Get a Job

Kids clearly have the monopoly on summer, but too often all that free time gets the better of them-and you. If junior begins schlepping around the house complaining, “I don’t have anything to do,” suggest working. It may go over better than you think. The rite of passage implicit with earning one’s own money, even the smallest sums, is significant and can be the source of great pride. It’s also highly individualized, and what’s right for one child isn’t neccesarily right for another.

If your family’s summer schedule prohibits your child from taking on a job with specific hours, but your child shows interest in working, suggest self-employment. Jobs that can keep him or her in the neighborhood are ideal, and after telling a few neighbors, word of mouth will provide the advertising. Lawn mowing, pool cleaning, pet feeding, baby sitting and window washing are all in high demand during the summer. There aren’t any standard rates for these jobs, although most are set by the employer and should be negotiated at the outset. Even doing family chores for an allowance or set fees can give your child something to do while making him or her more understanding of time, responsibility and a hard day’s work.

For the youngest children, the lemonade stand remains the traditional initiation into capitalism, if not the work ethic. What it teaches them, we’re not sure, except how to make a mess. Believe it or not, lemonade and Kool-Aid stands can actually be profitable. Last summer, a medium-sired Dixie cup of lemonade was going for between 10 and 20 cents, but this spring we found some 4-footers hustling little more than a swig for a shocking two bits- in Highland Park.

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