Polk Moms

Connecting moms in Polk County, Fla.

Our 16-year-old daughter is making herself pretty good money for babysitting this summer. We have a couple of younger kids who are too young to be hired anywhere but are dying to make money like their big sister. Do you have any ideas for things kids aged 9 and 11 can do to make a little spending money?

If you are willing to help them with paper routes, they can make pretty good money. That's what we did with our younger daughter while her older sister had a regular part-time job watching a neighbor's little daughter three times a week. Just be ready to help with separating, rolling and rubber banding the papers and getting up early. Once they get the hang of it, let them do as much as possible so they feel like they're actually doing the job. And, if they decide to continue into the fall or to do it again the following summer, they'll have the basic experience. - Heather S. in Dallas, TX

FROM JODIE:

This is a good problem to have. Your daughter has inspired her younger siblings to become independent income earners, even though they may be a little young to get hired by a company or for a babysitting gig. Depending on their ages, they may be able to do various jobs for neighbors as a team or perhaps get individual ones. For example, they could possibly ask people if they could rake their yards, help with weeding flower beds, clean or straighten up garages, wash outside lower windows, maybe bring up someone's newspapers or mail each day, etc. If they are really motivated, and old enough to cut lawns, that might work as well. Of course, you will have to approve the use of your lawn mower. But if they save their money, they could buy one of their own in a couple of summers. Also, walking other people's pets is always a good opportunity, maybe even cleaning out bird cages or washing out outside water bowls and refilling them. Some of these might even be extended into a year-long commitment. They might be able to print fliers and post them around the neighborhood. This would help to make people aware that they are interested in and available to do various types of chores. Be sure to let your kids make mistakes in whatever responsibilities that they accept. This is about the only way that they will be able to know the potential consequences of a specific error and to learn from it.

CAN YOU HELP?

Our 17-year-old will be driving his car to school this year, but the insurance seems pretty high. Are there some tips to finding a lower cost? Also, he'll have a part-time job. I think he should help to pay for his gas. His dad doesn't care. What do you think?

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