The "first job" is a life milestone your kids are likely to remember forever. It's the first time where their skills and efforts can earn them money (besides doing chores for an allowance at home). No matter how small, a first job instills a new level of responsibility that sets an important baseline for kids through junior high and beyond.
But where should your little ones start? What are appropriate "first jobs" for your kids?
We outlined six great first "jobs" for kids, from the classic lemonade stand to babysitting. Note by "job" we don't mean an official title or being on a company's payroll—this is about small obligations that require keeping a schedule, interacting with "customers" and managing a budget.
Perfect for even the youngest of entrepreneurs, a lemonade stand offers short-term experience in planning, advertising and customer service all in a day's work. From setting up their station and crafting their signs, to stirring and pouring lemonade in exchange for dollars and cents, your child will develop pride of ownership of their business and learn so much along the way.
With a little advice on how much to charge based on the cost of their ingredients (and perhaps some help with prep in the kitchen) your child will be set to run their stand and make some of their very first hard-earned money. It's work and it's play—an all-time childhood classic that passersby will find hard to resist exchanging pocket change for refreshment!
Pet or House Sitter
Sometimes the best early childhood jobs come from offering to help (or saying "yes" when asked to help). Depending on your child's age and the level of responsibility they want to take on, there are numerous ways to step in and be of help when a friend or neighbor is away from their home.
From bringing in the mail/newspaper each day to watering plants and/or taking care of pets, there are plenty of tasks people are happy to pay someone to do for them while they're on vacation. Who better to turn to than a young niece, nephew, grandchild or neighbor who's working hard to increase their responsibilities and their bank account?
Yard Work and Lawn Care
Simple chores that your child has grown accustomed to (and is skilled in) are a great way for them to earn a bit of cash helping others in their respective yards.
Along with reaching out to help family members and friends who live in your community, yard work and lawn care services are an easy thing your child could advertise/offer to a wide group of people. Raking leaves, mowing lawns, harvesting fruit trees/garden beds or watering plants—these small tasks are easy to let fall to the back burner as homeowners. Depending on the season, your child may find themselves so busy with job requests that they have to turn people away!
It's less common these days to find sports teams and organizations running car washes as fundraisers in shopping center parking lots and much more common to find individuals offering a "we-come-to-you" solution that allows individuals to get their car serviced right in their own driveway.
It's the kind of task that can start small with neighbors and people you and your family know well and grow as they get more practice. People will pay a good amount for a thorough car wash. Help your child build the skills they need to charge a fair price for this service, and they'll be set with a steady way to make a little extra money through their adolescent years.
You'd be surprised how many young entrepreneurs are making money on a business idea they started online! If you're comfortable or able to help your child navigate the wilderness of the internet to find and sell to customers online, this is a great way to broaden the scope of their business idea and increase their income.
For the creative kid with an original craft skill (think keychains or games/toys), building up to opening an Etsy shop is a great way to get serious about their endeavor. It costs a little bit to get started, and they have to share a portion of their earnings, but for a young, budding business it's perfectly structured to support their learning and growth!
As our babies grow up, they can mentor, care for and entertain other little ones. It's incredibly rewarding and hard-earned work for any responsible teen who is up for the task. While it's not a requirement, a basic CPR certification is a great idea for this line of work, adding to a parent's confidence in your teen's ability to care for their little ones if any emergency were to occur. Help your child be the babysitter families turn to by helping them with tips and ideas for successful care—from games that help cut down on screen time to basic safety and communication skills, there's quite a bit that goes into being a top-notch sitter!