate/glass to the kitchen after eating, and puts her washing in the machine or basket. She also enjoys helping with hoovering and feeds our cats occasionally. I think these basic things should be done regardless of money, along with brushing teeth, pleases and thank you’s etc. My 18month old follows her with basic things already, like taking his clothes to the washing machine, and packing away toys. I will probably only start pocket money at about 6 years old. A few people I know also go with the age plus a 0 amount, ie R60 for 6 years old. I think this is appropriate. Bigger toys etc they can ask for as birthday presents. We already put money in savings accounts for each child, of which we will expect them to use towards studies, text books, petrol money etc when they are finished school and at varsity.

    July 16, 2014 at 1:19 pm
  • Reply Robyn

    My kids do chores. Lots of them haha! But I do not give them any pocket money yet. I want them to understand that we do chores because we HAVE to, you aren’t doing me a favour and you certainly are not getting paid for doing stuff that you MUST do anyway. Just like mom and dad have things to do around the house, the kids must also carry the responsibility of working alongside their parents to make the household work. However, I will introduce “extra” work as a way for them to earn some bucks when they get older. Making your bed, keeping your room tidy, unpacking the dishwasher, feeding Rocky.. those are things you have no choice over, you must DO IT! But as they grow, I’ll give them things like washing the car for some bucks, or picking up the dog poo on days our gardener isn’t there.. stuff above and beyond.. and they’ll get “paid” for that. I haven’t figured out an allowance as such, which I do believe is necessary at some point for the same reasons you describe… and to buy your tuck at school, buy yourself fun stuff, special toiletries you like, etc, etc.. not sure when one starts with that..

    July 16, 2014 at 3:58 pm
  • Reply Linki Abrie

    I also want to pay pocket money, but I don’t think it should be linked to household chores that MUST be done in order to keep the house running smoothly. It is after all basic things that we all have to do, and we don’t get paid for doing them.

    I haven’t figured out the solution yet but I will probably link pocket money to the above and beyond things – rather the normal chores.

    July 16, 2014 at 6:03 pm
  • Reply Louisa

    N does chores on a more ad hoc basis. When I want her to do something I just ask. She does most of the things on and off from the list. I put R100 a month in her savings account that she doesn’t know about. When she hits primary school I’ll gradually hand over control of the account to her. I don’t want her to associate the chores with the money…she does chores because she lives here and everyone has to contribute where they live.

    July 18, 2014 at 4:46 am
  • Reply cat@jugglingact

    Ours have chores they have to do – but we do not “pay” them for that. It is part of what being a member of the household is. It’s your responsibility – you do not get paid to do it. In general we have no problem with them doing their chores as we started early. We are of the opinion that paying for chores grows a sense of entitlement – they expect to be paid for everything in life where everyone in a family has to bring their part. As we always tell them, who pays us to do x, y or z. They do however have the chance to earn extra pocket money for doing other chores than their usual ones. Their usual ones are: make their beds, pack school bags/unpack and take lunch boxes etc to the kitchen, walk the dogs, pick up the dog poo (with a proper safe and clean poop scoop), feed the dogs, pack away their own toys, tidy their own rooms, put their own clothes in the washing hamper, clean up after themselves, set the table, clear the table, switch lights on or off and draw or open curtains mornings and evenings, sort the recycling as you bring your trash, help pack dishwasher/ unpack dishwasher over weekends, carrying in shopping and gardening when we do it as a family. We have paid extra for ie: helping to hang washing when Lucy is away, unpacking groceries from bags, mopping the floor, cleaning the dogs kennels, helping to clean the braai etc.

    I have also helped them to be entrepreneurs and earn extra money – they sold badges for Fathersday and am now selling smiley faces etc badges at school – some with more success than the others but the learned valuable economic and marketing lessons in the process. I pay the capital outlay and they pay me back as they sell.

    They also get pocket money – not much, about R20 a week on a Friday. It is easier for them to work with bits than getting say R80 or R100 per month. They can spend it all or save it all or whatever in between. They differ in this according to their personalities. And funny enough they learn real soon that spending all on sweets is not so great when your siblings save and get to spend on other things like Lego. We do deduct pocket money if they do not eat their school packed food – we do not pack too much but they have to eat it. (Teaching that wasting is bad). They have the option to add food if they want at home to the lunch boxes but can not take out the minimum. At school holidays they get a bonus amount – this holiday it was R150 to spend as they please or save. This almost always get spent.

    July 22, 2014 at 11:52 am
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