How To Put Your Kids To Work

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.


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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Marianne on February 9, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I was very aware of the value of money and absolutely wanted it at a very young age (probably because I was the youngest of a large family). I was always opening up ‘stores’ in my toyroom and selling my stuff to anyone who would come into my home (and then taking it back and reselling it) along with crafts and books etc. When I was older I worked on our family’s farm whenever I could. We had a store where some candy was sold- I would work for chocolate bars. I had a bank account at 6 and wrote my own cheques for our class Scholastic book orders. When I was old enough I babysat constantly for the members of three different churches. I got referrals from everybody and could pick and choose jobs since I had so many. I was lucky because my parents owned their own business so I was afforded many opportunities to make money. I am very thankful for these experiences as I am still hardworking and industrious. It is very important to me to be able to give my kids some of the same opportunities but I think I will have to be more creative as I do not own my own business and we don’t have quite as large a community around us as I did growing up.

  2. Richard Rinyai on February 9, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I used to get paid $1.00 for washing dishes and $0.50 for drying them each time, when I was younger. Over a week, it can really add up.

  3. AverageJoe on February 9, 2012 at 10:55 am

    As a school independent study project, my twin 16 year olds are working on their own blogs. I like the entrepreneurial skills they learn, plus they’re able to learn from all the mistakes I’ve made creating mine!

  4. AverageJoe on February 9, 2012 at 10:56 am

    My twin 16 year olds just set up their own blogs as part of an independent study project at school. Hopefully this will teach them some entrepreneurial skills + they can learn from all the mistakes I’ve made setting up mine!

  5. Marissa on February 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I don’t know about doing taxes earlier and the RRSP room. Great tip!

  6. Kanwal Sarai @ Simply Investing on February 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Great post! My young one is already eager to start working, but I think we are still a few years away.

  7. Mary on May 11, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Thank you for sharing good pieces of advice. It’s rather hard sometimes to guide the kids to their future profession but at the same time it’s most necessary. Who would help them better than us, parents?
    The taxes issue is put in a very interesting and understandable way.
    I’m looking forward to the further posts from you!

Leave a Comment

Join More Than 10,000 Subscribers!

Sign up now and get our free e-Book- Financial Management by the Decade - plus new financial tips and money stories delivered to your inbox every week.