Age-Appropriate Jobs for Nine-Year-Olds

They're not quite tweens yet, but as most will be glad to tell you, they're not little kids, either. Although most nine-year-olds love doing small jobs and tasks to show that they're old enough to handle responsibility, they're not quite ready to be left unsupervised yet. However, there are plenty of age-appropriate tasks and helper jobs that can help them earn some money and teach them responsibility—and, in some cases, even a skill.

Yard Work

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A 9-year-old is probably too young to safely use a lawnmower, but he can definitely learn his way around a rake. Cleaning up grass clippings and leaves is a good task for kids this age. They can also learn how to use a garden hose to clean a deck or to water flowers. Just gauge your child's dexterity. It might be safer for everyone involved if they stick with the hose for a little while before you entrust them with pointy objects. 

Parent's Helper

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A child this age is probably too young to babysit, but they can help mind a younger child while mom balances the budget or dad does the laundry nearby. This way of introducing babysitting to your child can make them feel more confident when they're old enough to care for other children unsupervised.

Household Chores for an Allowance

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Consider placing a whiteboard in a prominent place where you can list age-appropriate chores that your child can tackle along with a compensating dollar amount—their allowance for that particular task. 

Age-appropriate chores might include helping with laundry, pulling trash cans out to the curb for pickup, or washing the family car. You can tweak the tasks to skills that match their age.

Maybe they can't safely unload the dishwasher without climbing up on a chair to put the dishes in an upper cupboard, but they can stack them up on a counter for you. 

Walking a Dog

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Not every child is suited for dog-walking, but you might start by observing how your child handles the responsibility if you have a family pet. This job requires some degree of adult supervision, but it could be a good way for them to learn how and why schedules are important. 

But get to know the animal in question before you let your child take on this type of job with another family. Pets can be quirky. A large Dalmatian that takes off like a bullet whenever a car backfires can be very difficult if not impossible for a child to handle. 

House-Sitting Assistant

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House-sitting is typically more suitable for slightly older children if they're going to do the jobs solo. A nine-year-old will likely need some help. You might suggest that they act as an assistant when you or an older sibling stop by a neighbor's house to collect the mail or water the plants while the neighbor is out of town. Give the child a specific task at each visit. This will help give them a feeling of ownership over the job and a sense of responsibility.

The Family Business

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Not everyone has this opportunity, but a family business offers a solid setting for your nine-year-old to learn about responsibility and wage-earning. They can help with small tasks like filing things alphabetically, stamping letters, or putting away supplies.

A Lemonade Stand

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This is obviously a seasonal activity depending on where you live, but making the lemonade, setting up the table, and making signs are all tasks that a nine-year-old she be able to handle. Your child will learn about customer service and how to count change, both skills that will serve her well in jobs she might have in the future. 

An adult should be nearby to supervise and your child's lemonade stand should be on a quiet street within view of your house. Set a time limit for "hours of operation" so your nine-year-old doesn't get tired or discouraged if sales aren't going well.

Check into any licensing issues you might face before your child sets up a lemonade stand. Some municipalities come down hard on unlicensed businesses, even when they're staffed and run by children.

You Know Your Child Better Than Anyone

At the end of the day, age is just a number. Mozart composed his first published music when he was only 5. You know your child. You know his quirks and his talents. If Mozart's mom had suggested that he give music lessons, he probably would have aced the job, but he might have totally botched the job had he been faced with an unruly dog.

Try small tasks out at home first. Identify your child's affinity. Then supervise, supervise, supervise ...and turn her loose.