Recently our son, who will be 9 next week, wanted to earn some money and our sidewalks needed power washing. So, after a thorough tutorial on how to use the power washer by James, he was off and running. He earned enough money to buy a couple of items he has had his eye on and here’s the cool thing, he was proud of the fact that he bought them with the money he had earned. Our daughter, age 7 and not to be outdone, also asked for a way to earn a bit of spending money. She was given the job of touching up paint on an interior brick wall. I had given this wall a new coat of paint several weeks ago and had missed several spots. She has an eagle eye and caught every one of them. Our point here is, you can begin nurturing the concept of “doing it yourself” and the value of working for what you want at an early age. Here’s the steps we found to be helpful before letting them loose successfully on a given job:

1. Give them plenty of guidance before they begin. Be specific in language they can understand. You may need to show them the steps you want them to take. Kids are no different from adults in that we all learn differently. Some learn best when told instructions. Some learn best when shown instructions. Some learn best with both!

2. Provide oversight without hovering while they are working. You want them to feel confident while knowing they can get help if they need it. (I.e. Peek around the corner now and again!)

3. Make sure they understand what the expected outcomes are and those have to be met before they will be given their earnings. Be strong and stand by this point. If the job is not done as it should be, describe what needs to be finished or corrected before money is given.

4. Provide verbal rewards along with the monetary. A child should understand it’s not ALL about the money. The message is: You are proud of them for following instructions. You are proud of them for completing a job as expected. You are proud of them for sticking with their goal. You are proud of them!

These steps work for us, but you know the child you are trying to encourage better than anyone. Make adjustments to these steps as needed and don’t give up if it doesn’t go perfectly the first time. Think back. Was your first job a success right away? Teaching a child what it feels like to earn what they have is an invaluable lesson and worth the time and effort every time!