Does your tween have a job yet? More than just cleaning their rooms or emptying the dishwasher – those things are done around the house but I don’t consider that a job. I am talking about an actual job where they are responsible for something and they receive payment for successfully completing that task.
Think paper route, dog walking, lawn care, babysitting – something they can do with regularity to learn responsibility and earn money.
My 3 kids have all shared a paper route for a few years now and as a family we have learned a few things about kids being employed at a young age. On the downside, it is a pain being a newspaper carrier when you have after school activities or when the weather is windy, rainy, cold, or crappy – and somehow it is always windy, cold, rainy or crappy on paper day.
On the plus side, it is teaching my kids responsibility and money handling at an early age and I have realized there are a few perks for my wallet too!
Top 10 Reasons Your Tween Needs a Job
YOU Save Money
I no longer have to pay allowance for 3 kids. They make enough money sharing a paper route from collecting that they don’t need my measly allowance to learn how to spend, save or manage money.
YOU Save MORE Money
Not only do I not have to pay them allowance, but when they want THE best doll ever invented, even though they have 17 dolls already, THEY buy themselves that doll. They want another sparkly pink top, THEY can buy themselves that pink top.
Someone Else Teaches Them Responsibility
Their job is theirs and they learn quickly from particular neighbours that the better job they do, the better reward they get come collection time. Those who like their paper delivered ‘just so’ will waste no time calling the newspaper and ratting them out if the kids are not doing their job well.
Responsibility Can Be a Pain
Sometimes being responsible for something means you have to do it whether you want to or not. Having a paper route or a dog walking job is not so fun in the pouring rain or freezing temps, but it must get done. Kids learn early that the rewards are great, but some days you have to work a bit harder for that reward than others.
Math, Math and more Math
Kids struggling with math at school? Get them a job where they have to count the number of papers, divide the flyers up with their siblings, figure out the correct change on a collection day or calculate the number of hours worked times the hourly rate to figure out their pay babysitting. Counting bills, rolling coin and adding up their bank balance is the best math lesson there is.
Every neighbour on three streets know who my kids are. They see them out delivering papers and they get a chance to chat when they answer the door on collection days. In a time when it is difficult to get to know your neighbours, a job that has your tween out talking to all the neighbours is a good thing.
They count their papers, they put their papers together and off they go delivering their papers on their own. They aren’t afraid to knock on doors, to talk to neighbours, to ask for money for a job completed. Pretty impressive considering they were all under the age of 10 when they started.
I didn’t understand how this paper route had affected my kids until it was Girl Guide Cookie selling time. Only one of my daughters is in Girl Guides, but the other two took on the mission of helping her sell 15 cases (that’s 180 boxes) of cookies so she could collect enough points for the book store gift card she wanted. Driven by entrepreneurial spirit and determination, they knocked on hundreds of doors while armed with a change purse and a wagon full of cookies until every last box was sold.
My kids understand the value of money, what things are worth and can determine if something deserves spending their hard earned money on. They do the job on days they don’t want to, they collect and count the money and they understand what it took to earn $5 and can make better decisions on how to spend that $5.
Having their own job and money in their own bank account has taught them that providing a service can earn money. Giving back at each of their birthday parties since they were 7 taught them that money can help others. The more money they collect, the more they can help. Last summer the kids set up a “Lemonade Stand” and they didn’t wait around for people to find them, they went door to door and got people to show up and show up they did. One full driveway and $162.00 collected which they happily delivered to Sew on Fire.
A paper route is a great job, but so is lawn care or pet sitting, dog walking, fetching the mail for someone who can’t get to the neighbourhood mailbox or being a mothers helper by playing with smaller children while the parent is doing other things within the home. Encourage your Tween to get a job and see what being employed from a young age teaches them.
About Deb Lowther
Deb Lowther is a mother of 3 young daughters who, when not running after the kids, is running in the trails. She contributes Family Health articles to many websites and magazines and ensures her own family has fun while eating healthy and staying active. Find more inspiring tips from Deb on IronKidsNutrition.ca and MyBoomerNutrition.com and follow her on both Twitter and Pinterest @Deb_Lowther .