Chores for a 9 Year Old

I used to have my 9 year old son clean the kitty litter, vacuum and take the trash out but we got rid of the cat and he still cleans his room. Does anybody have ideas on any more chores he could do? He wants me to give him money but I can't figure out things he can do to earn it. How much should I give him? Should I give him an allowance every week or is he too young? If anybody has an answer I would really appreciate it. Thanks.


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I have a 10 year old. She can Swiffer the floor, unload the dishwasher (I put away things high up), and use cleaning wipes in the bathroom. Getting her to do it all the time is another thing. When she does it she gets $3 a week. (I know, very low.) However, I do not pay my 15 year over $10, and she is half his age, and he does a lot more, etc. When she does not do it - she does not get paid. I told her we don't pay her for breathing!

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Boy, you've opened a Pandora's box now! There are those who give $$$ without any earning by the child and those who don't give any money for anything. We did ours sort of in the middle. I didn't pay for regular household stuff: cleaning your room, taking out the garbage, clearing the table, stuff that had to be done for the family to function. We DID pay for extra stuff: washing the car, weeding that Mom usually did, helping Dad with a special project, etc. The pay was based on the time it took, the attitude of the worker, and the throughness of the job. No job had a set price. We tended to pay more when we knew the child was saving for something. My husband was dead set on allowance. He felt they should earn their money so they understood where it came from and had some pride in earning it.

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Let me tell you...when I was nine years old, I did everything!

I scrubbed the floor, vacuumed, emptied and loaded the dishwasher, cleaned the bathroom, watered the pot plants and looked after my baby brother, including changing diapers. I got nothing for it, but today I think I should have.

An alternative for getting cash is to put up a chart, where the child gets a sticker or something for every (well) done task. Then when they have say 50 stickers or something, they get to choose something fun to do (from a list you both agreed on), like going to the movies, renting a movie, a trip to a restaurant; within some limits of course. I think some children are too young to handle money wisely, but this way they still get the idea of work -> reward.

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Do you have neighbors, family, & trusted friends that are close by? Weeding, raking leaves, moving mulch, sweeping sidewalks, help carrying things up and down steps. ie holiday decorations. Dog walking, pet sitting, etc. Ask around. My 9 yr earns quite a bit by asking for the work. Most of the close neighbors and friends support the idea of them earning their own money and offer jobs we didn't think of. Good luck!

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I make a calendar at the first of the month with a daily chore for my daughter. Some days have bigger chores than others, i.e., water the house plants, dust the den, sweep the kitchen. She has to take out the garbage on garbage days. If her chores are done she get $10 on Fri. If not done, no $10.

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I know abilities differ... But my kids have been helping around the house since they could walk. At 9, mine could set the table for meals, clear the table after meals, help me cook, clean a bathroom (with a few reminders) fold or hang laundry (they now can wash and dry it as well), sweep, and mop, and wash dishes. I have four, and they do most of the chores without pay - Dad and I have our jobs that pay the bills and provide what the kids need and want. Their jobs are school and chores.

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If you find the appropriate amount to pay them for chores done besides the upkeep of there room I think it gives them pride in there selves for the hard work they have accomplished. No differant than an adult working. If money is handed to you without the work you glady spend it, if you worked hard for it when its given to you then you tend to save it. I would encourage them to open a savings account and each week the amount you gave them apart of it go into there savings the remainder they spend wisely with your advice if needed. Pretty soon they will see there money add up and will suggest things to do inorder to make more.


Rake leaves

Clean out your car & wash it

wash your homes exterior & outside windows

if you have a fire place (stack up wood neatly)

mulch your flower beds or weed them out

repaint outside patio furniture or fencing

Cleaning out closets of un needed items and having a yard sale or donating to the library of old books or give to the homeless shelter


laundry folding

cleaning inside windows

changing beddings

haking rugs of dust

When I was young (13yrs) I did most all of those above> I had 2 sisters I was the middle one. We would argue who got the pics of chores. I took in ironing by lettng family know by word of mouth. I got 10 cent per item (this was way back when when clothes still were ironed) they would bring them on a certain day and pick up on a certain day. We use to turn in bottle for money too. They no longer do that but you could have him start 3 large marked trash cans with Plastics/ Glass/Aluminum and have him be the one to keep it seperated into these bins as they are used. When they are full take him to the recycle center to exchange them for his own money. You will see that it adds up which makes you not have to give money straight from your pocket & he learns to help our enviroment.

If he is showing interest and asking for chores for money , he is already a responsible young man with values he has learned most likey from you, so keep up the good work. I think its wonderful.

And at christmas if he chooses to use his money saved to buy gifts for anyone you then will see just how mature he is as well. Good Luck!

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Inside he could sweep & mop floors, load the dishwasher or do dishes. Outside, he could do weeding or rake leaves. Anytime you cook dinner he could help you cook or set the table. He could also help sort laundry & fold or hang it up. I also paid my kids 2 cents a page to read books.

---> I didn't want to yell at my kids for leaving lights on, leaving towels on the floor & the like, so I came up with a chart. They got PLUS a quarter or 50 cents for each chore they did & I would subtract a quarter for leaving a light on or a dollar for leaving their towel on the floor. It worked so well, all I'd have to say was "You left your light on, I'm marking it on the chart!" (no more yelling!) & they'd moan & groan.

I also marked down TV credits on the chart. They got 10 TV credits per week, each good for half an hour of watching TV & if they didn't use them, they were paid 25 cents for each credit not used. (this was the late 1980's, you may have to raise it to 50 cents or so). The kids also did 4 bigger weekly chores, (like vacuuming & washing the kitchen floor & cleaning the bathroom) which were rotated each week between the 3 oldest kids.

So between the chores, the TV credits, yard work (my 14 yo son also mowed the lawn) & not leaving their lights on & picking up after their selves it all added up. PLUS, with this chart, no more yelling about little things from mom. The house was a bit more peaceful when I came up with the chart idea!

* An interesting footnote: The kids would give each other a hard time for "wasting" their TV credits. They'd say "You're wasting your TV credits on THAT, you're CRAZY!" I gave them free TV credits around the Holidays for special shows & educational & animals shows on channel 9 & the discovery channel the were free. There were also 2 "free" shows we watched together each week as a family. I started paying them for their "left over" TV credits because I didn't want them to feel they had to use them all up.

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Allowing a child to earn pocket money is WONDERFUL parenting. Too many kids seem to think that the world owes them a living. Earning their way naturally teaches responsibility and pride in ones work. I wish more parents would get on the bandwagon!

Each nine year old has their own abilities and their own aversions. Some hate laundry, some don't mind it. Some hate yard work, some actually enjoy it. All personal chores should be exempt. In the real world, no one gets paid for their own upkeep.

In my family, when the kids (4) started working after school, I'd collect 10% of their net earnings, which I put away for them. They amassed nice little nest eggs and were quite proud of themselves for doing so.

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I just want to add that chores should not be assigned on the basis of gender. Men need to learn to fold their laundry. I think a 9 year old can do many things to help out, but one thing that should be taught is how to do his own laundry. I wouldn't expect him to do everyone else's -- but he can take charge of his own. This is just being self-reliant.

For laundry such as towels -- that is a family job, and maybe counts as an extra chore -- like the dishes or vacuuming the living room. As far as an allowance, you have to find what works for you. I think kids should get spending money or an allowance just because they belong to a family, but on the other hand, they should do chores for the same reason. As well, children need to learn to handle money -- and they won't do so if they don't have money to handle.

How much allowance depends on what you expect them to do with the money. If it is just for treats, it doesn't have to be very much. If they are supposed to pay for clothes, donate to charity, buy birthday gifts, and so on out of it, then they better have a substantial amount so that they can realistically do so.

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By the time I was nine years old I spent an entire Saturday doing the laundry for a family of four, ironing (which was in the days before wrinkle free fabrics ... Even pillow cases and hankies had to be ironed), dusted shared living areas, vacuuming shared living areas and cleaning the bathroom. I was paid 1/4 of minimum wage for the hours worked (minimum wage then was $1.25 an hour) and I believe that was more than fair and generous considering there was food on the table, clothes on my back and a roof over my head.

My brother and I would sometimes switch so the work wasn't so monotonous and I would mow the front, side and back yards (before power mowers), weed, wash two cars inside and out and sweep the garage and driveway.

The rest of the daily chores like taking out the trash, setting the table, doing dishes, cleaning my room and keeping everything picked up in general was shared by all and part of being a family unit. The reward was feeling good about contributing.

There's a boy/girl list posted here but I think it matters more what is age capable and not the sex for each chore.

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My kids did everything that could be done to learn for life: fold clothes, mop, wash car, garbage, feed birds and cats, clean room, clean toilets and tub, you name it, they tried it! They did not get paid for chores. Allowance was based on their age.

A 9-yr old would get 9.00 a week, but 10% (.90) would come off the top for tithes to the church. That left 8.10 which was halved so that 4.05 was spend money and 4.05 went into their bank account in the bank to earn interest. IF they chose to put any extra in the savings, we would double it and put it in the account up to $20.00 a week. So, some of their birthday money got doubled when they were young, but older, they didn't put any extra. Still by the time they were 18, they had a couple thousand dollars to use to help buy a car or college or whatever. I know that is not much money, but they learned the value of a dollar. Every birthday, the allowance went up 1.00.

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As for allowance - we give our children one dollar per year of age per month. It is paid on the first Saturday of the month. They can "borrow ahead" only 1/2 of the next month's allotment if there is a good reason. This may not seem like much (their friends often get $20 or more per week!) but they have learned to save for what they want or, in the case of my son, can blow up to $2 per week on candy. (We had to limit him this way or it would have all been gone the first weekend! And we would get the dentist bill.) We do have the deal that if they have half the price of a large ticket item, we will pay the other half - valid for one item per year. (My daughter got Guitar Hero this way.)

As for chores - my 2 kids fold and put away their own laundry, change the sheets on their beds, empty the dishwasher and drainboard, empty garbage, dust, clean/sweep the deck & front porch, help with recycling, clean windows inside (I'm not too picky about the streaks), declutter and feed and clean-up after the cats. They also help with meal prep and entertaining when friends (theirs or ours) come over. Other than their personal chores, the duties rotate between the 2 of them monthly. Some only happen occasionally. They do not get extra money for these jobs. It is the responsibility of family members to "pitch in" and help with family chores. They started with helping to sort laundry while I taught them how to fold the items when they were 4 or 5 and did their own by the time they were 7. New chores came along every few months, with a few months close supervision on each one to get the training the way I wanted it done. They are now 12 and 15 and, other than grumble sometimes, are pretty responsible.

They do get paid extra for special items like car washing & vacuuming, helping with tree trimming & brush removal, etc. Not a lot but some extra. The harder they work without complaining the bigger the "bonus" they can get.

Good luck on finding what works best for your child(ren) and family. Just remember - kids are a work in progress for your (and their) whole life! LOL

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One thing that has not been mentioned is that if you choose to pay the child you can use this as a means of teaching them how to budget. My Mother had us keep a ledger of exactly what we spent our money on. We had to save 10% and tithe 10% the rest was ours to spend as we chose , however once it was gone-it was gone. We learned to make our money last, and the lost art of delayed gratification, plus what it meant to work and save for what we wanted; not to mention the difference between a WANT and a NEED. I applaud parents who teach their children these tools for successful living.

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With the kids doing all these chores, what's left for you? Also, kids need time for doing homework and research for school reports. Not to mention, they need time to get outside and play in order to stay healthy.

I'm all for getting kids to chip in with the chores to earn their allowance, but when the kids are doing more than Mom and Dad combined, it's time for a little better balance in their routine....

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How about including a chore that he gets to choose, one that is helping out someone else. Perhaps once a week or once a month he gets to help someone in need like an elderly neighbour who needs help shoveling snow, raking leaves, etc. Or even an animal shelter, perhaps. He might be too young to help with the animals, but they may appreciate help with the laundry or some yard work or even simple office tasks.

I love the idea of having kids save 10% off their earnings for a nest egg. I wish my parents had shown me the value of saving like this. We did lots of chores -- which I lamented but now I'm glad I have the skills (i.e. cooking from scratch, growing and harvesting a garden, shoveling snow efficiently, cleaning and organizing, etc.). I'm always surprised at the number of people I meet who don't have a clue how to do the simplest things. Even washing a floor by hand or with a mop is beyond some of my friends' skills. Sad, really.

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It is wonderful that you want to teach your son the value of a job well done and learning how to do these chores will help him in the future. Many kids grow up not knowing how to do their own laundry, the proper way to keep a home clean, etc. That said, please be sure that he still has time to be a kid. Due to several bad circumstances, I was forced to take on way too many responsibilities as a child and really missed out on quite a lot. It was necessary, but I wouldn't want my children to have that experience.

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Ok, not so much a list of chores for a nine year old but the way that we do it. My kids a 9 yr old and 7 yr old twins (girl/boy), have to keep their own space tidy, take off their sheets and do various and many things as my husband is a truck driver and is away for many nights at a time. I cannot do everything and we all do it together, cooking cleaning sorting folding, etc etc. I take care of 80% of things but they help out and they get paid by the job as it were.

Empty the dishwasher (and mind you I had to rearrange my kitchen so my plates didn't up as mosaic samples) 50c

Feed the dogs 50c

A really large cheap piece of tin that we painted and decorated and then wrote all the chores that need to be done on a daily, weekly, etc. schedule, a couple of whiteboard markers and all chores are done. Homework and playtime outside (not watching tv playing computer) also is worth a little bit each day.

They are so proud of themselves on a Saturday morning when we add up all the jobs and the side benefit is that their math is improving out of sight.

We have added a wish list to the bottom of the job board and have worked out how many jobs they have to do to be able to buy that game that they have to have.

Don't worry mum has a wish list too and I have to add my chores to the list everyday too and amend my wish list each week, the best part of all this is that they encourage each other to get that special thing and enjoy watching the job "quota" lessen each week.

Oh and they save 10% into the bank of mum, who then places it their real bank.

This works for us and only because of all the helpful hints, advice, etc. that I gather from the numerous wonderful people who inhabit this wonderful site.


Kerry from Adelaide

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I should mention, in defense of children who are given a lot of chores like I had (that were listed in an earlier post), that both my parents worked ten to twelve hour days and many times six days a week. On top of that they had to do the marketing, home repair, write out the bills, etc, etc, etc, etc.

Even with all our family of four 'shared chores/work', my brother and I had plenty of time to do homework, have two or three hours a day of fun time during the week, Friday and Saturday nights for whatever we wanted to do and Sunday's after church was awesome 'family time'.

Let's not forget the luxury of three months of vacation afforded to us that our parents did not have while they continued their long workdays and still had to do 'their' chores.

My point is that my brother and I did not suffer because we had responsibilites, still had plenty of time to be kids, learned the value of a dollar and most importantly we learned team work and work ethics.

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My recently turned 5 year old gets 5 dollars a week. I give it to her on Monday in a container she can see. She takes $1.00 and puts it in the bank and 50 cents into a Christmas fund. the $3.50 is added too or subtracted from depending on the chore, the bad behavior, etc. Certain chores are expected like her room. Some chores earn tickets instead of cash. They are the surprise ones. Those tickets can be saved up and used at the end of the week towards picking the family activity or video to watch or to get a favorite toy out of "toy time out".

She loves trying to find the chores with the tickets. She has to finish the one she is on first though but a job well down in a timely fashion will get a "hint". She takes pride in her work. She is learning about earning, saving, spending, compromising, bartering, sharing-the Christmas fund money is saved till December and she picks out toys for the local Toys for Tots program.

A list of some of the things on her chore list-gather all the small bags of trash out of the rooms and I take it out with the kitchen trash. She puts the new bag in the kitchen and the other rooms. She takes the rugs out to beat, washes the lower parts of the windows-massive dog slobbers ongoing all day. Puts grocery items away, walks the small dog while I walk the big one,I hand her the clothes to put in the dryer and she cleans the lint trap and turns it on, she separates the clothes, loves to play "match that sock". Wipes base boards, cleans the bathroom mirrors, feeds the dogs, loads and unloads the dishwasher excepts for knives and heavy things-I do it first and she does what I leave for her and she puts the soap in and starts it.

She does a lot and knows that we all pitch in cause mom didn't invent dust and dirty things -life did and we give high fives for being blessed with our life and a home to gather that dust and dirt. At 9, wow, your kid could do a lot to help out. Be sure to give praise and if you must re-due something, do it in a way as to not hurt his pride and self esteem, I was corrected so much as a kid at times I thought I couldn't breath right.

Kids need to learn the proper ways to do things so teach and encourage and praise and so what if the paper towels aren't put on the way you do it, switch it when they go to the bathroom, LOL. Have fun with working together and turn on the radio station he likes. For the sanity of his future wife please teach him to do laundry and wipe the toilets clean, LOLOL.

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Parenting General Parenting AdviceSeptember 30, 2008
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