Job opportunities for children are limited, but not impossible to find. Sure, the minimum working age in the United States is 14, and some states may have a higher minimum employment age. However, there are certain exceptions, plus other ways besides traditional employment to make a few quick bucks.
Need some ideas? Here are nine simple ways for kids to make money online and offline.
How to earn money as a kid
1. Do chores and odd jobs around the house or neighborhood
Kids who are old enough to help out with household responsibilities and yardwork can cash in on their chores. For example, families can assign a dollar value to tasks like washing the dishes, vacuuming, folding laundry or pulling weeds.
Another option: Ask friends and neighbors about opportunities or use social networking groups to find work in your community, if allowed. Teens 13 years of age and older can offer services such as babysitting, dog walking or mowing lawns through the Nextdoor app.
2. Sell stuff in person or online
Getting rid of unwanted clothes, books, toys, furniture and more can be a quick way to make money. Kids can organize a garage or yard sale, or sell items through apps and websites. The marketplace OfferUp is available to children 16 and older, with parental supervision.
Crafty kids can also sell their art, jewelry, T-shirts and other creations online. Children ages 13 to 17 may use a parent or legal guardian’s account (with their permission) to sell on Etsy. Parents and guardians can operate accounts on behalf of children under 13.
Don’t have any items to sell? Set up a good old-fashioned lemonade stand (most states require a permit, so check local laws first).
Freelancing can help teenagers make money online and build their portfolios. It provides flexible hours, the potential to set your own rates and a market for just about any skill you can think of. Potential jobs include writing blog posts, designing logos, editing a podcast or creating a website.
Most freelancing marketplaces restrict eligibility to people 18 years old and over, but you’ll find some sites with younger age limits. Fiverr, for example, is open to users 13 and older. If existing websites and apps are too limiting, ask a parent to help you set up your own freelancing business. Learn about more business ideas for teens with an entrepreneurial mindset.
4. Become a tutor
If you excel in one or more school subjects, help fellow students by offering your services as a tutor. Asking classmates or siblings to hire you is a good strategy to start. You can also post flyers in places like schools, libraries and coffee shops — just make sure to get approval first.
5. Teach others a skill
Spread the word about hobbies and talents you have that others may want to learn. For example, you can host a coding class or give music, cooking or art lessons.
6. Take surveys
Taking online surveys usually doesn’t require skills or experience, which can be a good fit for kids with ample free time. Some sites, including Swagbucks and MyPoints, are open to teens as young as 13. Here’s how they work: Users earn cash, gift cards or other rewards for answering questions and sharing opinions on different topics.
However, this work has drawbacks: It can be mind-numbing, pays little and often requires survey takers to share their demographics or other personal information. Kids and parents should consider these things before proceeding.
7. Monetize your social media accounts
Making money with social media takes time and dedication. Still, plenty of kids have earned recognition — and dollars — from dancing, reviewing toys, giving tutorials and creating other content on popular platforms. TikTok, YouTube and Instagram allow children 13 and up to use their services.
8. Get paid to stream on Twitch
Enjoy playing or talking about video games? There’s an audience for that on Twitch. Kids who are at least 13 years old and have parental or guardian supervision can set up livestreams on the gaming platform and earn money through donations, affiliate marketing, sponsorships and other methods. Learn more about what it takes to make money on Twitch.
9. Search for regular jobs for kids
Child labor laws make a few employment exceptions for children under 14. Kids of any age can work for their parent’s business, for example, or take up certain agricultural and entertainment-industry work. Paper routes may be nearly extinct, but those are permitted too.
Of course, teenagers who meet the standard minimum age requirement have vastly more opportunities available to them. Grocery store, retail and restaurant industry jobs are popular options.
Check out online job boards and inquire about open positions at businesses near you.
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Tips for making money as a kid
Earning money at an early age can foster responsibility, work ethic and a better understanding of how finances work. But it’s important for families to set priorities and ground rules.
Talk to parents, teachers, counselors and other trusted adults. They can offer guidance, supervision (when needed) and even connections to paying gigs in some cases. Check out online resources too. For example, you can learn more about young workers’ rights and job opportunities on the U.S. Department of Labor website.
Always check terms and conditions before using any online platform to make sure you meet the minimum age and other requirements, and watch out for scams.