School is almost out, but one mom has a great idea to keep kids learning all summer… while keeping the house clean!
With classes ending for break, your kids will have a lot of time on their hands. No classes during the day… And no homework in the evening.
Here is a simple way that parents can keep restless kids busy, teach them a few lessons about how to handle their finances… and even get some help around the house!
That’s right. “Hire” them for a summer job. Now, some kids and teens are old enough that they can pick up a “real” summer job mixing Oreo Blizzards at Dairy Queen (mmmm…) or bagging groceries at the Kwik-E-Mart in town. But kids of every age can learn a lot about money and stay productive with a job in and around the home.
For example, one mom we know “hired” both of her kids – ages 9 and 13 – as Level Supervisors. Cameron was in charge of the lower level (living room, dining room, and hallway) and Ashley was in charge of the second level (bedrooms, hallway, stairs and bathroom).
In addition, both shared responsibility for the kitchen and for the pets (one dog, one cat).
Cheryl made it extra fun by hiring her kids just like she would hire employees. They made simple resumes, interviewed with mom, and negotiated a “salary”.
“They really loved the process,” Cheryl said. “I wasn’t too tough on them because I wanted to keep it fun. They both even dressed up for it. And they got an idea of how a real job interview works. I put the resumes in my scrapbook as a neat memory.”
Cheryl explained the jobs and set concrete expectations. Each was responsible for keeping their level tidy and vacuumed every day. Yard work, laundry and a few odd jobs were added in. Several jobs were retained as required without pay (their own bedrooms, help with meals, general help, etc.). Then she taught them a lesson about negotiation.
“They don’t get a regular allowance, so this was new to them. I told them that I am going to offer them a weekly salary, and then told them that they should counter-offer,” Cheryl explained. “We watch Shark Tank together, so they already knew what that meant.
“We reached a fair deal of $10 a week each after some spirited negotiation. They didn’t think it was as as fair as I did, but I’m the boss, so that’s that.”
But then she took it a step further.…
“It hit the fan when I explained that I would be taking out savings, taxes, and Social Security.”
One dollar of each “paycheck” went into each child’s permanent savings account at the family’s credit union. One dollar went into each child’s “Social Security.” And one dollar went to “taxes.”
The “Social Security” account would be paid back to each child at the end of the summer. The “Taxes” went into a jar that would be used for general family funds, such as pizza and movie nights, that benefit everyone.
“There was a LOT of grumbling at that part, but they got it,” Cheryl said. “Ashley likes math, so I put her in charge of tracking the withholdings. She even negotiated an extra dollar for doing that! Smart girl!”
Cheryl admits it didn’t work smoothly all the time. And sharing kitchen and pet responsibilities created some arguments (they are siblings, after all).
“That is part of the lesson. You have to work with people at a real job, share responsibilities, and figure out how to get projects done.”
And they quickly realized that if they don’t do the job, they don’t get paid.
“It’s not perfect all the time, but it is still a good way to prepare them for real jobs and learn how money works,” Cheryl said. “And get them to help around the house a little more!”