by Kimberly Blaker
An important aspect of helping kids develop into responsible adults is teaching them the value and rewards of hard work and earning their own money. Through this they gain self-esteem, come to understand the real value of a dollar and become more responsible in the way they spend money. Share the list below with your pre-teen or teen for an array of ways they can cash-in this summer.
The grass is always greener – What better way to soak up the sun, get fit and make spare cash all at once than mowing lawns? Create some fliers and be sure to mention you live in the neighborhood. Include your fees based on yard size and try to keep the rates below the cost of professional services. Also, don’t forget to include your phone number. Then you can deliver the fliers to the homes in your neighborhood lodged between doorknobs or tucked under mats. Just don’t place anything in mailboxes because that’s illegal.
Young entrepreneur – Make the most of neighbors’ garage sales by setting up a refreshment stand in your own front yard. You’ll need a small table and a handmade sign: “Cookies and Lemonade – 50 cents each.” Set out a pitcher of lemonade or Kool-Aid, disposable cups and wrapped cookies. At the end of the sale, add up your profits and divide them between your partners.
Too old for toys and games? – If so, clean out those you’ve outgrown and hold a sale. Make a cardboard or wooden sign to attract neighborhood kids and passersby. Then lay out blankets in your front yard and spread out your goods. Keep your prices reasonable. And don’t forget a 25-cent box filled with odds and ends.
You don’t have to be raised on a farm to make a good farmhand.
Kiddie care – Are you old enough to stay home alone? If so, you may be ready to babysit for other children. Spread the word through family, friends and neighbors. When babysitting, play games and do activities with the kids. Avoid talking on the phone or watching TV. Parents love sitters that keep their children busy. Also, don’t forget to clean up and wash dirty dishes.
A little dirt never hurt – Garage cleaning is a big chore, especially for the elderly, or anyone who just doesn’t have the time. So, offer your services to relatives and neighbors. When you get a job, be thorough. Move everything into the driveway or yard before you begin. Remove cobwebs with a broom. Sweep ledges and the garage floor. Then hose the garage concrete (with permission) to loosen ground-in dirt. When it’s dry, neatly arrange everything back into the garage.
Fence finishing – Wood fencing requires ongoing maintenance. Offer to assist your neighbors in sprucing up their yard by painting or staining their fences. The homeowner should supply the paint or stain and the necessary tools. Be sure to follow directions. Also, take your time and do a careful job.
Window washing – Offering your services for this dreaded task is sure to be a success. If you get the job, make sure your parents know the homeowner and approve of you going inside. Clean the interior of all windows, including doors. Also, don’t forget to open the windows and clean the ledges and tracks. Offer to do exterior windows you’re tall enough to reach without a ladder. Ask permission to hose them down to remove loose dirt. Then wash and dry them by hand.
Life’s a zoo –Pet owners who don’t like to kennel their pets are often in a dilemma at vacation time. Pass out fliers in your neighborhood offering to pet sit. Do the sitting in your home, garage or fenced yard, if your parents agree. Otherwise, make regular visits to the pet’s home. Be responsible, and do exactly as the pet owner instructs, for both your safety and the pet’s. Or offer a dog walking service.
Weeds away – Are weeds taking over your neighbors’ flowerbeds? Then offer to get them back into shape. Before you get started, find out which are plants versus flowers that haven’t yet bloomed. Wear gloves to protect your hands. Pull weeds from rock beds, shrubbery and cement cracks. Then dispose of them properly.
Errands for the elderly – Are there handicapped, disabled or elderly persons in your neighborhood? If so, they’re apt to need some help. Offer to run errands within walking or biking distance. Attach a basket to your bike, or carry a backpack for easy transporting.
News courier – Hop on your bike or blades, and spread the news—that is, deliver the news. Apply for a route with your local newspaper or add your name to the waiting list. Place newspapers either in a newspaper box or on the front porch to make sure they’ll remain dry. It may even increase your tips.
Old McDonald had a farm … You don’t have to be raised on a farm to make a good farmhand. Although it’s certainly a bonus. Visit area farms and offer your help. Work may include laboring in fields to feeding and caring for livestock or mucking out horse stalls.
At your service – Offer home cleaning services to your neighbors. You may be asked to do the following tasks: dust furniture and window ledges; vacuum carpet and stairs; sweep and mop tile, linoleum and wooden floors; scour sinks, bathtubs and toilets; shake out rugs; vacuum upholstered furniture; and make beds. Ask if straightening up is expected. Also, find out which cleaning products (supplied by the homeowner) to use on fixtures, appliances and furniture to prevent damage.
Pool patrol – If water is your thing, find out the age and certification requirements for lifeguard duty. Then apply at your community pool, YMCA or nearby beach. Keep your skin safe by using a good sunscreen and wearing a hat or cover up.
Daycare duty – Do you love little kids? Contact daycare centers and home daycare providers and find out if they need a young assistant. Look up daycare centers in the yellow pages. You can find home daycare providers in classifieds, on bulletin boards, online and through a state-licensing agency. Tasks may include assisting with crafts and activities, reading stories, helping with lunch and snacks and cleaning up.
Nurturer of nature – If you’re a nature lover, don’t forget about your local parks. Possible positions may include assisting with planned activities and events, maintaining park grounds and tending ticket booths. Call area parks to find out what jobs they offer and how to apply.
Tips for business success
Follow these tips to keep the loot rolling in and to play it safe.
Get your parents’ permission before accepting a job, and make sure they know where you’ll be.
Dress for the type of job and wear old clothes if they could be ruined.
Discuss payment in advance to avoid disputes or hard feelings.
Do your best. Not only will you earn respect and feel good about yourself, it will likely affect whether you are hired again and can use that person as a reference. If you make a mistake, don’t ignore it or try to cover it up. Inform your employer, offer your apologies and ask what can be done.
Be on time. Call right away, if you’ll be late or can’t make it.
Kimberly Blaker is a freelance writer from Michigan. Her articles have appeared in more than 250 newspapers, parenting and women’s magazines, and other publications..