Thinking of ways for kids to earn money before they are old enough to have a regular job can seem like a challenge.
Years ago, before child labor laws, it was so normal for kids to be working alongside adults that the very thought of looking for ways for kids to make money would have been ridiculous! Sometimes, the money earned by kids kept a family from starvation.
We live in better times now. There is usually plenty to eat, and we expect our kids to focus on their education, not support the family.
However, the school system in the Western world is highly geared to producing good employees. There are real risks if you leave your child’s financial education to the so-called “education experts”. Remember that the teachers, the inspectors, the administrators, the people who write the curriculum guidelines, and the politicians who make the laws about education are all, themselves, employees. Many of them have never been anything else.
It’s up to parents to instill that good old-fashioned value of self-reliance, and encourage kids to get out and make money for themselves.
Kids can do all sorts of things to earn money. The only limit is your imagination.
Baking for busy working mothers
Collecting aluminium cans
Cleaning swimming pools
Letter-box leaflet drops
Selling things on eBay
Making My Space backgrounds
Collecting for charity on commission
Buying bulk candy and selling individual pieces
Entertainers at kids’ parties
Breeding rats (or other pets)
Comic book rental library
Toy rental library
Collecting lost golf balls
… and hundreds more!
Not so long ago, kids didn’t need to look for ways to earn money, because 95% or more of the population were self-employed. People worked on their own farms, in retail, or in cottage industries. Kids grew up surrounded by commerce, watching the exchange of valuable services for money, and inhaling the principles of adding value and making a profit with their every breath.
These days, the majority of people depend on someone else’s entrepreneurial spirit to generate revenue and pay them a wage directly, or they are indirectly relying on those same business owners because they work for a government funded by taxing the private sector and its employees.
With this shift from enterprise to job-seeking has come a corresponding shift from self-reliance to dependence. We have almost lost the ability to take care of ourselves financially.
Most people are expecting an employer or the government to take care of them when they can no longer work. Or, worse, they aren’t even thinking about how they might survive financially beyond this year, this month, or even this week.
Basic entrepreneurship should be part of every child’s education. But we can’t expect the employees who teach in schools to pass on skills they don’t have. As with the other crucial life skills like dental hygiene, eating right, and avoiding poisons, teaching the skills of money and business is very much the parent’s responsibility. Help your kids to find ways to earn money, and build their skills for life.