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Jobs for older kids and tweens

In her book Smart Money Smart Kids, RACHEL CRUZE explains how you can develop working skills for older kids and tweens.

When your kids are in the six-to thirteen-year-old age range, you need to upgrade their chores. By six, they are ready for a little more responsibility, so you can start to add more jobs and provide less hands-on help as they complete them. We recommend listing their tasks on a chore chart and sticking it on the fridge so they see it every day. Make a big deal when they complete a task and check off the item as done. Some great household jobs for this age range include:

  • Making their own bed
  • Feeding pets
  • Vacuuming and sweeping
  • Sorting, folding, and putting away washing
  • Cleaning the dishes
  • Watering plants
  • Cleaning windows
  • Washing the car
  • Doing outside work
  • Cleaning the bathroom

As they get a little older, you can encourage them to find some ways to make money outside your home. You can help them brainstorm new ideas, such as:

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  • Babysitting
  • Walking dogs
  • Doing outside work for others

If your child has an entrepreneurial spirit, encourage that by helping make fliers to advertise his or her new business.

At this age, you can start paying commissions weekly instead of immediately. By now, your child should have already learned the crucial work-money connection, so it isn’t as important to have the immediate reward of a payout. Knowing that they have to work throughout the week but they’ll only get paid once a week teaches kids lessons in delayed gratification and patience. Besides, that’s how the real world works, right?

In our house, every Sunday night was “payday,” so we would grab our chore charts off the refrigerator, see whether or not we had completed all of our jobs, and then Dad would pay us for the work. If I only did three of my five chores, then guess what? I got three dollars, not five. Our parents never paid us for work we didn’t do. That’s not how life works, and it’s not how our family functioned, either.

This is also the perfect time to start teaching your children about what to do with the money they’re making. We’re going to suggest you have your child divide their income across three key areas: spending, saving, and giving. Give each child three specific envelopes: one named Spend, one named Save, and one named Give. Write those words big and bold across the envelope or let the kids decorate their envelopes however they want. Every dollar they earn in commission needs to be spread across these envelopes. You can also apply this to any birthday or gift money they receive throughout the year.

Here’s how it worked for us on Sunday nights: I would take the five dollars I earned and put one dollar in the Give envelope (because giving always came first in our family), two dollars in the Save envelope, and two dollars in the Spend envelope. That’s the most basic form of budgeting, but it works – even for a six-year-old.

The Spend envelope was fair game. We could use that however we wanted. It was meant to be enjoyed because money can be fun! The Save envelope was basically a long-term Spend envelope. I wasn’t saving for college or a house or anything at that age. My parents encouraged us to set savings goals, like for a certain toy that would take weeks or months to earn enough money to buy. As our savings grew and we hit our goal, we’d proudly take the Save envelope to the store and bring home our major purchase. This teaches your little ones about patience, goal-setting, and delayed gratification – three things a lot of adults still struggle with!

The Give envelope was extremely important in our house, which is why it was the first thing we did with our money. By the time I was six, my parents had stopped giving me their money to drop in the offering plate at church, and I took my own money from my Give envelope. Giving his own money changes a child’s whole understanding of giving.

As a #1 New York Times best-selling author and host of The Rachel Cruze Show, Rachel helps people learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. She’s authored three best-selling books, including Love Your Life, Not Theirs and Smart Money Smart Kids, which she co-wrote with her father, Dave Ramsey.

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