My kid is only seven years old and he is already into collecting money. I use the term “collecting” here since he doesn’t understand the true meaning of the word “saving” when it comes to money. So he is into collecting coins and bills. However as kids grow up, they will be more interested in making money and often parents want them to do so as well. Encouraging your children to earn their own money is a great way to foster creativity and innovation, promote independence, and begin to teach them about key financial skills like budgeting, saving, managing money, and investing.
Teenagers should be able to find temporary work by looking at a variety of available part-time jobs. But what if your kids are not old enough for part-time jobs? This is where you as the parent come into play. You can help them find other ways to begin earning cash. Here is a list of suggestions on ways kids can make money and save.
Start at Home
Consider tasks that need to be done around your home or at your work that go beyond basic household chores. Does the car need washing? Are there leaves to rake or snow to shovel? Or can you delegate to your kid a task that you would ordinarily do yourself, like gift wrapping, typing an email (which you can dictate), or making greeting cards?
If you have a family-run business, consider ways to get your child involved that are age-appropriate and would give your child a sense of accomplishment and involvement.
You can start early with your kids instead of waiting until they are teenagers. And be creative!
Look to Your Community
Most jobs are found through word of mouth, so encourage your child to let relatives, family friends, and neighbors know that he or she is in the market for work. Offering to do odd jobs for trusted neighbors — like yard work, lawn mowing, dog walking, pet sitting, and baby sitting — is a great place to start. Or encourage your kid to sell old toys or books at a family or community yard sale. Increasingly, neighborhoods are having block yard sales where neighboring families can all take part — offering a great way for kids to meet each other and participate. By encouraging your child to sell or donate unwanted items you are also teaching valuable financial skills.
Word of Caution: There are limits on jobs and work hours for children. If your child wants to enter the workforce, you should be aware of legal limits on the type of jobs your child can hold and the amount of hours he or she can work.
List Skills and Abilities
If your child expresses interest in getting a job, sit down together and write a list of your child’s skills, abilities, likes, and dislikes. This brainstorming exercise is great for kids and adults alike, and encourages your child to think creatively.
If your child enjoys art, why not make and sell greeting cards? If your child enjoys cooking, why not hold a bake sale or even start a business selling cookies? If your child is more academically minded, suggest a tutoring or teaching job. Tutoring is a great way to reinforce your kid’s existing knowledge and will help develop interpersonal and mentoring skills.
Encourage the Young Entrepreneur
Kids are increasingly showing interest in learning about investing and starting their own businesses. There are a growing range of educational tools, websites, and investment programs available, with organizations even offering camps for young entrepreneurs. Be sure to do your research before deciding on a particular website or camp, to ensure that you choose one that is right and appropriate for your child.