With the downturn in the economy, jobs--and especially summer jobs--are not exactly plentiful. But for kids ages eight to fourteen, they never have been. This is one segment of our population that has been able to enjoy the lazy-hazy-crazy of summertime, and rightly so! However, if you have kids that are B---O---R---E---D with the lazy and the hazy, and starting to drive you a little bit crazy :), then how about encouraging them to find their own foray into financial fun? Yeah...a job!
Three results you'll see from a summer job:
A strong work ethic. I admit that as a parent, I have not been one to grab opportunities for my kids to learn about business. For example, when one of my children comes to me and says, "I want (fill in the blank)," I am most likely to reply, "Well, let's think about that for Christmas (or birthday)." Instead, what I should be doing is encouraging that child by answering, "So how are you going to make that happen?" Let's go from indulging our kids to helping them grow into financially independent young adults! Work can be one of the most fulfilling things in life, especially when it is coupled with one's natural gifts.
Basic financial foundations. If you spend more than you make, you will be in trouble. Obviously, this may be a more difficult teaching for our kids to grasp since it doesn't seem to apply to the government (just sayin'!), but they need to understand that it does apply to them! And I have found that financial precepts are best learned through hands-on experience. When I was eight years old, I had been saving my weekly allowance of 75 cents for a while because I wanted to buy The DeFranco Family's album. (Does anyone remember Tony DeFranco?) I went with my family to the old Sears store in downtown Nashville, and with my $5.00 in change went to the clerk to make my purchase. One problem: I had not figured in the tax. Now, my daddy could have spotted me the money I needed for tax, but instead, he chose to do something that may seem pretty hard-nosed. He said, "I guess you will have to save one more week." Yeah, he did that! We returned to Sears the next Friday and I bought my album. I still know the words to Heartbeat, It's a Lovebeat, and I also know that I had better always add in the tax!
Creative Business Skills. Kids today have lots of options when it comes to earning money. The US has become largely service-oriented, and there are plenty of things kids can do, services they can provide, and needs they can meet. Moving beyond the proverbial lemonade stand, how about these:
Lawn care. People who really don't want to do this will still pay for this service, even in today's economy. A kid can take advantage of this by providing a decent job for far less expense.
Pet care. People who normally use kennel services may forego that option this year when they go on vacation. Kids can provide great care, and vacationers have the added comfort of knowing that a responsible adult is supervising.
Child care. My first summer job was babysitting. I was responsible for a fourth grader who didn't want to spend her summer in daycare. I'm pretty sure I was much cheaper than daycare would have been, and it was more money than I would have made sitting around at home. A win-win!
Backyard day camp. This is creative genius. Two 13-year-olds, one an aspiring dancer and the other a musician, set up a week-long day camp for five- to nine-year-olds. From 9 to 12 each day, they taught ballet and music, played games, and made crafts with around 15 kids. At the end of the week, parents were invited to a "show." These two gals made enough money in one week to pay for movies and trips to the water park the rest of the summer.
Internships. Kids on the upper-end of this age bracket, the ones who are just a year or two away from being able to work, can benefit from internships. They won't get paid, but they will gain experience along with a nice little entry for their college applications.
Photography. A kid who is interested in photography can make a few bucks by working children's birthday parties or sporting events. Mom and Dad get to have fun enjoying the event while someone else plays paparazzi.
eBay store. If you have a kid who enjoys computer games, why not make a game of eBay-ing and make some money, too? I will be posting eBay tips tomorrow, so stay tuned!
You can learn more about raising a financially fit child in my book, Season of Change: Parenting Your Middle Schooler with Passion and Purpose! Don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a free copy of the audio version of the book! I'll be posting those details this morning at 8:15 CST!