How putting your kids to work can save you money and prepare them for life

Raising children of your own is one of life’s greatest rewards … but boy oh boy, it can sure get expensive!

Not to put you off, but the average household with two children between five and 14 could spend up to a whopping $1,670 per week on bills, food and fun, according to MoneySmart.

What if there was a way to make that cheaper, while also giving your kids a solid foundation for the road of life ahead?

Here are our thoughts on why putting kids to work in part time jobs could be great for both you and them.

Pocket money? No need

In a study commissioned by one of the major banks, it is estimated that the total pocket-money economy of Australia is worth $1.4 billion per year. The average young person between the ages of 13 and 15 is given $14.11 each week. That amounts to about $733 or so each year.

This might be OK during their younger years, but as kids get older and progress through the teens, they are likely going to want to go out more and more.

This is an opportune time to cut them off from your wallet (or at least phase it out) and encourage them to earn their own cash. If your teens could get minimum wage jobs for $7.41 an hour (a junior rate for kitchen hand workers under the age of 16), for four hours a week, they would be earning double what you offer them.

Obviously you don’t want academic scores to fall to the wayside because of a demanding job, but you can immediately see the financial benefits, and you’re reinforcing a ‘work for reward’ approach to life.

Now you can save

If we crunch these figures, we can see how much money you yourself are likely to save by encouraging your kids into the junior workforce and out of your back pocket.

$14.11 per week for two kids will cost you just over $1,400 per year – add extra if you have more kids at varying ages. Now what if you were able to take that excess money and put it into something for yourself – where would you invest it?

Towards reducing your credit card debt? Extra contributions into your superannuation fund? How about the kids’ education? A family holiday, or a cheeky romantic getaway for two?

Valuable life skills

Despite all the numbers, the most important part of putting your kids to work are the potential life skills they can learn from the experience.

School is great at teaching pupils about specific subjects, but stress and time management, people skills, and a whole host of other great lessons can be learned from working for a living.

In fact, the UK Women’s Business Council suggested that parents should focus more on encouraging teens into jobs, rather than stressing about exam results.

“I think it is the pressure that we are putting children under to excel and exceed in academic life,” said Sue O’Brien, from the Council. “It means that they then don’t get the practical work experience of: ‘This is what it is going to be like to find a job when I leave school’.”

Additionally, we are constantly debating the best model for educating children – long-term generalist schooling or focusing on areas of passion and expertise. Virgin Disruptors recently hosted an event to discuss The Future of Education, and this topic was frequently discussed. While learning about the practicalities of working life, would putting your kids to work help them find a career they are passionate about?

Here are quick highlights from the Virgin Disruptors event:

If your child focuses on both academic studies and working part time, it could set them up in a variety of ways for life ahead.

Should you be putting your kids to work? What are you teaching them about working part time?