If you plan on having any lulls between camp sessions and family vacations this summer, you might want to consider a productive activity for your child — earning money!
For kids who are getting too old for day camps, but are still too young for summer jobs, there are many ways to give them a sense of responsibility and teach them some valuable fiscal lessons. Of course, you can pay them to do chores around the house, but they can also take the initiative to go out into the neighborhood or community to find money-making opportunities, like:
Babysitting is a little tougher to come by these days, as few parents trust tweens and preteens to stay home alone, much less care for younger children alone. But there are plenty of overwhelmed moms who could use an extra set of eyes/hands to either care for little ones while they tend to the house, or vice versa.
Helping a Senior
Our growing elderly population is often isolated and in need of assistance. Youngsters can offer their services to help out with indoor and outdoor duties, or even just to keep them company for periods of time.
Mowing Lawns/Yard Work
An oldie, but a goodie. For neighbors who don’t already have a lawn service, encourage your kid to offer their services. They’ll get plenty of fresh air and good honest work!
Dog Walking/Pet Sitting
Pet-loving kids will love this option. Have them offer to provide daily walks, or to care for pets while owners are out of town. Picking up the mail could be another responsibility.
Parents.com offers up a guide to teaching kids about money, according to age:
Ages 6 to 8
As soon as your child starts getting an allowance, they suggest a trip to the bank to open a savings account, and make regular deposits. You can explain the concept of interest as the balance grows. Find a local bank with children’s accounts that offer no-fee and no-minimum-balance accounts.
Ages 9 to 12
This is a good age to teach kids to comparison shop by reading store’s price labels, and considering size, bulk rates, quality, and brand-name vs. generic. A yard sale is another great activity that will earn them extra money. Have them help purge the house of things no longer in use, then let them handle much of the responsibility of setting prices, publicizing the sale, and haggling with customers.
Ages 13 to 15
Believe it or not, the early teen years are a good time to learn about the stock market. Let them choose companies they’re familiar with, pretend the invest in them, then follow financial news and discuss how the stock values fluctuate. Now is also a good time to learn how to set a budget by first discussing wants vs. needs. This can relate to their personal choices, or you can review the family’s budget.
Ages 16 and up
Visa and American Express offer stored-value cards (called Visa Buxx or American Express Cobaltcard) which are great tools that allow parents to load the cards with a specific amount of money, and let their teens budget their allowance/earnings. It also provides a good opportunity to help teens research and choose worthy charities, and encourage them to decide what percentage of their money to donate.