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Model Your Child To Earn Money On The Side

October 22, 2014 by: 0

One of the biggest challenges that parents of today face is to talk to their kids about money, especially financial independence. In today’s ruthlessly fast-paced world and on-the-brink-of-a-collapse global economy, it is extremely important for parents to communicate to their kids about a job and money, this is all-the-more important in today’s trying economic times and the idea of trying to stand up on their own feet right from the very beginning; especially after they enter high school. The topic of money, unfortunately, is much like sex: you’re uncomfortable talking to your kid about it, but he/she is certainly better off if you talk to him/her about it, rather than anybody else.

The suggestion of the fact that your child now needs to start earning cannot be suddenly implanted in to your kid’s head. The idea needs to be slowly moulded into honest conversations, family routines and parental behaviour over years, which will make it much easy for the parents to have the conversation with their kids whenever the time comes, as the child has already been introduced to the idea of earning on the side and being financially responsible for himself/herself. To model your child to earn money on the side, the attitude needs to be developed within him/her.

Children do as they see. The objective is to encourage children to earn money on the side while they are still in college; thereby not only giving them a head start on their financial independence, but also to ensure that their time is well spent and not wasted on frivolous activities all day long.

Do parents worldwide feel so?

The same thoughts aren’t shared by all parents worldwide. The challenges that parents and families face were very different in different countries, given the varied socio-economic cultures. For example, an Indian parent will probably find it a little bit harder to model his/her child and incorporate this thought into their kid, given the fact that this culture is not deep-rooted in the country. The idea itself is very alien, with Indian parents from most families generally bent towards the children focusing on completing their education without anything to distract them, and then search for a job.

The situation is more suited to the west, where the kids take on jobs, sometimes more than one, along with their school classes, to pay towards their college tuition or start living on their own. Here, they are encouraged, persuaded and motivated to not be dependent on their parents for their expenses after reaching a certain age.

Given this, even though socio-cultural differences bring about a difference of opinion among parents and families, it is widely agreed that when you model your child to earn money on the side, it will bring about greater fiscal independence and responsibility amidst a better in-control young society.

What to do and what not to do

Children cannot be forced to earn money on the side when they do not want to. How do you go about instilling such a thought into them right from the time they are old enough to do so? Following are a few tips –

1.      Play on their strengths: Appeal to their interests


Earning money is something no kid, however big or small, is going to like. One way to get them to do it would be try to talk to them about taking up jobs that appeal to their liking, interests or hobbies.

For example, if your kid is interested in biology, then one possible job for him/her would be to maintain lawns and gardens. They could rake leaves, trim the hedges, and if that gets them interested enough, maybe even paint the picket fences. They could water the plants, look after them and even suggest some gardening tips to the customers. No one likes trimming weeds, but appeal to them on a personal interest basis, and it would probably get them up and running.

If your child has been an ardent lover of books, poems and the written word, then freelance writing is the way to go! Today, there is no dearth of opportunities in the market for writers, and coupled with a little patience and the opportunity, children can make excellent money on the side indulging in writing. Newspapers, magazines, journals, newsletters, and individual companies and agencies are always on the lookout for kid writers who are creative, who can give their time and of course, looking to earn money off of it.

If your child plays the guitar or the keyboard or any other musical instrument, then he/she could be giving classes to the younger kids of the neighborhood. It would be appealing to your kid, involved in something that he/she likes and also be making some money off of it.

This is an excellent way to get started on explaining to your kids as to how to make money using interests to earn money in never an old-fashioned way to convince anyone to earn money.

2.      Financial needs, wants and desires: Connect the dots!


You’ve Got to Earn it!” – so sang The Temptations 49 years ago, but they couldn’t have been more in the present. As the lyrics go, anything you want must be earned. Your daughter might be the mall-hopper; or your son might be craving for the latest video

game, so what are you going to do about it? Make them earn it! It is very easy for kids to say “I want this”. It’s music for their ears to hear “Okay”, harder for them to hear a “No”, and hardest for them to hear “You can have it, only if you earn it.”

Sit down with your kid and discuss what their needs are, and what sort of a lifestyle do they envision themselves living in the future. Make them understand that every penny that they spent till now was yours, and now they need to earn to be able to lead the lifestyle they want, and that they are responsible for their money.

Discussing financial goals with your kid will mould the idea into his head that he/she needs to not only finance his/her living, but also exercise a certain level of responsibility. This is one of the best ways to model your child to earn money on the side, as a two-pronged objective is taken care of.

3.      Help plot a possible future employment path

Today, the world is everybody’s oyster; people have the ability and freedom, and more importantly, the opportunities to do whatever they want. You can tell your kids about how they can turn their temporary job into something permanent in the future, explaining to them how getting experience at a young age will help them in their career in the future.

If your talented kid loves art and likes to paint, then he/she could sell their artwork along with school activities and kick start his/her career at a very young age, giving him/her a huge advantage. Or if your child is a good orator and thinks he/she can do voice overs at radio stations, they could be kick starting their career in radio jockeying.

With a little help from the parents, and a little gentle push, children who start earning money on the side from jobs may well turn it into long and fulfilling careers. And hence starts the first step to model your child to earn money on the side and start working young.

4.      Tough love

Kids, in the end, are stubborn. There are innumerable stories of worried parents to 20-year olds saying that their kid just refuses to budge from the couch and earn any money, let alone look for a full-time job. At such times, you as a parent need to put your foot down, and even at the cost of seeing your child hurt, and take some extreme steps in order to model your child to earn money on the side, apart from taking care of their school activities.

Stopping their allowance is the easiest way to do so, explaining to them that they now need to start being responsible for themselves and contribute to the income of the household. Harsh as it may sound, it may give your kid the much-needed kick he/she needs to get off their butt and begin being responsible adolescent.

5.      The world of the web


In the last 10 years, the internet has taken the globe by storm, and opportunities have bloomed out of nowhere. Today, half of the world’s jobs are outsourced and done off the internet. With internet speeds becoming better, almost every household now has access to a broadband connection. And that is all is needed to give your child a gentle push towards financial independence. Writing, graphic designing, mobile game and mobile app developing, game playing, online tutoring,  web designing, photography, blogging, or something as simple as data entry; everything can be done
off the web. All you need to do is steer your tech-savvy child in this direction and the rest will be history.

Sometimes, all you need to do is guide your child in the right direction; they pick up the threads and work on their own from there.

6.      Earnings, savings and investment: The vicious cycle


I remember how, as a child, I got very excited when my dad opened a savings account for me. The idea of my money being in the bank, compounding every year excited me like no toy or game had ever done. And somehow, that excitement never goes out of the window.

Children need to be well briefed and told about the vicious cycle of earnings, savings and investment from a young age to make them understand how many years and how much effort it takes to build a corpus. It needs to be explained to them that starting early and starting earning young gives them a huge advantage later in life, when they are better prepared to handle finances and will not have a financial crunch of any sorts, since they jumped in to it when they were young.

Lil girl
While kids might not completely understand the need for investment, they will certainly understand how money, even when kept in a bank, earns interest and how much important even that is. In doing this, not only will this motivate your child to earn that extra buck, but he/she will also develop a careful and a thrifty attitude towards money.

7.      Family matters

When in Rome, do as the Romans do; so goes the famous quote. If your husband is shaving, then your son will probably come up to him, fascinated, and ask him what he is doing. Even if your son doesn’t understand what his father is doing, chances are that you will find him atop a bath-stool, peering into the mirror, lather on his face and a shaving brush in his hand. Children tend to follow as the parents do and say. They are sharp observers, and without fully understanding the implications, they will follow and copy the same.


The same case goes for the economies of the household. For example, if the kids see parents splurging while shopping, chances are that they will do the same.

Or worse, in times of austerity and frugality, when the parents try to cut down, they will question the need to do so, having seen abundance and the exact opposite behavior earlier. On the other hand, if parents are thrifty with their money, neither exhibiting opulence nor severity, but chalk out a savings and investment plan where everyone can enjoy comforts without compromising a lot, the child will witness this and try and do the same.

Similarly, if you as parents exhibit the importance of earning money, how it is not easy, and how to spend it wisely, then the child will learn to do the same. It will, then, not take a lot of convincing for you to persuade and model your child to earn money on the side. Also, as far as the parents can explain to their child about dignity of labor, it is not difficult for the kid to grasp the importance of earning money on the side while studying for school. As the old saying goes, as you sow, so shall you reap.

While that certainly being a long and detailed list as to what parents could possibly do to model their kids to earn that extra buck and gain fiscal independence, what parents need to do is understand their kids before broaching the topic with them and not jump ship and taking the stern turn if kids respond badly. Children will be children, and each is different.

There is no dearth of jobs out there. All you need to do is direct your kid towards it. Kids are not like adults. While adults go ahead armed with research and knowing what to do, kids need to be gently directed, and certainly not pushed, or they will both lose interest completely and not bother. There is no perfectly comfortable way to sit down and model your child to earn money on the side, and there is no perfect way to explain to them as to why they should do it. Also, this task isn’t a one-day job. As explained earlier, it has to be sculpted into family patterns, behavior and roles that parents play for their children for them to see at first hand.

Through uncomfortable questions about money, honest conversations at the dinner table, properly communicated ideas and a desire to do something about it – both from the parents’ as well as the kids’ – this process can see long term success. And if none of the above works, then parents – make them watch the movie ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’. If living a life of debt, running from debtors and frozen credit cards don’t scare them, then what else will! Cha-ching!


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