As the days get warmer, many families take time to tackle household projects they sidelined all winter. We'd suggest you add special opportunities to teach your kids about earning money.

As parents, our primary job is to help our children become independent, financially-secure adults. What better method than to teach them how to earn money and help them build a strong work ethic? We have a few topics and activities that you should discuss with your children that will help them learn about earning income. These suggestions are based on sound empirical research and are in alignment with the National Financial Literacy Framework and Standards.

Provide An Allowance. Provide your children ways they can earn extra money. Give them a set of chores they need to accomplish or list out activities they can do to earn extra money. Pay them based on how well they complete the chore. If the quality of their work doesn't meet your standards, give them the opportunity to correct the problem or reduce their pay. Use these chores to talk with them about some of your past jobs and what today's workplace is like.

Career Exploration. You probably have some ideas about the things your children enjoy doing. Help them turn their passions into careers. Research available jobs. Study the salaries and educational requirements. Review job descriptions and skill sets for ideal candidates. Help your kids develop a plan to build skill sets that will help them achieve their career goals.

Entrepreneurship Exploration. Ask children to share ideas about companies that interest them. Do some research together to learn more about how the company got its start. Who were the original founders? What have been their successes and challenges? What skills did they possess? Use any information you find to spark a discussion. Listen to your children's entrepreneurial vision. Don't judge – just let them talk and encourage them to refine their business plans.

Bridge Chores and Insurance Game. Make a bet with your children. Choose one of their household chores – washing dishes, picking up toys, etc. Get a deck of cards and pull out one suit. If kids draw an even number or face card, they have to do five extra chores. Then give them the option to purchase insurance: doing one extra chore protects them from drawing a card and having to do five extras. Let them decide. Be sure to follow through with the consequences. Use the opportunity to explain your family's various insurance policies and the protections they offer.

Money is like a garden tool – if you learn to use it correctly, you can help beautiful things grow. Having money is not the end goal. It's what money allows us to do that matters. Take time this summer break to put 'talk with the kids about money' on your family's agenda. It will pay off, in more ways than you may imagine. •

Trevor Stoll heads financial literacy campaigns for the National Financial Educators Council. The NFEC is a coalition of leading financial literacy experts and organizations that represent the best practices in the financial education industry. Serving people of all ages and backgrounds, the NFEC provides practical financial education solutions that are engaging and inspire people to take positive action. Learn more at www.FinancialEducatorsCouncil.org 


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