I am a firm believer in teaching your kids the value of hard work and the bartering system in life. I used to clean horse stalls, stables, and paddocks when I was a teenager in exchange for riding lessons and horse education. I absolutely loved it and I would never be able to afford it otherwise so this was a great way for me to enjoy one of my favourite past times in exchange for some hard work!
I want my kids to understand that there are other ways to get through life and enjoy fun activities even if they can’t get full time jobs yet. You don’t need money to do everything and that is why my daughter scoops poop once a week. I had my daughter reach out to different farms and stables throughout the month asking if she could clean stalls and paddocks in exchange for lessons and horse experience.
At first it was quite slow going and nobody needed volunteers but I told her to keep her head up and keep trying. Just send a polite message once a month asking if they can offer their services in any way, it didn’t need to be horse related. They can feed animals, clean up after the other areas of the farm, pull weeds, pick fruit and veggies, anything that they needed done they can offer.
Then they got the call, we got into a local stable for manure scooping. The girls learned all about riding styles, tack prep, grooming, horse care, and now riding. We definitely aren’t in the position to buy a horse right now or sign her up for continuous lessons so this is the best way to teach her the value of hard work and get something great out of the deal.
Teaching our daughter that we can trade services is so important this day and age as prices of everything continue to rise and she is only 13. She now has the power to offer her services to other farms and branch out to different skills and lessons in life. The possibilities of where this type of trade can be applied are endless. She could offer to volunteer at any establishment for free experiences now and this could get her all types of fun and exciting adventures!
She now has a connection to horses we never thought she would get and now if they need to hire a hard working young girl and pay her they have her kicking around!
So if your child has an interest that you can’t afford to explore on your income it may be worth it to see what kind of bartering you can dish up and get your kids earning their way into a new hobby. Where else can this type of system be implemented?
Your child might enjoy riding dirt bikes or quads. If there is a place that rents them or you know someone who owns some you could offer their labour in exchange for some lessons or rides.
Maybe your child loves animals but you can’t have a million pets where you live or just don’t want to have a bunch in your home. You can ask around at shelters and veterinarians to see if they need volunteers and in exchange they get to be around a bunch of different animals. Another great thing to do is offer a dog walking service or pet sitting service and they can start making a bit of money.
Ask around local businesses, or vendors that peak your child’s interest and see what you can do to get them in and working in exchange for their services! If you live close to a local amusement park, trampoline park, gym, indoor play centre, arcade, movie theatre, or farm you can always find a way to get passes, entry, or experiences in exchange for odd jobs or hard work! All you have to do is ask because if your child is under 14 they can’t actually hire them to work so exchanging services is your best option!
When I was younger I used to volunteer as a dish washer at a local restaurant to get line cooking lessons after hours. There are so many different ways to gain experience by contacting the owner and discussing options. I also did a lot of babysitting when I was growing up most of the time it was for cash but if they have other stuff your interested in maybe you should make an offer. I have even worked off items I found for sale by doing jobs like this. We bought one of our first cars by redoing the persons roof in exchange so that type of bartering is always worth asking about!
Hopefully this helps to teach your child the value of hard work, and encourages them to be creative when bartering for life experiences and entertainment. I love the fact that I don’t have to spend any money on lessons and my daughter gets so much more out of it then just the opportunity to ride. She is learning lessons for life and her future!