Helping Kids Make Cents: Part 3

Lessons for Life

By: Sheila Stark,PHEc 

“Money Motivators

Today’s child is growing up in a world that is continually changing. Kids are exposed to a whirlwind of commercials with advertisers who constantly hype up the latest and greatest toys and gadgets. Billboards, television, social media, computers and magazines expose kids to “things” they think they need. How many times have you seen young children playing on an I Pad? Have you seen Teenagers texting or walking around obliviously with ear buds or headphones on?   How many series or versions of different toys do kids REALLY NEED?

Want or Need – that is the real question? Helping kids determine the difference between Wantsthose things they would like to have versus Needswhich are things they must have in order to live is key. Have kids chart, or make a collage of their own wants and needs. Talk about the needs and wants you, (as a parent(s)) can provide and those that your child can save for and enjoy. This knowledge will go along way to helping kids prevent needless spending and build independence.

With basic money and goal setting skills, (see posts part 1 & 2), and a desire to earn cash for personal wants and needs, how can kids get motivated to make money?   The entrepreneurial spirit has no limits. Here are eight creative ways.

Money Motivators:

  1. Allowances that have chore incentives: This will teach kids of any age accountability and will build family trust. A great interactive app for this is available on line as a free download from Foresters. It is called KIDS*Allowance App, and is user friendly.

Parents select tasks ie. Take out the garbage, do dishes, mow the lawn, etc. 

Then have your kids select rewards ie. Cash, movie & concert tickets, gift cards, specific items like beats head phones…..

Parents then assign a star value per task ie. Dishes =1 star, mow lawn =5 stars,

The stars are redeemed for rewards-for example 50 stars might earn concert tickets. The app will keep track of completed tasks in each child’s name.

(This is a great app. We use it in my family – go on line for others)

2. The Lemonade stand is great for the younger entrepreneur. Help them set up a simple little stand with a jar for collecting money, a container of lemonade with ice cubes and glasses. Kids should display their best manners and will develop some social skills as they interact with their customers.

3. Children with a creative spirit can sell their Homemade Crafts at community craft shows, bizarres and markets almost any time of year.

4. For the dog lovers – get to know your neighbourhood. Are there dogs nearby? Be a dog walker. You can earn money, and stay active. Don’t forget the pooper scooper.

5. Do simple lawn care maintenance. Mow the lawn, rake leaves, shovel snow from driveways. Start at home, your next door neighbour, or a few houses down the street.

6. Have a garage sale. Do your kids need to downsize? Have your kids go through items they no longer fit or wear. Sort toys they no longer play with or want. This is a great way to get your kids involved with your annual/semi annual cleaning.

7. Do you like to work with children? Be a babysitter. If you are 12 years old or older you can start this venture. You can take home alone & babysitting courses offered by Red Cross through your local community or through your community 4-H club. They will build your skills and give you more credibility for hire.

8. Have your own paper route. Check what is available in your own neighborhood. Locate your own local community paper office, or city papers for setting up a route that best suits you.

Whatever your child’s interests may be there is an opportunity waiting for them. Help them find an age appropriate venture that best motivates them. Earning money and learning how to manage it effectively is a life skill that teaches accountability, responsibility, and independence.

Sheila Stark is a professional Home Economist with over 20 years of experience. She works as a Human Ecology Specialist Teacher in the areas of Food & Nutrition, Clothing, Housing & Design, Family Studies, Life Skills, & Consumer sciences. She has experience working with children from pre-school through grade 12.