Friday, December 3, 2010
Since the advent of child labor laws, kids have been limited to producing holiday gifts that consist of whatever they can cobble together from items found around the house. They often give crafty presents like pictures, ornaments, or if they are tech-centric, maybe a home video. However, your kids may be keen to give a gift that requires some greenbacks. Or they might wish to have a little of their own spending cash if holiday travel is in the works. And it’s never a bad idea to teach your kids the value of money. So if they request some cash around the holidays, here are a few ways in which you can allow them to earn it (rather than simply handing it over), thereby killing two birds with one stone, so to speak.
Chores. The best and easiest way to get your kids to earn their keep is to task them with household chores and give them a weekly allowance. Younger kids can clean their rooms, make their beds, and put away their laundry (or learn more difficult chores under your supervision by helping you wash dishes, do laundry, or clean) while older kids can tackle more difficult jobs. The trick is to show them how it’s done and then leave them to it. Don’t criticize if they mess up, just offer to show them again. And make the monetary compensation match the tasks. As they get older and take on more complex chores, they’ll likely demand a raise!
Helping neighbors. Many of your neighbors would probably be glad to pay a few bucks to have their walk shoveled or their windshield scraped (especially those that are not as mobile as they used to be). So take your child door to door so they can offer their services and hopefully secure a few regular clients (in the summer, the same neighbors may employ your son or daughter for yard work as well).
Bake sale. Nobody can resist holiday treats, so help your kids get their bake on by teaching them some of your favorite recipes for cookies, loaves, and so on. Then approach their school or your church about selling them and offer a portion of proceeds back. It may work better if you involve other families, as well. Of course, if you live in a climate that enjoys mild winters, you can even set up a booth in front of your house.
Recycling. Collecting cans and bottles is a great way to keep waste out of our landfills and help to stop the harmful and polluting practices used to manufacture them new. Teach your kids about their responsibility to the Earth by setting up bins in your home and driving them down to the recycling center to turn their items in for cash.
Greeting cards. Some kids have an entrepreneurial spirit. If they enjoy drawing pictures, you can help them to start their own business by scanning their designs into the computer and printing them out to make sets of cards. You can sell them to friends, family, and acquaintances in your community (maybe even at church if you donate a portion to charity). This way your child can learn the value of their efforts while earning some extra cash for the holidays.
Kyle Simpson writes for J.G. Wentworth, a settlement funding company and the largest purchaser of future payments to individuals who hold assets in the form of structured settlements and annuities.