Great Summer Jobs for an 8-Year-Old

Eight-year-olds are far too young to hold a typical job -- and, in the vast majority of cases, they're not ready to take on serious responsibilities, use heavy or sharp equipment, or handle complex tasks. On the other hand, they ARE old enough to understand the idea of making and spending their own money. They're also, in most cases, capable of taking on specific types of work and (with instruction and support) following through. It's important to remember, however, that an eight-year-old will not have the knowledge or life experience (or maturity) to make the same decisions an adult would make -- so it's up to the grown-ups in your child's life to supervise and direct their work.

1
Yard Work

Kids playing with potts in greenhouse
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Eight-year-olds, by and large, are not especially big or strong -- nor are they ready to start handling anything sharp or gas-powered. They may also be too young to take independent responsibility for an ongoing job. But that doesn't mean they can't put in a paid hour or two of yard work on a regular basis, particularly during certain times of the year. Options include yard clean-up (always helpful in spring!), helping to plant bulbs or seeds, spreading mulch, weeding, raking, harvesting vegetables, and more. Young children can also help with snow shoveling (though cleaning off a car may be a more manageable task). More

2
Refreshment Stand

Girl selling lemonade at lemonade stand
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Lemonade stands are, of course, a classic way for kids to make a little money -- and it's easy to turn a simple lemonade stand into a more ambitious lemonade-and-cookie stand. The problem with such an enterprise is that it can be very hard to make more than a few nickels from Mom and Dad unless the stand is appropriately located and advertised. Even then, there can be issues with licensing (depending upon your location). Before encouraging your child to set up shop, do a little local research to determine the best spot for the stand and to be sure there will be no legal issues to contend with. More

3
Car Wash and Detail

Children washing car
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If you have an appropriate location, a hose, and a few friends with dirty cars, your child can make a reasonable amount of money setting up a car wash. Be sure, of course, that your child has the proper equipment (appropriate soaps, sponges, and towels), and help him or her to set a price, advertise to neighbors, and collect money. Be sure, too, that your child is doing a reasonably good job, and is not leaving soap bubbles all over your neighbor's car!  If your child is really ambitious and energetic, he or she might also try using a dust buster to clean car interiors! More

4
Housework

Boy hovering nursery
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Housework is never glamorous, but it takes on a lot more charm when you're paid to do it. Of course, you don't want to pay your child to do his or her regular chores, but there are usually jobs -- such as dusting bookcases or cleaning baseboards -- that are rarely assigned as ordinary chores and CAN be done safely and effectively by an 8-year-old child. More

Make Work a Positive Experience

Your child's first money-making opportunity should be a positive experience, a way to learn new skills, earn some respect, and take responsibility. As the parent, it's up to you to be sure that problems are addressed before they turn into serious issues so that your child will be excited about his or her next job opportunity.