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Chores for kids: How much should I pay my kid for completing chores?

Estimate how much paying for chores might cost you each week.

This guide is sponsored by Greenlight. Its prepaid card for kids gives busy parents a digital way to assign chores, pay allowances and teach children the importance of earning, saving and giving.

How much you should pay your child for completing a chore may vary depending on where you live and how old your child is. Use this calculator to determine how much you should pay your child based on the chore, their age and your state.

Kid's chore calculator

Calculate how much money to pay your kids for completing chores.

room State

construction Chore

face Age range

calendar_today Times per week

monetization_on Pay for chore

Weekly total

Expert advice

Brought to you by GreenLight Logo

Rounded to quarters

Rounded to quarters

Our chore calculator is based on suggested costs per chore and age range submitted by six experts. Their suggestions were averaged out and used as a baseline to calculate state averages, relying on the state cost-of-living index compiled by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. Read our full methodology.

5 steps to use the kids’ chore calculator

Estimate how much your kid stands to earn per chore using these steps:

  1. Select your state.
  2. Pick the chore activity.
  3. Choose your child’s age range.
  4. Determine how many times your child will complete this task per week.
  5. Review the chore payment and weekly estimate.

Methodology

Our chore calculator is based on suggested costs per chore and age range submitted by four external financial and parenting experts and two Finder banking experts:

  • Michael Benninger, banking writer at Finder, specializing in kids’ banking products, cash management accounts and fintechs
  • Mark Evans, consultant at Summer Camp Hub, a parenting blog designed to help parents find the best summer camp for their children
  • Brianna Leonhard, founder of Third Row Adventures, a travel blog focused on travel for young families
  • Mo Mulla, parenting expert and founder of Parental Questions, a parenting blog offering tips and advice for everyday parenting
  • Alexa Serrano, banking editor at Finder, specializing in personal finance, crypto banking and kids’ debit cards
  • Jeff Zhou, personal finance expert and CEO of FigLoans, a lender that offers socially responsible products to the underbanked

We asked each expert to submit suggested costs for 15 chores across four student age groups:

  • Preschoolers — ages 4 to 5
  • Elementary school kids — ages 6 to 9
  • Middle-schoolers — ages 10 to 13
  • High-schoolers — ages 14 to 17

We averaged suggested reported costs to result in a baseline average for each chore and each age group within it. If an expert chose not to suggest a cost for a particular chore or age group, we averaged the suggestions from experts who did.

We then used these baseline averages to calculate state averages, relying on the state cost-of-living index compiled by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. These adjusted state averages make up the data in our calculator.

Chores for kids by age

When establishing a chore system, give your child specific instructions about what you expect them to do. Consider your child’s age, maturity level, physical capabilities and whether you live in the city or suburbs.

We’ve compiled a few age-appropriate chore ideas to get the ball rolling. But keep in mind, you know your child’s ability the best.

Cleaning the bathroom

Age groupChore activities
4- to 5-year-olds
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Dust with a cloth
  • Wipe down surfaces
6- to 9-year-oldsEverything 4- to 5-year-olds can do, plus:
  • Sweep and mop the floor
10- to 13-year-oldsEverything 6- to 9-year-olds can do, plus:
  • Clean mirrors
  • Disinfect surfaces
14- to 17-year-oldsEverything 10- to 13-year-olds can do, plus:
  • Clean toilets
  • Clean bathtubs and/or showers
  • Dust light fixtures

Doing the laundry

Age groupChore activities
4- to 5-year-olds
  • Sort laundry into lights and darks
  • Match socks together
  • Help put clothes away
6- to 9-year-oldsEverything 4- to 5-year-olds can do, plus:
  • Help load clothes in the washing machine or dryer
10- to 13-year-oldsEverything 6- to 9-year-olds can do, plus:
  • Put fresh bed sheets on the bed
  • Run the washer and dryer
14- to 17-year-oldsEverything 10- to 13-year-olds can do, plus:
  • Iron clothes
  • Treat stains
  • Add appropriate amount of detergent to the washer before running it

Making lunch or cleaning up after meals

Age groupChore activities
4- to 5-year-olds
  • Clear the table
  • Wash plastic dishes with supervision
  • Put away clean utensils
  • Help pack their lunch by putting food items like an apple, juice box and yogurt in their lunch box
6- to 9-year-oldsEverything 4- to 5-year-olds can do, plus:
  • Wipe the table after meals
  • Rinse dishes in the sink
  • Load and empty the dishwasher
10- to 13-year-oldsEverything 6- to 9-year-olds can do, plus:
  • Make lunch for school
  • Pour beverages for meals
  • Disinfect countertops
14- to 17-year-oldsEverything 10- to 13-year-olds can do, plus:
  • Organize pantry
  • Disinfect the sink

Mowing the lawn or Gardening

Age groupChore activities
4- to 5-year-oldsIf you live in the city:
  • Water plants
  • Wipe leaves that have collected dust

If you live in the suburbs, consider adding the following task:

  • Pull weeds
6- to 9-year-oldsEverything 4- to 5-year-olds can do, plus:

If you live in the city:

  • Potting or repotting plants

If you live in the suburbs, add:

  • Rake leaves
10- to 13-year-oldsEverything 6- to 9-year-olds can do, plus:
  • Fertilize plants
14- to 17-year-oldsEverything 10- to 13-year-olds can do, plus:
  • Mow the lawn

Washing the car

Age groupChore activities
4- to 5-year-olds
  • Remove trash from inside the car
  • Put away toys
6- to 9-year-oldsEverything 4- to 5-year-olds can do, plus:
  • Help wash the exterior
  • Dust the dashboard with a cloth
10- to 13-year-oldsEverything 6- to 9-year-olds can do, plus:
  • Vacuum the interior
  • Wash the exterior
14- to 17-year-oldsEverything 10- to 13-year-olds can do, plus:
  • Wash undercarriage
  • Detail the tires

4 ways to track your kid’s chores

  • Chore checklist. Create a list of items that kids can check off as they complete it.
  • Chore spreadsheet. Design a chore spreadsheet with the days of the week as columns and the chore in each row.
  • Chore app. Use an app like RoosterMoney or OurHome to set up, assign and monitor one-time or recurring tasks.
  • Debit card for kids. Sign up for an all-in-one chore tracker and payment platform like Greenlight that lets you set up a chores list and pay allowances once completed.

Our top pick: Greenlight

  • Parental controls
  • Real-time transfers
  • Parent-paid interest

Our top pick: Greenlight

Greenlight is the prepaid debit card for kids that parents manage from their phones with flexible parental controls. For each successful referral, you and your friend get a cash reward.

  • Spending limits for specific stores
  • Spend, save & invest in one app
  • Up to 2% savings rewards
  • Up to 1% cashback on debit card purchases

Should I pay my kids for chores?

It depends on your family’s situation. Paying your kids for chores has merits and disadvantages and is ultimately your decision and what works best for your kids.

Pros

  • Teaches the value of money. Giving your kids a source of income is a great way to educate your child about the importance of earning money and saving.
  • Gives kids a sense of ownership. When children choose to complete a task, it gives them a sense of control and accomplishment.
  • Helps the household. Parents can get some relief from chasing after their kids to get the housework done.
  • Teaches consequences. Paying for chores leaves little room for negotiation if the chores aren’t completed. No play, no pay.

Cons

  • Costs money. Paying per chore adds to the family’s budget. If you want to generate an income, consider setting up a weekly or monthly allowance instead.
  • External motivation. Instead of internalizing the importance of the chore as part of a life lesson or natural daily responsibility, chore payments give your child an external motivator. So if no one pays them to take out the trash, they may not do it for themselves.
  • Makes chores optional. Since a chore allowance is a choice, if your kid decides that their time is worth more than the price, they may skip it altogether — leaving you with a dirty sink of dishes and a pile of trash.
  • Can undermine responsibility. Chores are part of being a family and a reality of living together. Rewarding children for things they should do may not teach them the value of pulling their own weight and the importance of working together.

Bottom line

There’s no right or wrong answer to whether you should pay your kids for doing chores. If you decide to reward your children for completing household tasks, consider a kids debit card with chore tracking capabilities and automatic allowance payments to make the entire process easier.

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