Summer jobs and money-makers for kids

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I asked my kids how they are going to earn money over the summer holidays.

They came up with all sorts of ideas, from selling things they no longer need to busking to upping their babysitting hours and making things to sell. I'm encouraging them to do it all.

Summer holidays are a perfect time for kids of all ages to learn about earning money by trading their time and skills.

You have more time to talk to them about spending and saving too.

Summer is a busy time: there are more jobs in retail and food preparation, babysitters are in demand, weeds are growing and lawns need to be mown.

Kids have plenty of time.

Older kids can take on a summer job.

It's a good idea to land one well before schools break up to avoid the rush, particularly if it is your first job and you lack experience.

A friend of mine's son applied to stack shelves at his local supermarket. He had to attend an aptitude information evening session with the other contenders for the job, to assess his abilities.

If your kids are too young to work in a shop, let them earn money over the summer by doing extra chores around the house and garden.

They can wash dishes, make beds, babysit their siblings and clean out cupboards.

You need to treat each task like a proper job and set out what is expected, decide on a fee and pay them when it is done. Encourage them with praise.

Parents may have to help their kids move off the couch and give them ideas of what kinds of services the neighbours might pay for.

It can be looking after pets, collecting mail and newspapers, or pulling out weeds, mowing the lawn and watering gardens while they are away.

You may need to build up their confidence and let the neighbours know that they are looking for holiday work, or even design flyers to drop into targeted mailboxes.

Encourage your kids to hold a garage sale and plan how to market it to your neighbourhood by making posters and flyers.

They can organise it during the holidays, but it is best to hold it when schools go back to make sure there are plenty of parents with kids around to come and buy.

My 13-year-old is going to sell her hardly worn horse-riding helmet, jodhpurs and boots online. She bought all this with her own savings when she went through an expensive horse craze.

If you have a child who knows all about computers, market this.

They can help out all sorts of people who need help with their computers or help someone connect a set-top box to their TV.

Creativity is a real asset. Artistic kids can make Christmas cards or ornaments they can sell to you, relatives and friends.

Musical kids can busk in busy spots - just check with the local council about rules for busking and the cost of obtaining a licence.

Once your kids have some money, teach them to save part of it.

There may not be as many opportunities during the year as there are in the summer holidays.

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Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.

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