Have your kids expressed an interest in earning an income? Do they want things that you’re unwilling to purchase outright? Or are you simply looking for a way to teach them the value of hard work and fair pay? If your children are eager to join the workforce, there are a number of ways you can help them to reach their goals. Of course, the route you choose will depend largely on the age of your child, but it’s never too soon (or too late) to teach your children the skills they will need to get by in the world one day. And it’s even more important now, as experts continuously agree that financial literacy must be a bigger priority in elementary and high school courses. And it all starts with a good work ethic. Here are a few jobs that will get them started on the right foot.
- Chores. The best way to start any kid earning money is with household chores. Even toddlers can learn to put their toys and clothes away and make a bed. They may not do these things perfectly or consistently (and they might need a little help in the beginning), but by allowing them to make mistakes and correct them over time, and giving them praise and a few coins for their piggy-bank, you’re instilling them with the confidence to continue and the desire to work for what they earn. And as they grow older, they can help with more demanding household chores.
- Recycling. School-age children are likely to take an interest in this pursuit if you help them out with a little information about the benefits of green living. By recycling cans, bottles, plastics, and so on, they can not only earn some pocket change, they can also do their part to keep the world cleaner.
- Gardening. Older kids (10 and up) can push a mower while just about any age can help you with planting, weeding, and watering. If you grow a fruit and vegetable garden, you can also get a hand with canning and jamming in the fall.
- Home repair. As your kids become teenagers, it’s important for you to pass on some of the many skills needed to keep a household running smoothly. If you’re the type to call a plumber or handyman whenever there’s a problem, maybe it’s time to pick up a home repair guide and get the kids on board with household tasks that just about anyone can accomplish, like changing the wax seal in the toilet, snaking a drain, painting walls, laying tile, flushing the water heater, replacing the furnace filter, filling holes (with wood putty), hanging doors, and so on. If you can already do these things, have your kids help so they can learn them, too.
- Babysitting. The number one job for kids with younger siblings, babysitting is a great way to earn money and learn a marketable skill that will benefit your older child as well as other families in the neighborhood.
- Office work. If you have your own business (or work at one that offers jobs to minors of legal working age), consider having your child do some after-school filing or other clerical work. It’s better than flipping burgers at the local fast-food joint and it will help them become accustomed to a job that demands a regular schedule (and offers a regular paycheck).
- Entrepreneurship. Some kids are artistically inclined while others have a knack for understanding technology. Whatever the particular skills and interests of your child, there is a way for them to turn their talent into a profit. Encourage them to create and sell greeting cards, host curb-side bake sales, or fix neighborhood computer problems for a little extra dough (or whatever is age-appropriate - a lemonade stand loses its charm when it’s run by a seventeen-year-old).
[Sarah Danielson is a writer for Internet Inc., the leader in job sites where you can find the job to suit your individual needs.]