Teaching kids about money is not an easy job. Being paid to play the piano is a relatively low impact sort of job. Sometimes it is really up there on the whine scale. But, working hard can help build character. Below are a few of the jobs we will pay our kids for that are a bit more labor intensive. Again, these are not everyday jobs, but once in a while things. My kids are young so I still watch what they are doing or let them go at it till they get stuck or need to be a little more thorough. We track this money on their paper in their bank. It all adds up. So, here are some ideas:
Collecting sticks: Ok, we don’t live in the forest or anything. But, we do have one normal tree and one weed tree that we let grow because it is great shade in the summer. That weed tree drops all its sticks in the fall, so just the trunk is there. So, when it is time to clean that up or clean up after a storm, I let the kids collect sticks. They are paid a penny for each stick.
This might not sound like much, but they will pick up every little stick. From two inches to two feet and put it in their pile. Once they are done, they each count up their sticks, which is great practice in my opinion, and then they get paid. Don’t underestimate kids, they will get over 500 total sticks at a time. This is serious stuff.
Washing kitchen floor tiles: One day I looked at my floor and I did not feel like cleaning it. The light bulb went off and I called the kids down. I told the kids I would pay them 10 cents for each tile they scrubbed. Dollar signs went off in their heads and they got to work.
Again, my kids are small so I had them just use water and baking soda. Works great. When they were done I just went over the floor with a wet cloth to get any residue off. I was out $13.60 but my back thanked me!
Beetle collectors: One summer, the beetles were eating up all my vegetables and roses in the garden. It was horrible to see my beautiful plants getting destroyed. My dad and I were talking about it and he told me how when he was little his mom made him collect them and he got paid a penny a piece. Brilliant! I told the kids about it and they were game. So early in the morning (we’re up early anyways) we went out to the garden and flicked beetles into sudsy water. The kids made out pretty good as this was an ongoing thing. My roses didn’t make out so well though.
Clean out and vacuum car: Have you looked under your car seats lately? Have you looked in the last row of the van to see the kid crud building up? Sometimes you don’t even have to, you just know it’s bad. So, that is when the kids get to clean out the car. They gather everything up, set it in the driveway, wipe stuff down, and vacuum. I help them out with this because the vacuum can be awkward in some spots and the seats have to come out. Boy does the car look nice after this.
Organize cabinets: Cabinet locations were overflowing with containers, scrap paper, and mixers that kept breaking. The kids were each assigned a cabinet and they went to work taking everything out. As they took stuff out, I looked over things and told them what to toss or locate somewhere else. They put things back in and the cabinets are nice and tidy.
The bonus is, these jobs are not my favorite things to do, so having some helpers make it much better. You might think a penny a stick or 10 cents a square isn’t much. But it does add up and motivates them to do their best based on how much effort they put into the job.
Do you have any jobs that you pay your kids to do? I’d love to hear your suggestions about ways you pay your kids.