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How to make money as a kid: 15 best jobs for kids

Kids can start earning cash from a young age while learning critical life skills.

The best jobs for kids depend on various factors, including where they live, their interests, how much time they have available and whether the work is parent-approved. In addition to providing some money, kid-friendly jobs should also excite them, offer valuable experiences, be low-risk and not cause them to neglect their schoolwork.

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15 best jobs for kids at any age

Although some of these jobs may initially require adult supervision and assistance, they help teach responsibility and life skills. Plus, as your kid gets better at the job, your role will likely shift from a hands-on assistant to a periodic supervisor.

1. Walking dogs

Dog walking for neighbors might be an excellent fit for youth who love dogs and are responsible enough to handle them. But be sure your child wouldn’t be at risk of getting injured or accidentally harming a pet. Parents should help kids understand how to handle a dog and the best places to walk them safely.

2. Babysitting

Babysitting is another job for responsible preteens and teens. Parents can enroll them in an online or in-person childcare course to ensure they have the right skills, such as performing basic first aid, knowing age-appropriate activities and managing an emergency. Parents who remain at home may pay kids to look after their younger siblings to earn money.

3. House and pet sitting

If you have friends or neighbors who leave home for work or vacation, kids can take care of their pets by feeding them and taking them out to play. They can also water plants, bring in mail, and ensure the property is secure until the owners return.

4. Helping senior neighbors

If you have elderly friends or neighbors who need assistance with household chores, cooking, or yard work, it could be an excellent opportunity for kids to help out and earn some money. While working, kids might develop close relationships and learn valuable life lessons.

5. Washing cars

Washing cars for friends and neighbors can help youth and teens get some exercise and earn extra cash, especially during the summer months when the weather is warm. Parents should ensure kids have the right supplies and can scrub a vehicle without scratching it.

6. Cutting grass

In many parts of the country, homeowners’ lawns grow faster than they can cut them, especially when they’re away for work or vacation. Depending on the season, kids can help neighbors and friends maintain their lawns. Parents should ensure children are safe and comfortable using the equipment provided, such as a walk-behind, gas-powered, or electric lawn mowers. Keep in mind that some states have a minimum age requirement of 12- to 16-years-old to operate a lawn mower.

7. Raking leaves

Even younger kids can learn how to use a rake and clean up yards. It’s great exercise and gets kids out of the house when the weather cools off. Kids can work under a parent’s supervision or on their own to gather and bag up leaves.

8. Pulling weeds

Getting rid of unsightly weeds growing in lawns and flower beds is a constant struggle for many homeowners. Kids can earn money pulling them for you, your friends and your neighbors. Parents can provide good-fitting gloves and help kids recognize desirable versus invading plants that need to go.

9. Gardening

If your child enjoys the outdoors and digging in the dirt, planting flowers or tending to a garden is a fun way to earn money. Depending on the time of year and wealth, your neighbors may want help installing new flowers in pots or in-ground beds. Or if your child’s garden bears fruit, you can save the trip to the supermarket by buying ingredients from them.

10. Skimming pools

If you, your friends, or neighbors have a pool, kids can earn money keeping them clean. Children can skim leaves and remove debris from swimming pools with the homeowner or on their own. Parents should make sure kids are strong swimmers and wouldn’t be at risk of having an injury.

11. Shoveling snow

In many areas, homeowners need help clearing snow from driveways, sidewalks and entryways during the winter months. It’s an excellent way for strong kids to stay active, help out their neighbors and earn some cash.

12. Painting fences

If you or your neighbors have wood fences that need to be painted from time to time, kids can learn how to do it. From scraping off old paint to priming and painting, older kids can help do the job when the weather is good.

13. Washing windows

Cleaning interior or exterior windows is a task you can teach most kids. Parents can ensure kids have the proper supplies and skills to safely use a ladder for any windows above arm’s length.

14. Helping a family business

If you’re a business owner or know one who needs light office work, such as filing, cleaning or shredding paper, kids can help. It introduces kids to what it means to run a business and the different tasks that are required. Plus, you might be able to deduct your child’s wages as a business expense.

15. Creating goods to sell

Kids who enjoy creating items, such as jewelry, hats or pottery, can brainstorm how to create sales. Whether they bake, knit or make a killer lemonade, there’s probably a market online or at a local farmers market for your young entrepreneur.

Ways to earn money by age

The best job for your kid depends on their maturity and physical abilities. Here are a few ideas for how kids can earn money by age group and the skills they can earn from their jobs.

AgeJobSkills learned
5- to 9-year-olds
  • Lemonade stand
  • Housework, such as organizing and folding clothes
  • Yardwork, such as pulling weeds and collecting leaves
  • Sales
  • Customer service
  • Finances
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Creativity
  • Independence
  • Organization
  • Hand-eye-coordination
10- to 13-year-olds
  • Tutoring
  • Housework, such as washing clothes
  • Plant sitting
  • Personal growth
  • Self-esteem
  • Independence
  • Responsibility
14- to 17-year-olds
  • Internships
  • Camp counselor
  • Coaching sports
  • Babysitting
  • Car washes
  • Real-life work experience
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Confidence
  • Leadership
  • Effective communication
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving skills

Early teens is the best age for kids to start working

When it comes to knowing when your kid should get a job, Lorie Anderson from the parental advice blog Mominformed says, “The tween years from age 11 to 13 and early teen years from 14 to 16 are the best times for kids to consider earning their own spending money.” She believes that’s when children begin to understand the value of money and want to make their own purchases.

The best age for kids to start working is when they’re interested in earning their own money. If they’re not motivated to work, it’s probably a bad idea. But if parents show kids how finances work, like creating business profit, sticking to a basic budget and saving for items they want to buy, it may encourage youth and teens to work.

Keep in mind that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the minimum legal age for most jobs at 14 years old. And kids under 16 are subject to work hour rules. For example, your 14- and 15-year-old cannot work more than three hours on a school day. But some jobs, such as babysitting, may be exempt from FLSA regulations.

6 benefits of kids having jobs

Children and youth can learn many lessons and develop skills from their employment. Some benefits include:

  1. Builds life savings. An employed youth can contribute to a retirement account, such as a Roth IRA. Minors can contribute their earnings up to $6,000 for 2021. That opens the door for kids to start investing and get a head start on retirement savings.
  2. Gain confidence. Other significant advantages for kids getting jobs are meeting new people, building independence and confidence in their abilities and having fun. Work also allows youth and teens to manage their own money by deciding whether to save, spend or donate it.
  3. Develops determination. Kids who work may also learn that jobs and businesses can be challenging and work is a tradeoff for their time. When faced with a difficult situation, such as losing a customer or getting fired, youth have the chance to develop perseverance and grit.
  4. Grows responsibility. Anderson says, “Work has a number of benefits for tweens and young teens, including personal responsibility, following through on commitments, financial literacy, and independence. Work also gives kids a sense of identity and maturity at an age when they’re rapidly growing and developing the habits they will carry into adulthood.”
  5. Helps with time management. According to Laurie Kopp Weingarten, CEP, President and Chief Educational Consultant at One-Stop College Counseling, when kids work, it helps them hone their time-management skills. She says, “They have to figure out how to manage school, homework and work.”
  6. Establishes money management skills. Scott Nelson, CEO of MoneyNerd, says an important benefit of a kid getting a job is, “They could start becoming more independent, have a greater understanding from an early age what careers they may want or not want, and finally they could actually gain some valuable experience from it either for college or beyond.” He notes that this experience may include teaching kids how to manage money and look after themselves.

Should I pay my kids to complete household chores?

It depends. Some parents believe that chores are simply a part of being a member of the family. Others believe that earning money for chores helps kids develop financial skills early on.

And the middle ground is that parents may choose not to reward their kids for doing necessary things, such as dusting or tidying up. But are willing to pay for tasks that go above and beyond, such as watering the plants or feeding pets.

Kids chore calculator

Calculate how much to pay your kids for completing their chores by selecting your state, child's age, child's savings goal, and chore.

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Chore rates are based on suggestions from experts. See our methodology.

Keep track of earned income with kids’ bank accounts

It’s also important to teach kids how to manage the money they earn from their hard work. Instead of spending all their hard-earned cash, a good way to show them how to save for the future is by giving them the tools to track their income using a kid-friendly account.

  • Kids’ debit cards. Prepaid debit cards like Greenlight teach financial literacy skills and allow parents to load funds onto a debit card. On the other hand, a kids’ checking account is a traditional bank account that comes with a debit or ATM card with you as a joint account owner. The best kids’ debit cards come with strong parental controls and helpful financial literacy tools.
  • Kids’ savings account. If your little one is a saver and wants their money to continue working for them in the form of APY, a kids’ savings account with you as a joint owner might be a better option.
  • Kids’ investment accounts. If your young entrepreneur is also interested in investments, consider an investment account that lets your kids research, pick and invest in stocks, ETFs and bonds.
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Written by

Money Expert and Spokesperson

Laura Adams is a money expert and spokesperson for Finder. She's one of the nation’s leading personal finance and business authorities. As an award-winning author and host of the top-rated Money Girl podcast since 2008, millions of readers, listeners, and loyal fans benefit from her practical advice. Laura is a trusted source for media and has been featured on most major news outlets, including ABC, Bloomberg, CBS, Consumer Reports, Forbes, Fortune, FOX, Money, MSN, NBC, NPR, NY Times, USA Today, US News, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and more. She received an MBA from the University of Florida and lives in Vero Beach, Florida. Her mission is to empower consumers to live healthy and rich lives by making the most of what they have, planning for the future, and making smart money decisions every day. See full bio

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Co-written by

Writer

Kimberly Ellis is a personal finance writer at Finder, specializing in banking and financial literacy. After teaching in public and private schools, Kimberly zeroed in on personal financial education to help families and kids develop lifelong money skills. She hails from New York City, graduating summa cum laude from Queens College with a BA in elementary education and mathematics, as well as a New York State teaching certificate. She’s also an aspiring polyglot, always in a book and forever on the hunt for the perfect classic red lipstick. See full bio

Kimberly's expertise
Kimberly has written 94 Finder guides across topics including:
  • Kids' banking
  • Financial literacy for kids
  • K–12 education

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