Part of financial education for kids is helping them understand the value of a dollar. The best way to do this is for them to earn their own money and learn money management skills through practice. Some parents choose to do this through allowance, while other parents choose to have their children earn money outside of the house. You can also do a combination of both.
Whatever they end up earning, consider helping them divide it into threes – one part for saving, one part for spending, and one part for a charity of their choice. This shows kids the valuable skill of saving and the importance of charity.
For All Ages
- Allowance – This is a great tool to give your children incentive to help out around the house. In exchange for a few chores, award your children a few dollars a week. As they get older, they can take on more difficult chores, like laundry or heavy cleaning. More difficult chores, like lawn maintenance or snow removal, can command a heftier dollar amount, if you choose.
- Recycling – Can returns may be only five cents a can, but those can add up quickly. It requires hard work and effort, but it shows kids the value of keeping the earth green and persistence.
- Lawn care – A great way to help out a neighbor and to earn some extra cash is to offer services like raking, lawn-mowing, or weeding. In the winter time, they can shovel snow.
- Pet sitting – When neighbors go away over the summer, they’ll need someone to feed their fish or cat. It’s a good way to show children the responsibilities associated with pets, as well as help them understand the value of an earned dollar.
- Sell lemonade or baked goods – Give your kids a small loan for supplies (with understanding that you’ll get paid back before they take a profit for themselves) and help them set up a lemonade stand or baked good stand. They’ll learn the business of selling and communicating with potential customers. Be sure to supervise all sales transactions and any interactions.
For Tweens and Teens
- Babysitting –Depending on your child’s age and maturity, kids can earn anywhere from $5-$10 an hour for one child and an additional $1-$3 for more than one child.
- Recreational activities/tutoring lessons – Is your middle schooler or teen excellent at a certain activity or subject in particular? They can work as a tutor or athletic coach for a younger kid, whether helping with reading skills or athletic technique. Paper Route – A classic way for responsible kids to make money, there’s always a paper route. All a kid needs is a bicycle and an alarm clock. However, be sure to check local labor laws – many states have minimum age requirements for newspaper delivery.
With any of these activities, it’s important to make sure your children are doing this safely. Supervise any business arrangements and stay in the loop.
Calculating Your Child’s Allowance
Some parents believe in giving allowances, others don’t. This is entirely up to you, and you can create the guidelines best as you see fit. While allowances are designed to teach children the value of money, it should be impressed upon the child that helping out around the house is part of their responsibility as a member of the household. Chores are not designed just for the sake of earning allowance. Create a chore chart that doesn’t include responsibilities they should already be doing, like respecting common areas or tidying up a mess they made.
A fair way to calculate your child’s allowance (especially if you have more than one child) is to take the child’s age and divide it in half. For example:
6 years old = $3 per specific time period (could be per week or per month, depending on your preference and current financial situation)
This is fun because they know that each birthday gets them a raise in their allowance. But don’t be afraid to withhold their allowance as a punishment for not completing chores as agreed upon.