When it comes to financial education, most parents usually focus on teaching their young children the basic principles of giving, saving and spending. That’s great, but what about earning income?
Here are few ideas to consider:
1. A weekly reward system: A simple way to start would be to teach your children to take care of their space. Let them own their room and their bathroom. Create a daily and a weekly work chart where you can check off responsibilities like making the bed, picking up toys, putting their dirty clothes in the hamper, etc. Weekly routines could include taking the trash bag out of the trash can and dusting. Establish a reward system where on a weekly basis your child gets the opportunity to earn a “job well done” reward. Be careful how you establish the reward system since you don’t want your child to assume that every time they make the bed or pick up toys they should expect a payment. Rather it should be a reward where only when expectations are met, the reward is received.
2. Serving others: Meal times can be a great way to give your child the opportunity to work beyond their own space and serve others at the house. How about asking them to clear off the table by bringing all of the dirty dishes back to the kitchen? Not just their own, but everyone’s. Sure, they may need some extra assistance from your side, or from their older siblings at the beginning, but sooner than you know it they’ll be able to complete these tasks on their own.
1. Ask your child to choose toys they don’t play with anymore and clothing they don’t use as items to be sold at a yard sale. Work with your child to put together a sale, have them work it from start to finish, then agree on splitting the proceeds accordingly.
2. Do you live in a neighborhood that does neighborhood-wide yard sales? How about doing a refreshment stand during the yard sale? You can decide to invest $20-$30 to purchase muffins, coffee and other breakfast items and your child can tend the refreshment stand. After the sale, recoup your investment and allow your child to keep the remaining proceeds. This will be a great lesson on investing and generating returns.
3. If you live in a neighborhood that has a community pool, ask about the possibility of your child running a poolside refreshment bar with popsicles, lemonade and cookies. This is another great way to engage them in creative income generation and honing their interpersonal skills. This time you may encourage your child to invest a portion of their saved money to teach them about investment and risk.
It’s not really about money, but about helping your children, even as young as 3 and 4 years old, acquire skills that will benefit them for a lifetime. By doing this, you may discover an entrepreneurial potential that you would have otherwise missed. Overcoming fears, learning principles of investing, risk management, saving and generous giving – all from their hard-earned money - will be priceless!