Money Making Ideas for the Motivated Preteen

How many of us have told our kids they can get what they want, as long as they pay for it?


Easy to do when you’re 16 and can get a job bagging groceries, but what about when you’re 12 or 13?

With a little entrepreneurial spirit and plenty of time off this summer, your preteen can go from cash poor to cash full.

Most of these job options are tried and true options from our youth. We’ve just added a few suggestions to make your preteen more marketable.

What parent isn’t looking for a good babysitter? Summer is an ideal time for preteens to start babysitting, either as a mother’s helper or full-fledge caregiver. Many communities offer babysitting courses that teach important safety information, and the American Red Cross offers a one-day Babysitter’s Bootcamp.

Vacation Back-up
There are plenty of neighbors looking for short-term summer help with dog walking, plant watering, mail getting and whatever else needs attending to while people travel. Help your child create a flier with name, age, address and phone number. Include a list of odd jobs and distribute it through the neighborhood. Suggest hand-delivering the flier so neighbors can put a name to a face.

Lawn Care
No time like a recession to get a job cutting grass. Most people would rather pay a responsible neighborhood kid than a pricey landscaping service – especially if she’s got her own mower.

Counselor in Training (CIT)
Many local park districts offer counselor-in-training programs, but most are volunteer positions and spots fill up in early spring. There are a few local private camps that offer paid CIT positions, particularly if you are an alumnus.

Many private golf clubs offer caddy programs for boys and girls age 13 and older. It helps to have knowledge of the game going in, and many clubs started taking applicants in early spring.

Illinois law allows children age 12 and older to officiate at youth sport activities, provided they are at least 3 years older than the kids in the game or there is another adult present. For information on how to become a soccer referee, visit for clinic schedules. If hockey is your game, lists local training seminars.

Start at home
If you think about it, there are plenty of odd jobs at home that you could just as easily pay your own child vs. an expensive service. Why pay someone else to spread the mulch, power wash the patio or wash the windows? With a little guidance, your preteen can make some pocket change and get off your back.

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