How to Create a Chore and Reward System for Kids

April 3, 2017

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This month, my goal is to get my daughter Zoey focused on helping out more around the house. I remember when I was a kid, we had a chore chart list and if I completed all of my tasks, I would get an allowance. It helped me correlate hard work with reward. I want to do the same thing for Zoey.

Now, she's only 5 years old so I can’t exactly get her to shovel the walkway or cut the grass quite yet. There are a lot of other age-appropriate activities for her though. 

Nicole and I want Zoey to do certain chores around the house because she’s just a member of the family and that’s “what you do”.  And there are other chores where she’ll receive money. 

Some of those “family chores” include:
  • Brushing her teeth
  • Getting dressed with minimal help
  • Making her bed with our help
  • Setting the table before dinner and clearing the dishes afterward

Those are all things Zoey will do as a part of the family.

We talked about some good “money chores” for a 5-year old. Our goal was to choose money chores that were simple enough for Zoey to do by herself or with minimal supervision, chores that were actually helpful for us and also chores that were not overwhelming for her each week.

We determined that three activities per week would be enough for Zoey. 

Here are the three money chores we chose:
  1. Zoey will help us with the laundry by matching socks and putting away her clothes in her drawers after they are folded.
  2. We have a small vacuum that Zoey will run in our kitchen once a week. Our kids get more food on the floor than get in their mouths so this quick clean up will help us out by having a nicer looking kitchen.
  3. Once the dishwasher is finished with its cycle, we’ll have Zoey put away the silverware once per week.
Zoey's Chore Chart Smile
Zoey is pleased with her success!

When Zoey completes one of these tasks, we’re going to give her $1. If she completes all 3 money tasks, she’ll get $3 per week. $12 per month. $150 per year. That’s some good money for a 5-year old!

Spend, Save and Give Jars

We’ve developed three jars for Zoey a year or so ago. One jar is labeled “Save”, one is labeled “Spend” and one is labeled “Give”. We haven’t been very disciplined about a system for these jars until this month. But our April MKM Challenge will force me to focus on making her chores, and the use of these jars, habit this month.

Going forward, we’re going to have Zoey put $1 in each jar per week.

Save Save and Give Jars

The “Save” jar is focused on bigger ticket items she wants to buy. For example, she wants to buy the new Moana movie on DVD so she can watch it at home a thousand times. 

The “Spend” jar will serve as her quick purchase jar. If she wants to buy something at the dollar store or the local convenient store like candy, stickers, puzzles or tiny toys, she can use her money from the “Spend” jar.

And, the “Give” jar will hold her savings for moments when she wants to give a gift to family, charity or someone in need. 

I’m excited to get this challenge going this month. I think it’ll help Zoey feel like a contributing family member. It’ll get her in a helpful habit at a young age and her money chores will help her buy some things that she’s excited about too.

Age Appropriate Chores

If you’re interested in joining me for the MKM challenge this month, here are some sample chores by age that can get you started:

3-5 Years Old

Family Chores

  • Putting away their dirty clothes in the hamper
  • Making the bed (with help)
  • Setting the dinner table (with help)

Money Chores

  • Wiping counters
  • Matching socks for laundry
  • Putting away silverware
Zoey Vacuums the Kitchen
Zoey vacuuming up her breakfast

6-10 Years Old

Family Chores

  • Getting dressed without help
  • Making bed every day
  • Empty garbage from around the house

Money Chores

  • Cleaning the bathroom
  • Washing the car
  • Vacuuming

11-13 Years Old

Family Chores

  • Take garbage to the street weekly
  • Putting away their own laundry
  • Feeding pets and filling water bowls

Money Chores

  • Helping with yard work
  • Rake leaves
  • Shovel snow

14-18 Years Old

Family Chores

  • Learning to do their own laundry
  • Cleaning their own bathroom
  • Cleaning their own room

Money Chores

  • Cutting the lawn
  • Weeding
  • Babysit younger sibling

The list above will hopefully get your mind cranking on where your kids can help out around the house.

Here are FIVE STEPS for success when it comes to getting your kids into the habit of chores:

  1. Determine what chores your kids should be paid for and what chores they should do as a member of the family. 
  2. Create those three jars we spoke about:  Save, Spend and Give. We used some clear mason jars instead of a piggy bank so Zoey can physically see her money grow. It’ll hopefully encourage her to earn more and help out more!
  3. When the chore is done, inspect their work to make sure they did it right. This isn’t so you can be a slave driver. It is more so they know you’re engaged and you care about the hard work they did for the family.
  4. Make a big deal about it when they are done. This is the time for hugs, kisses and big compliments. I feel like Zoey has enjoyed doing her chores in the past more for my accolades than the dollar she gets.
  5. Help your child “Spend, Save and Give” responsibly. Take them to the store, encourage them to pay at the counter with their own money so they see how the process works. If they save up a bunch of money for something big, meet them in the middle if you want. For example, if your kid saves up 50% of the money for a new video game or an Amazon Fire Tablet, match the other 50% if you can. Lastly, help them understand the importance of giving. If they buy a gift with their money, be sure they are the ones that physically give it so they can experience the joy that comes from giving.

Challenge Mic Dropped

I hope all of you parents out there join me in this challenge. The best way to strengthen our family trees is by helping our kids understand responsibility and how hard work equals reward.

So, the challenge has been laid down everyone! Who is in? Please leave me a comment below and let me know how you’re getting your kids to be money smart hard workers.

On the first Monday of next month, I’ll share how Zoey is doing with her new chore system and I’ll lay down a new MKM Challenge!

Carpe Diem Quote

“Children thrive when parents set before them increasingly difficult, but always meetable challenges.” -Anonymous

Who's in for the chore and reward system challenge this month?

Please let me know in the comments below.

Andy Hill

Andy Hill, AFC® is the award-winning family finance coach behind Marriage Kids and Money - a platform dedicated to helping families build wealth and happiness. With millions of podcast downloads and video views, Andy’s message of family financial empowerment has resonated with listeners, readers and viewers across the world. When he's not "talking money", Andy enjoys being a Soccer Dad, singing karaoke with his wife and relaxing on his hammock.


  • I’m going to go ahead and switch around the challenges for March and April because I did pretty good at encouraging chores but just awful at last month’s challenge in March.
    I usually spend around $700-750 but spent closer to $900-950. Yikes, and also I blame Costco. I’m stocked up for April and am going to try to keep it under $650.

    • I love it! Dominate that grocery bill my friend. Yes, Costco can be deceiving. Are they really bulk “discounts”? We still love our Costco too but we’re finding more ways to save at Aldi lately. Happy shopping this month!

  • We too have discovered the savings at our local Aldi store!
    I really think that switching stores would make a difference, but it has. Looking at receipts we’re spending a little over $200 less because of doing our the bulk of our shopping there.

    Besides the money, there are plenty of items like the fudge stripped cookies that just taste better than competitors.

    Thanks for the podcast! Oh, and we happily accept your chore and reward system challenge this month :)

    • Excellent!! Please let me know how it goes with your kiddos! Zoey woke up this morning and made her bed by herself. I was BLOWN away. I’m loving this.

      And yes, Aldi is a magical grocery savings fantasy land that I never knew existed. I’ll have to check out those cookies!


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