Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - October 15, 2010

Kids find many ways to earn their money

Babysitting, mowing lawns -- the list goes on

by Katie Lyness

Many kids ask their parents for money when they need it, but some kids prefer to earn their money themselves. Although it might be more difficult to work for money as a kid, in the end they feel accomplished and spend their earnings more wisely than if their parent had just handed it to them.

Kaitlyn Schnierer, an eighth-grader at Pleasanton Middle School, babysits, typically one or two nights a week. She usually lets the parents decide how much to pay her by how the number of kids or how well she does, and she enjoys the time she spends babysitting.

Kaitlyn describes her job as being mostly easy.

"I just have to entertain the kids, feed them lunch or dinner, and anything else their parents ask me to do," she says.

Not only is her job mostly easy, but it's fun, too. Occasionally if the parents of the children ask for two babysitters, she brings a friend.

With or without a friend, Kaitlyn loves to play with the children and learn their different personalities, and she brings toys and games so the kids will have fun. She knows that even the simplest game or toy will be fun if it is something new and different.

Kaitlyn remembers her own experiences from when she had sitters. She uses some of her old babysitters as role models for how to act with the kids that she babysits now.

While Kaitlyn is working, she is also learning, she says, including that working for money is exciting. The only disadvantage is that once she has committed to a job, she can't back out.

"If a friend asks if you want to hang out, but you already agreed to babysit, you can't decline," Kaitlyn says.

Some of the advantages she names are meeting new people and getting paid. Also, she finds that babysitting motivates her more in other aspects of life. From babysitting, Kaitlyn says that she learns to manage her time well. Plus she has the satisfaction of doing a good job, especially when the kids are hugging her and are excited for the next time.

To help Kaitlyn, her parents drive her to and from the house where she is babysitting. In addition, they help her arrange the times and dates for babysitting, and they encourage her to do a good job.

When Kaitlyn has earned her money she can choose to spend it or save it. She likes to spend it on frozen yogurt when she goes to Yogoholic with her friends, and also on magazines, and on makeup.

Other kids in Pleasanton earn their money, too. Some mow the lawns in their neighborhood, help out around the house, walk dogs, run their own at-home businesses, collect recyclables and more.

Max Gershman, a Pleasanton eighth-grader, often works at Congregation Beth Emek in Pleasanton. He helps prepare food for various functions at the Jewish temple, and cleans up afterward.

Aditya Palapati, a sixth-grade boy at Pleasanton Middle School, says, "I do the laundry and take out the trash. I'd also like to start walking people's dogs for money."

Kristin Farris, an eighth-grader who is new to Pleasanton, says she helps out her parents by making lunches every morning, doing the dishes, and helping with dinner.

"I also babysit sometimes, and I think that it motivates me to work harder," she adds.

Though most kids earn their money through chores, Neela Yar, an eighth-grader, receives money from her parents but does some helpful things for no money at all.

"I mow the lawn, mop/vacuum the floors, and help with our cats," says Neela.

She feels like she works very hard even though she does not actually get paid a specific price for a specific job.

Everyone benefits when children are hired to do a job. The kids get paid, while the adults save money since kids can often do the same work at a price much more favorable to the adult.

Most of the time parents appreciate their children working hard for their money so they add their own incentive. For example, some parents will "match" the amount of their child's earnings to support their hard work and encourage them to work for money in the future. Other parents reward their children with extra privileges.

"When children earn their own money, they learn the value of a dollar at a young age and are much more likely to become careful spenders as adults," says parent Nancy Lyness.

--Katie Lyness is a youth correspondent for the Pleasanton Weekly. She is an eighth-grader at Pleasanton Middle School.

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