Get a Job!
While school may be out, the learning continues, especially when it comes to family finances. The summer presents a unique opportunity to teach your kids about the value of money- by letting them earn some of their own through summer jobs.
It’s one of those abstract concepts that are so hard to teach sometimes. Mom and Dad don’t have an endless supply of money. Countless times, when my kids were younger and asking for something out in the store when we were running errands, I would say- no- I don’t have the money for that (really meaning, I haven’t budgeted for that). They would point to the ATM, and say, just go get more- like there is a little leprechaun inside doling out cash (although patently untrue, you have to admit that would be pretty cool).
The time (and season) is now to lay down those valuable life lessons. You want something? Get a job.
Obviously your pre-schooler is not going to start flipping burgers at your local fast food joint as their summer job.
For younger kids, try having them take on chores around the house, and reward them with money (kind of like allowance, but for specific tasks- to teach the relationship between time spent and money earned). After a task, reward them with a set sum, and place somewhere visible, like in a jar- so that they can understand the line between task-earnings- savings- and then eventually spending when they have enough to buy what they are after.
The Budding Entrepreneur
If your kids are a little older, help them develop some entrepreneurial ventures around your neighbourhood that can help them understand the relationship between time and money in their own terms.
Get a paper route. Set up a lemonade stand. Plan a garage sale, and have them organize and price items. Help them bake cookies and other goods, and host a bake sale.
Time to hit up the neighbours with a bevy of odd jobs. Have them offer to do neighbour’s yard work. Walk dogs. Wash cars (inside and out, for extra cash!).
If your child is old enough, help them approach local businesses about summer jobs. Even if junior is going to work for a few days in your office as extra help, help them through the process of getting ready for work. Draft up a resume. Have them participate in an “interview”.
This is a good time in their lives to explore what their interests are, and how they might translate into future employment.
Have your creative soul design scrapbooks for others or do a little web design. Does your teen love kids? Have them babysit or organize activities for local kids. If your kid is tech savvy, help them offer their tech support services. Budding filmmaker? Tablets and smartphones aren’t just for video games. Have them offer their services as a documentarian. Does your child have an aptitude for writing? Get them to start up a blog and solicit advertisers, or offer their services as an editor.