Sometime during their tween years, children often discover their inner entrepreneur. When they do, it creates an opportunity for parents who want to ween their children off allowances and encourage them to take on more responsibility for their own expenses. While every kid seems to try their hand at a lemonade stand at some point, here are some other starter jobs that younger children can successfully pursue.
1. Yard Sale
When told that they can keep the proceeds of any toys, books, or games they may want to sell, many kids get busy cleaning out their unwanted items. As a parent, a toy/yard sale carries the added benefit of a straightened-up room. Being in retail, even if it’s only for a few hours, can help kids understand the true value of things, how to make a sale more attractive, and how to negotiate fairly.
2. House Sitter
As neighbors leave for vacations, long weekends, or even day trips, they may need someone they trust to gather their mail, keep any flyers or newspapers away from their doors and, in the drier months, turn on sprinklers. Jobs like these help children develop a sense of responsibility and respect for other people’s property and deepens their connection to the neighborhood.
3. Pet Care
Caring for and feeding fish, dogs, or cats makes children much more aware of time and the needs of others. Offering this service to neighbors who are away is something they can do year-round. While dog walking is an option as well, generally, dog owners will prefer someone be large enough to control the dog. However, many neighbors are thankful to have someone spend time with their pet.
4. Mother’s Helper
While babysitting is a natural gig for tweens and teens, starting out as a mother’s helper can help prepare your child to babysit. Helpers typically play with children so mom can get other things done around the house, or they may walk the child to a playdate or summer activity. Starting out as a helper also allows parents, especially new parents, to gain a level of comfort and trust with an older child’s abilities. Many communities also offer babysitting training courses. Being certified through one of these programs can help your tween/teen ensure they are ready to take on the responsibility of younger kids.
5. Car or Window Washing
No lines, no waiting—having a neighborhood kid wash your car in your own driveway can be very convenient. You may want to have your child practice at home a few times before printing up flyers offering the service to neighbors.
Offering to regularly weed gardens and help plant flowerbeds can be especially attractive for working and older neighbors. Seniors, in particular, might appreciate the companionship and opportunity to oversee the work, while passing on their gardening knowledge. With the new emphasis on locally produced foods, growing herbs for sale and door-to-door delivery could be a nice side business for your child.
Most children love passing on what they’ve learned to those who are younger. Also, children who are struggling at math or spelling may feel more open when working with someone closer to their own age. Plus, tutoring can keep your child’s math and reading skills from getting rusty during summer break.
Regardless of what your children decide to do, supporting their entrepreneurial spirit can help them acquire skills they will use throughout their working lives.