Even Kids Can Make Money

When my youngest son, Nick, was 10 years old he began complaining about money – and a lack thereof. His older brother was 15 and working for several neighbors, mowing lawns and doing yard work. At 10, Nick felt he could too.

On some of his jobs, the older brother took the younger, but not often and not often enough for Nick. So, Nick and I sat down one day and talked about how he could make money, and why he might want it.

According to CBN Finance, teaching your children how to make and spend money may make for responsible and financially healthier adults. And, this (my point) may mean your adult children don’t come home to roost for years.

Years ago children had summer jobs, every summer. They saved for college and for their own spending money. Today, the social norm has changed just a bit. More parents are sending their children on summer excursions to enjoy different experiences and provide them with the spending money they need.

Sometimes that’s still possible for single moms, and at other times it isn’t. But, whether it’s financially feasible for you to offer your children this freedom or not, the real question is . . .  should you?

Learning how to make money, save it and spend it is a function of being a financially responsible adult that may be learned at an early age. While it’s important to watch the number of hours your child spends building his own micro-business (so it doesn’t interfere with his school work), it is also important to help him through the process of building it and making it successful.

And you may get a few ideas of what you can do to make some extra money too!

If your child has a desire to attend college, it’s important to note that while many colleges value volunteer work, they also value work experience. Producing a well-rounded college application may be a challenge for a busy high school student. However, even adding a part-time job in the summer may help make your student more attractive to the college of their choice than the next applicant.

Research has also demonstrated that teens who take on a summer job, or part-time job during their school year, go on to careers that are better-suited to their interests as these part-time jobs show them what they like and what they don’t like. These jobs also help them hone their interpersonal and work skills that are transferable from job to job. They learn how to interact with their co-workers, bosses and customers. And they’re able to interact with adults who can provide letters of recommendation to the college of their choice.

Although research demonstrates teens who work up to 30 hours each week have better career prospects after college, it’s important for you to help them balance their work/school and social schedules.

But, what if your child is younger than 15 and not able to work at a structured job? Do younger children have options?

The short answer is YES!

Even at a young age, children who start their own business learn about public speaking, sales, customer service, inventory management, financial management and marketing. Each of these are skills they may use in other jobs and in college.

Children who start their own business also quickly learn the value of research and understanding everything about their product. When any sales person truly understands everything about their product, it increases their confidence and credibility – leading to more sales and better customer service.

Self-esteem anyone?

It started in the 1980s when psychologists began warning of the danger to children who failed – at sports, on school papers, in social situations, or on stage. And thus began an all out war against failure. Many children didn’t experience rejection until they reached high school – and then it came as a big surprise.

Suddenly, without prior experience, children were expected to intrinsically know how to handle being cut from the team – any team.

I am not advocating going in the opposite direction – as I’m afraid may have happened with the growth of social media – but, it is important to understand that we all must face, and learn how to deal with, rejection.

The way in which some children (and adults) have started using social media to bully and bash others in the relative safety of anonymity is not about rejection because your efforts weren’t enough to make the grade – but rather about making someone feel powerful by making someone else feel small.

This is what running your own business teaches you – how to handle rejection from clients, potential clients and customers. In a real world situation your child learns real world skills.

And that alone is worth the price of admission.

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