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Your Kids Look Like Interns

by Derek Sisterhen on June 29, 2010

My guess is that at least some of you have kids that cost money.

Well, of course, Derek, kids cost a fortune.

Right.  That’s why you have a very critical lesson to begin teaching your kids right now, this summer.  The lesson is connecting work with reward.

In the summer time, we take vacations, send the kids away to camp, let them sleepover at friends’ houses, hang out at the neighborhood pool, and so on.  Each of these events and activities opens the door for kids to spend money.  Maybe it’s a souvenir bottle of colorful sand at the beach, buying snack foods at camp, going to a movie before a sleepover, or buying a mask and snorkel for the pool.

Instead of forking over one $20 bill after another for these economy-stimulating endeavors, why not invite your kids to earn their reward?  Since most kids are out of school during the summer, consider yourself to have just retained the services of an intern.

What jobs or tasks can be done around the house or can your child help with to earn money?  Clearly identifying what responsibilities are required simply because your child is a member of the family is a must, too.  However, if you set a list of tasks your kids can complete for pay, as well as set limits on what you will be paying for during the summer, you’ll create a wonderful teaching opportunity.  And when you carry this into the fall, you just might be building up future self-sufficient, productive members of society.

I was speaking with a couple recently who said they have a son going away to camp this summer.  When they told him they wouldn’t be paying for all the little extras that come with camp, that he’d have to pay for those things on his own, he became a lot more aware of his spending.  They said, “Before now, he never had any trouble spending our money.”

It’s always easier to spend someone else’s money.  Doing so doesn’t make us any better at managing our own, no matter how old we are. 

  • Scott Doehrman

    What a terrific idea. This not only can teach them the value of money but how to become a model employee. Your kids will show their tendencies and you will have the opportunity to teach them and help them correct some of theses tendencies i.e. doing a job correctly the first time, giving your best effort all the time, not just when the supervisor (parent) is around.

    This will also give entrepreneurial kids a great start. They may want to bid for jobs (washing the car, washing the dog, scooping the yard, mowing…) and then realize they can duplicate this with friends, relatives, neighbors…

  • Derek Sisterhen

    Hey Scott – great suggestions of ideas where kids can get involved in working for reward! I especially like how you'd encourage the kids to then move beyond the borders of their home and seek out work from others around them. This breeds an entrepreneurial and creative spirit – can't think of how that ever hurt anyone!

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