Ah, summertime. For many parents, it's a chance to kick back, relax, and enjoy the less frazzled pace of those precious school-free months. But summertime is also a great opportunity to impart some key financial lessons to your children -- and that's precisely why you should be encouraging your kids to get a job. Here are just a few reasons to insist that your children find work while school isn't in session.
1. They'll learn that money needs to be earned
That allowance your kids are used to collecting? Chances are they aren't doing much to earn it, and as such, they have a pretty easy time spending it on nonsense. But if you help your kids find jobs this summer, they'll see what it's like to actually put some effort into earning money -- which will help them cherish it much more.
Not only will working for money help your children appreciate that cash, but you'll have a prime opportunity to teach them about saving and prioritizing their spending. It's one thing for your child to beg for a $60 device, but it's another for him to stop and think about whether that item is actually worth an entire day of his time.
Finally, assuming your kids get paid on the books, they'll get an early introduction to the world of income taxes. And while that's not necessarily something to celebrate, at least this way they'll be prepared for what lies ahead.
2. You'll save money on entertainment
Most kids aren't content with spending weeks on end lounging around the house or roaming around the neighborhood. So it stands to reason that if your children are home for the summer and don't have jobs, you could end up spending a small fortune on theme parks, movie tickets, and whatever else it takes to keep those kids content. On the other hand, if you put your kids to work during the summer, they'll have less free time to fill with expensive frivolity -- and that could be the key to preserving your budget.
3. They'll be better positioned to pay for college
Though this isn't exactly breaking news, college these days is more expensive than ever before -- so much so that even high-income households struggle to afford it. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2016-2017 school year was:
- $9,650 for in-state public colleges
- $24,930 for out-of-state public colleges
- $33,480 for private colleges
Notice that the above figures don't even include room and board, which averages $10,440 at public universities and $11,890 at private ones.
Of course, there's always the option of taking out student loans, but if you'd rather minimize your debt (and that of your children), it pays to put your kids to work during the summer and insist that they bank their earnings to help pay for college. Remember, every dollar you pay toward tuition up front is a dollar less that will accrue interest down the line. If you sit your kids down and discuss the current student debt crisis in its glaringly disastrous state, chances are, they'll come to appreciate the importance of working and saving money ahead of time.
Children who develop a strong understanding about money early on have a good chance of growing up to be financially responsible adults. Rather than let your kids spend the summer lounging by the pool and texting away, put them to work for a number of weeks and give them a taste of the real world. They'll not only learn some valuable lessons, but they'll come away with a little extra cash to boot.
The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.