Are you tired of your kids always asking for money?  Allowing kids to earn their own money can be a fun and prosperous venture even for the very young.

Young adults who start their own business, or work in other employment, benefit from increased confidence, learning to take direction, time management and organizational skills as well as money management.

My first job was the traditional babysitting the neighbourhood kids on weekends, then I sold tickets at a local amusement park.  I have to admit that I spent every penny as soon as it was in my hands.  I didn’t actually have a savings account until I had my first paycheque paying job at 14.  I loved watching my savings grow.

Here’s how to put your kids to work:

Household chores

Little kids love getting cash.  It doesn’t take them long to figure out the value of coins and know they can use them in exchange for goods.

Very young children can do extra chores over and above their normal duties.  They’ll soon be asking to help with weeding, washing windows and painting the deck if they know they’ll be paid.

Entrepreneurship

Instead of paying an allowance you can encourage your kids to start their own business.  Beyond the lemonade stand here are a few potential jobs:

  • Paper or flyer route
  • Baby sitting
  • Pet sitting
  • Dog walking
  • Lawn service – mowing, raking, spring cleanup
  • Mother’s helper
  • Organizing children’s parties
  • Tutoring
  • Web page design

To see some really creative ideas just Google ‘child entrepreneurs‘ and you’ll be amazed at all the sites featuring what children as young as 7 have accomplished.

Parental involvement

While parents shouldn’t be doing the work for them, parental involvement is essential, especially if your child is working for strangers.

The jobs must be age appropriate and safe.  They need to understand how to use equipment such as lawn mowers and if your child breaks equipment through improper use, then you or your child will need to pay for repairs or replacement.  Make sure they know how to operate the tools necessary for the job.

Make sure your child has the ability to do the work involved, although they may surprise you when they step up to the plate and do a fantastic job.

Be prepared to help if necessary.  When my sons had flyer routes I helped them stuff the flyers in the heavy weeks before Christmas and drove them around the route in bitterly cold weather.  Like the mail, flyers and newspapers have to be delivered whatever the weather may be like.

Filling out tax returns

Even though your child will likely not earn enough to pay taxes at first, fill out a tax return anyway.  This way he or she can build up RRSP contribution room to be used later.

When children earn their own money they are well ahead of the game.  Learning to delay instant gratification by saving up for large purchases, and knowing how to budget properly are lifelong skills that not very many people have mastered.


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