Crappy Baby is Unemployed

Remember way back two years ago when Crappy Boy wanted a job and so he opened a shop on Etsy making homemade watercolor cards? Two years later and he is still at it. I never would have guessed.

Over the last two years he has saved up for a Lego set and donated to the Duke Lemur Center.

Unfortunately, this lovely earning/saving/donating money experience came with a problem I didn’t anticipate.

Crappy Baby.

No income? No Lego set. No thank you cards from the Lemur Center or glowing praise from family members for choosing to donate your hard-earned cash either.

So, naturally…


He wants to join his brother’s business! Great! It can be a partnership. He can make card sets too!

We set it all up in the backyard and Crappy Boy immediately gets to work painting a new batch.

Crappy Baby though…


He doesn’t want to paint. He want to cut the paper into tiny little pieces instead.

After a day of work, this is their output:


Um, those are really nice pieces of blank paper, Crappy Baby. But I don’t think they are very marketable.  

So now what?

Hmmm, he likes cutting. How can I find him a job that involves cutting?

Completely at a loss for ideas, I decide to let Crappy Baby help with the cutting of the strings that gets wrapped around the card sets.


But there’s still a problem. Crappy Boy doesn’t want to pay him for this. “I could do it myself, Mama.” Also, “It only takes a second to do, I don’t think it is worth much money. It isn’t fair, these are MY cards.”

And he’s right, of course. It isn’t fair to Crappy Boy to make him share his profits on his work when Crappy Baby isn’t doing much of anything.

Yet it also isn’t fair to Crappy Baby to not give him something for his efforts. Oh, how heartbreaking and confusing it was for him when his big brother suddenly had enough money to buy a Lego set and he didn’t.

He really wants to make money, to have a “job” just like his brother. He’s trying! He’s just unemployed.

So what do I do? Should I pay him myself for his cutting efforts? A dime or a quarter perhaps?

Crappy Papa and I have gone back and forth on this issue over the last two years. Sure, we could pay him for doing almost nothing. It makes things easier. He feels like he has a string cutting job and he can save up money just like his brother and not feel left out.

But what happens to his work ethic? Are we setting him up to be a slacker?

What if, in 20 years:



I really don’t know what to do.

I’d love to know…what do you do to teach your kids about money? Making it, saving it, spending it, earning it, donating it? Do you provide ways they can earn money? Do they have an allowance? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  


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189 Responses to Crappy Baby is Unemployed

  1. Rach says:

    That is a tough one! I’d be inclined to pay him myself just a smaller amount like you said. 10 cents a card or something.

    Mine is just 18 months so no money yet and I don’t know what I’ll do.

  2. Rachel says:

    You could let him cut colored paper into small bits and then glue it onto cards, collage-style.

  3. Andrea says:

    We give allowances to our son and daughter and while they do have chores like making their beds and setting the table it isn’t tied to chores. They get their weekly $2 either way and they can do what they wish with the money. My daughter wants to spend it immediately while my son is pretty decent about saving for a few weeks.

    • Elizabeth says:

      We have a similar take on allowance. They have chores to do but are accepted to do them to contribute to the household. Allowance is given regardless. They each have four piggy banks that they have to split their allowance into in hopes of teaching them proper spending habits. One is for future savings like school, one is for donations/charity, and one is for planned spending ( haircuts, pizza days at school, something age appropriate). All three of these each get 20% and the remaining 40% goes to fun spending. A bit complicated but hopefully they are learning some reality about money and how long it takes to save.

  4. Dee says:

    Oh man, allowances!? What is the going rate these days? What age to people start doing that? I’m due in three weeks and love your blog!

    • sam-c says:

      we don’t have a set amount or set chores. we are a little disorganized. we come up with things on the fly for our 5 year old. “here, put the silverware away from the dishwasher and we will give you 10 cents.” “put all your books (that are scattered about the house), away in your bookshelf and you will get 5 cents”, “fold these 10 pairs of your pants, put them away, and you get 10 cents” “help dad pull weeds for 30 minutes and you get a quarter” etc.

  5. Jen says:

    Is he interested in gluing? He could try making mosaics with cut up coloured paper!

  6. Liesl says:

    What if Crappy Baby found his own craft? Or cut up little pieces of colorful paper and pasted them to cards?
    I agree with Andrea’s thoughts on allowance.

  7. Emily says:

    Or, what if in 20 years…
    “I cut some string.”
    “Here’s your dime.”
    “Yay! I can finally buy that lego set I have been saving for!”

    Lol. Really, we don’t have much of a money earning system. Other than gift cards for bdays & holidays…I let them burn them up any way they see fit and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Hoping all the while, of course, that they will catch on to the fact that you should think about what you want and not buy the first crappy thing you see in the dollar bin at Target. :/

  8. Sarah says:

    My oldest started dog walking and watering plants for a neighbor. The younger ones will learn with time that they have to work to get money, I don’t sweat it. I don’t do allowances but they have gotten money for birthday gifts.

  9. Amy says:

    Can you maybe pay him for something unrelated? My just turned four year old gets money for picking up pinecones in the front yard and putting them in a grocery bag (we have a ton).

    She’s mostly happy just playing with the change though, so I only have to fork out a penny per pinecone and she’s happy!

    • amber says:

      Yeah, unrelated is probably ideal. Just not sure what! I did pay them both for cleaning the baseboards of the house once. Money well spent!

      • Sarah says:

        That is a brilliant idea! I wonder if I can get my rugrats to do this.

        • Emma says:

          I bribe my 2 & 4 year old to dust the baseboards with “prizes” from the special prize box (i.e., random selection of party favor crap). They love it!!

          • fuchsia says:

            I pay DD5 for extra chores that she does. She is great at wiping things. Floor, walls, cupboards etc. She thinks she is playing cinderella. Lol. Also really good at cleaning the bath tub since it is basically smearing soap. Play to his strengths. What does he enjoy and find a chore that fits.

      • Claire says:

        I pay my boys to clean the inside of my car. They have to sort trash and put things that have accumulated back where they belong. Then they use a DustBuster to vacuum the floorboards. Sometimes I get them to clean the windows. It’s not a great detailing job, but for a 5 year old, it’s pretty good and my car is much cleaner!

  10. Shannon says:

    What if crappy baby develops his own card line using his cut up paper. Like a modge podge look of scraps and pieces of colored tissue paper. Like a collage. It would be a possible recycle because he could even use left over paper from gifts that are torn or are too wrinkled to reuse!

  11. Ann says:

    My daughters do chores to earn their allowance each week. We have a chart and if all the jobs are checked off they get a dollar. At the end of each month their money gets split up into saving, spending and for church.

  12. Ana says:

    Does crappy baby enjoy gluing too? If so maybe he could make some Matisse style cards? Cut and glue some colorful paper to a folded piece and you have a card! My 4 year old comes to work with me sometimes. She earns money or something from where I work of a certain value based on how much she helped and for how long. She helps price items, helps customers find things, picks up after messy customers and their kids, helps me alphabetized the filing, etc. She is four. I think it helps her learn real world applications of the alphabet, numbers, how to deal with less than pleasant people with s smile, etc.

  13. cassie says:

    I have two kids (girl 11 & boy 17) When they were little I did not give them an allowance or pay them to do regular chores (No one pays me to clean my room or do the dishes!) but I would give them a few bucks if they did a job that was outside of their regularly scheduled chores. Picking up dog poop or scrubbing out trash cans could earn them a little cash. Now that they are a little older, I made the boy get a job (he wants stuff, he can work for it) and I will still pay the girl to pick up poop or preform other stinky and undesirable jobs. I feel like no allowance taught them that they were going to have to get out there and burn some calories if they wanted to reach a goal, no one is ever going to hand you anything!

  14. I dunno this might not really work BUT what if you taught him to crochet a chain and he could make it as long as he wanted, measure it, cut it, and sell it for wrapping gifts or whatever else. Some really cool local Alpaca yard would be awesome. It would go well with the card business. Not sure if he has the hand/eye coordination to do this though. I think him and my daughter are the same age and she is SO close to being able to do it.

  15. Jill says:

    We give an allowance of $5 per week. One dollar for spending, two dollars for saving and two dollars for charity. We use jars.

  16. Brandy says:

    I think it’s important to let Crappy Boy’s business be HIS. It’s pretty awesome he’s doing that so young, and I think pride of ownership is important. I like the mosaic idea, if Crappy Baby wants to do his own line of cards (lots of cutting!)…but I agree with Crappy Boy on this one.

    • amber says:

      Yep, I agree.

    • Jamie says:

      I agree with this, too. I don’t really know, because this mom thing is always a guessing game for me, but I would think that paying Crappy Baby too much for the work he’s doing might de-motivate Crappy Boy, too. Why does he get more money for less work? I have two boys with very different personalities, and it’s a crazy juggling act trying to maximize both of their potential while still being fair. 🙂

      I think Crappy Baby will just have to find the thing that he likes doing to make his own money, and then you can instill the same lessons about charity (which I really love that you do, by the way!), saving, etc.

      Good luck!

  17. Jessica says:

    I love the drawing of grown up crappy baby…I see he hasn’t gone bald like his dad. 😉

  18. Taryn says:

    We don’t do anything with money which probably is a greater reflection of my own poor relationship with it. Goodness, I’m happy to be reading these comments full of ideas!

  19. Sarah says:

    I think doing a paper mâché style artwork is a great idea!

    We don’t do allowances. I grew up being taught that everyone in the family pitches in with chores and that it’s part of what being a family is about. No one gets paid for that. However, there are jobs that are over and above regular chores that we will pay for, and we negotiate a fair $ amount before work starts. For example, my 12yr old carried cinder block for my husband when he built our patio and firepit. He and my husband negotiated a per block rate and my son was paid for it.
    We also encourage investing and saving, along with spending. The kids have investment accounts that they decide, every so often, how much to put in and how much to keep out for spending. (My brother-in-law is an advisor, so now that my son is old enough to understand, they discuss options and expected returns. My daughter is still too young for this, as she’s only 15 1/2 months.)
    This method has worked wonderfully with my son, so I plan to use the same philosophies with my daughter as she grows up.

  20. Meganleiann says:

    Poor Crappy Baby.
    We have a set list of chores (eg. putting the silverware away, cleaning mirrors, wiping baseboards) that my 4-year-old can choose from any time he wants to earn money. They are chores that relieve our load (ish) so we pay him a bit. That way it’s self -initiated. I don’t force him to do chores and he doesn’t beg me for toys.
    He also makes his bed, clears his place at the table and keeps his room and bathroom counter tidy- stuff a normal person should do on his own anyway. So we don’t pay him for those.
    Right now, he’s saving for a Lego TIE-Wing fighter. He averages about 50 cents a day so it takes a few months. It’s working well for us!

    • amber says:

      I like this method, thanks for sharing what you do!

    • Sarah says:

      This is what we do too, out of the ordinary things are for earning money in addition to regular things that they do daily.

    • Jenny says:

      We do this too. I have jobs on cards that can be hung on the fridge. Everyday jobs that just need done (but still have a card so she can show me what she did), slightly harder jobs that earn a sticker (those are currently filling up a coloring page of an ice cream sundae as we’ll go out for it when it’s full), and paying jobs. Generally she gets to choose, but sometimes I post what needs done.

    • Sara says:

      We do something similar. My oldest went through an unhelpful stage that partnered with a christmas/birthday hangover so to remind her that toys cost money and presents are for special occasions, we made a suggested chore list (I hate chore charts!.) anyways- to make it fun, we added Velcro check marks that can move between a yes and no column. The list involves areas where chores can be done. For example: did you help with the dishes today by doing one of the following: empty dishwasher, rinse the hand wash dishes, load the dishwasher, set the table ,etc. if so, she gets to move the check mark to “yes” and at the end of the day she gets a nickel for each check mark in the yes column. So, laundry did you help fold, put away, help load the washer or dryer, or put in the soap? yes. You get 5c! She averages 25c a day and its a great motivator to get her interested in helping again. (We don’t pay for making beds or putting dirty laundry in the basket, things everyone should do anyway,.. but now that im talkin about this maybe I should make a chart for my Husband…)

  21. Leah says:

    Aw! Perhaps he could cut up colored pieces of paper and arrange them into a mosaic of sort and make mosaic cards! All you gotta do is modge podge the mosaic when it’s done and you’ve got a lovely card to sell!

  22. Shelly G says:

    I’d sit him down and say that perhaps card making is not his forte, but what would be his ideal job? Sure, you’ll get answers like “cat wrangler” – but the explain that a large portion of wrangling cats is cleaning the litter box and feeding it… like every day. Then a monetary reward out of the change bucket can be given. Of course, things like “hot dog tester” and “marine biologist” might be harder to find appropriate work around the house – though if Crappy Fish is still alive and kicking, see “cat wrangler”.

  23. Sarah says:

    Some great ideas already, I think it is right that Crappy Baby will find his own interests as he gets older. It must be hard for him when Crappy Boy gets new toys and he doesn’t though. I’d be inclined to set up other opportunities for money making. I paid my 8-yr-old for each pile of dog poop he picked up in the yard. A dirty job that I’m happy to shell out coin for.

  24. Gillian says:

    Can he cut bits of paper out or does he have to cut all the way through? If he could cut out bits of paper you could fold paper and he could make snowflakes by cutting pieces out of folded paper and then unfolding the paper.

  25. liz says:

    We give an allowance of $1.25 each week. Not related to chores or work. The biggest benefit has been the math skills learned in counting it and my ability to say “No, but you can save up for it” every stinkin time they ask for something. Works great!

  26. Dana says:

    Amber, I have some of crappy boy’s cards…. I haven’t parted with one yet! they are so special to me, you really have to earn one 😉

    Crappy baby has to come up with something he can do that is marketable, not be on crappy boy’s coattails UNLESS he has added value, and crappy boy understands that!

    crappy baby has to understand that one day his own plan will be marketable-maybe it is a lemonade stand, or cage free chicken eggs but this is where you brainstorm and the answer may not be immediate.

    I love your posts and your kids from afar….Dana

  27. Heather says:

    Crappy Boy’s cards are beautiful! How have I not seen them before?

    • Heather says:

      Oh and to answer your questions, my daughter makes magnets and sells them to friends and family and she even had a table at a neighborhood craft fair. I only have one child though so no sibling issues with money, not sure I’d know how to handle that, but I’d hope that eventually Crappy Baby would find something he really loves.

  28. Erin says:

    I think givig him his own jobs around the house would be the way I would go. That way he really is earning it and he still gets satisfaction from a job well done.

  29. Linda says:

    What about giving both boys a small allowance, separate from the card business? Crappy boy will still have more money from his card business, but crappy baby will also get some money.

  30. elanaba says:

    You guys seem like a creative family; perhaps Crappy Baby needs that outlet too but in a different form. I think it’d be ideal to encourage him to find something (i.e. making and painting ceramic mugs) where he learns a creative skill that is also marketable. That way they can both be working with their own creative messes and developing an eye for both business, colors, hand-eye coordination, etc but not be in each other’s way.

  31. Ashley says:

    How about cutting string/yarn to make nesting balls for the birds. My son’s preschool had the kids do this and then sold them as a school fundraiser.

  32. Claudia says:

    Is he interested in collaging? Hand him some magazines? Or rejected paintings? And he can glue them and make his own?

    My son isn’t old enough for this question yet. I’m thankful. 🙂

  33. Angie W says:

    What else does Crappy Baby love to do? I bet you could come up with something though it is hard for a four year old to make something worth selling!

    PS – I just bought a set of cards, they are stunning, I’m impressed!

  34. Anna says:

    Personally I don’t like paying money to my children for making home stuff like their own beds or cleaning or whatever. I mean, it’s their house too, so why do they have to be paid for it? Nobody pays me for cooking or cleaning or so. Having a little business is very cool, but I think it has to be something separated from the house, like helping neighbors or walking dogs or selling lemonade. I like to see my children as an active part of my family, and that means they have to do things just because it’s their responsibility, not to win money… neither to avoid be grounded.

  35. Tina says:

    I love the ideas about him cutting and making his own cards. I also feel like that is Crappy boys nitch. Instead of cards maybe Crappy baby could make Pictures. He could color a sheet of paper and then cut them out to make a Mosaic picture to sell. He could also use the string. Or he could make picture frames with all the cutting and decorate the outer edge of them. You could teach him how to finger knit and he could make ribbons, similar to the crocheting, but maybe a little easier for him to do. You could also give him other materials to cut up, Magazines, books, or scrap paper. One thing that I love to do with my kids is to give them the camera and let them go crazy outside or inside. the point of view that kids get is crazy and fun. Our kids loved it so much that we bought our 7 year old a camera for his birthday when he was 6. Have fun with finding something for him I hope it all works out for you.

  36. Jes says:

    If Crappy Baby’s calling is to cut, then glue the cuttings onto cards and sell those. One shop, two styles of cards. Payment comes when they sell. Easy peasey. 🙂

  37. portlandme says:

    I just LOVE that 20 years down the road it immediately switches to dad paying the rent money for cutting string. Ugh, how quickly we envision a crappy baby crappy future. (the future is not crappy, but so bright he has to wear sunglasses. I also fantasize 20 years down the road my son’s gymnastics classes will lead to a lucrative career as a male stripper. … or not)

  38. Mirela says:

    Hi, I have two crappy babies and older one (6 1/2) does chores, and saves, and I decided to give her pocket money as she worked so hard! Younger one (4) wanted in on the action, so I said that she can have some pocket money too. It turned out that while the older one had a concept of what is going on and what money she had; younger one just wanted a lot of small change, because it is a lot! 🙂
    Relax, give him change, in time it will change and you will recognize it. ;))

  39. megan says:

    Cut coupons for the family grocery list and give him 10% of the savings?

  40. Amber says:

    It sounds like he likes tools, making things, and isn’t afraid of a mess. He IS creative, likes work and results, but needs something more exciting than cards. Try a cookie business. He will need you to show him the ropes, and from there you’ll know what direction to point him in and let him fly.

  41. Linnea says:

    Anybody else think “fetti fetti”? Like with the rice?

  42. Oh! One more, what if you bought him some of those shapped paper cutter and he could cut out different shapes from paper and make confetti that could be sold in addition to the cards in the same shop. Like a little messy surprise for the card recipient.

  43. gbgbgb says:

    cut up tissue paper + clear contact paper (to sandwich the tissue paper between) = sun-catchers that could be awesome card fronts, without the mess of glue.(like these kites:
    or these:
    Or decopage the same idea onto tiles for coaster sets:
    If you’re a masochist, add glitter.

  44. Morgan says:

    What if they worked together to create a “new line” of cards? Crappy Baby can cut up colored paper and Crappy Boy can glue it onto the cards – could make pictures or mosaic. They could split the proceeds.

  45. Anita says:

    Didn’t you say he likes anything related to poop? You have a dog, right? We got a little shovel at home depot (I think it’s for leaving in your car in case you need to dig yourself out or something but the size was perfect for him) and pay him for pooper scooping. Maybe crappy baby’d be more into that. 🙂

  46. becky says:

    I think it’s important to find something Crappy Baby likes to do… I mean besides cutting the paper. 🙂 While being paid for chores and such is a good way to learn about earning money, I have to think he will still want a part of Crappy Boy’s business if he feels like Crappy Boy is having fun while he may be doing something that is not very fun.

  47. Rachael Hhh says:

    When I was a kid which was like 20 years ago. We still had a very country store in our community that sold glass cokes. My dad let us gather up glass bottles and take them back to three series where we gave them to the man who would in return give usa some money for turning them in. I can’t prove it but I think my dad gave him the money to give us. Anyway, 20 years later my brother and I are gainfully employed and neither of us have ever been called a slacker that I know of at least professionally. I think that just teaching kids they have to give to get is important.

  48. Rachael Hhh says:

    I am reposting this since the last one had so many typos it looked like English was not my primary language. I hate auto correct….. When I was a kid which was like 20 years ago. We still had a very country store in our community that sold glass cokes. My dad let us gather up glass bottles and take them back to the store where we gave them to the man who would in return give us some money for turning them in. I can’t prove it but I think my dad gave him the money to give us. Anyway, 20 years later my brother and I are gainfully employed and neither of us have ever been called a slacker that I know of at least professionally. I think that just teaching kids they have to give to get is important.

  49. Rebecca says:

    He could make snowflakes!!! Snowflakes are just folding and cutting. 🙂

  50. Heather says:

    I would say that he can have a penny for cutting strings, and it’ll take him a long time to save enough for more than a piece of candy, or he can make more money for painting pretty pictures. Adults often have to chose between the job they want and the job that pays the bills. He may be too young and just decide that its not worth the hassle, or he may be inspired to help in a more concrete way.

  51. Nancy says:

    What if he weeds the garden, and perhaps a neighbor might pay him(whatever you think appropriate) to weed their flower bed or something so it feels more like a job than a household chore? Or uses his scissors to cut leaves and flowers you can press in a big book and glue on cards, or iron between sheets of wax paper and add glue dots to make “stickers”(if he wants to sell something)? Looking forward to hearing what job crappy baby finally lands!

  52. Grammy L says:

    Full disclosure: I haven’t read all comments. Apologies if I cover repetitive ground.

    DO NOT reward less than full participation (according to the CEO, Crappy Boy) in the corporate mission. Government (parental) interference in the economics of the State (family) ALWAYS has unintended consequences.

    You guessed it. I’m a lover of all things Free Market.

    It’s really the only way to organize for efficiency AND equality. Not, mind you, equality of OUTCOME, but equality of OPPORTUNITY.

    IMHO, the guy with the most at stake (Crappy Boy) gets to make the call about who shares in the profit.

  53. Heather says:

    My boys do chores to earn tickets. 15 tickets = $2 or, to encourage saving tickets, 45 = $10. I didn’t want to attach money to chores, but after many, many revisions, we finally have a system that works, for the most part.

  54. Sherrie says:

    We give our boys allowance. $1/year, so my 9 year old gets $9/week and the 8 year old, $8. They get it regardless but have chores that they do, well, because we are a family and we all contribute to make it work. We also pay $3/hour for work that is above and beyond chores. We hire them (if they aren’t working well we fire them too~ in real life you don’t keep a job that you don’t work at) to do things that we (parents) would like help with but really suck to do. Picking rocks out of the garden, cleaning the basement, crappy stuff they would complain about (a lot) if there weren’t an extra incentive.

  55. Grace Talusan says:

    There’s a cool piggy bank called “Moon Bank”. It’s a three-part bank that has one for saving, spending and sharing. Pretty neat idea. In terms of unemployment, what about chores?? Picking up after Crappy Dog? For every pile of poo, a dime? That’s a never ending job — there’ll always be poo! He’ll have a lego set in no time!

  56. Sara says:

    Teach them about capitalism. If he really wants to work for Crashy Cards, have Crappy boy set a cy wage for the string cutter.

  57. Leah says:

    When you turn five we start an allowance. It is solely to teach our kids about finances. We do a flat rate of $5/mo. We may up the rate to $10/mo when our oldest turns ten, but it won’t go higher. the first of each month our five year old gets four dollar bills and four quarters. Right after he gets it he must put half in his “retirement” savings, aka a pencil pouch that goes in a three ring binder, which is his “bank”. We write his deposit on paper in the binder and he signs it. The other half he puts in his piggy b bank which is his spending money. We also keep a ledger of that money in the binder. When he spends his money we write what he bought and the cost. We do not pay for chores.

  58. The Mommy says:

    If he likes to cut paper, have him make his own cards cutting colored paper and gluing them down (a la Matisse).

  59. Dawn says:

    Our 5 and 8 year old get allowance. $2 a week.
    In your situation I’d probably make it $1 a week, since your kids are a bit younger and you don’t want Crappy Boy quitting his card business since he’s rolling in the dough 😉

    We don’t connect this money to a job or chores. Chores are separate. They both do 2-3 chores a day. (dishwasher, watering plants, recycling, bathroom, laundry etc)

  60. Karen61 says:

    My youngest is the same way. I can just see trying to convince him to paint and him being too $&$# stubborn to take your suggestion. Maybe because I’m stubborn too, I’d be inclined to *try* to teach him a lesson with his lack of income- this is what happens when you don’t listen and insist on doing your own thing-cutting in this case….

  61. Karen61 says:

    My youngest is the same way. I can just see trying to convince him to paint and him being too $&$# stubborn to take your suggestion. Maybe because I’m stubborn too, I’d be inclined to *try* to teach him a lesson with his lack of income- this is what happens when you don’t listen and insist on doing your own thing-cutting in this case….

  62. Karen61 says:

    My youngest is the same way. I can just see trying to convince him to paint and him being too $&$# stubborn to take your suggestion. Maybe because I’m stubborn too, I’d be inclined to *try* to teach him a lesson with his lack of income- this is what happens when you don’t listen and insist on doing your own thing-cutting in this case….

  63. Sarah says:

    Could he, with your help, make his own paper? That would involve tearing up paper into tiny pieces, then blending them to a pulp, adding tiny flowers etc, then when it’s finished tie several sheets together in a similar way to Crappy Boy’s cards and selling them with envelopes. It is quite a long process so I don’t know if it would hold his attention for long enough. Or maybe press flowers and stick them onto cards, or use potato printing? Good luck coming up with a solution!

    • Sarah says:

      Or, maybe get some absorbent card, make it damp, get some water colours and he could use a pipette to make patterns, it’s a more exciting way for younger children to see how the colors move as they hit the card.

  64. Dawn says:

    Oh and there are many things he could cut and glue. I found this great art made of cut felt pieces

  65. Heather says:

    Maybe Crappy baby can sell material to Crappy Boy to use as supplies for the cards (cut paper, string, foil, macaroni, etc)

  66. Julie says:

    Very few kids have etsy shops. Crappy boy is unique. Give crappy baby a normal kid job like the rest of us. Have him weed the garden and sell the veggies or set up a lemonade stand or pay him to do extra chores, like putting sorting laundry… Just don’t pay him for the chores he should feel obligated to do without pay, like putting away his own laundry, washing dishes, cleaning his room… But if he can pick up someone else’s slack, you can pay him for that. My kids don’t make any money yet because grandparents give money on birthdays and Christmas and they just don’t spend it. They would happily wait until birthday or Christmas for said Lego set or whatever, and ask for so little. So I’m not doing well at creating money lesson opportunities. My daughter has donated lots of time and some hair to charities, so he can volunteer instead of raising money for a charity.

  67. El says:

    why not use the cut up paper to make paper?

  68. Susan says:

    As the crappy mom of a 12 and 15 (both boys), I have only this to share: your fatal flaw was assuming both would do the same thing. Crappy boy is amazing at cards. Crappy Baby will absolutely not do the same thing, unless you absolutely defeat all odds. It would be entirely too easy for 2 children in the same family to be interested in the same things. Find Crappy Baby’s thing.

    My 15 was super soccer boy. He mowed lawns and earned (literally) $500 in a few months. 12 hates that stuff. But he loves kids, and earns money hand over fist being a mom’s helper, in between theater productions. They are both successful, but in very, very different ways.

    Breathe. They don’t have to do the same thing, and life isn’t equitable. One will win, one will lose. Next week, the situations will reverse. Give them a chance to figure out what they’re good at, then allow them to do it. And allow them to suck at a few things. Because they will. A lot.

    You have the most precious gift of all…time. Let them take advantage of it.

    Oh- allowance sucks. No one pays me every week just because. Tie that crap to some chores. They do it, they get paid. They don’t, they get nothing. Sort of like life. 🙂

  69. Mrs Sexy says:

    Mr. Sexy and I offer our kids an allowance for being part of the family and helping out around the house. However we don’t tie those two together.

    Thursday is allowance day and when I see their wallet I give them each a wopping $2. It’s very exciting.

    So when it comes to chores they get them done or they miss out on whatever fun activity planned for that day. “So, you spent all afternoon playing with your toys instead of picking them up? I guess we will have to play the wii without you tonight.” That kind of thing. It works really well for our family. We got the idea from the book: Parenting with Love and Respect.

    Good luck!

  70. Mandy says:

    I’m bad at the money angle so far… My newly-minted 4-year-old wheedles coins from Grammy, plays with them, and then loses interest. My big girl (6.5) has gotten money from various places – tooth fairy, vacuuming for Grammy, etc… She always either keeps it in her treasure box to look at or gives it to me “to help us buy food and pay for our house and stuff, mama!” We aren’t destitute, but the combination of my mom’s bankruptcy and having to sell her house, and a talk with me about not buying X expensive thing because we can’t afford it right now, kicked off some anxiety. So I have pretty much assured her we are fine and have all our needs met, yay, and not addressed money at all. Honestly, while I will eventually have to teach her to spend she currently doesn’t want/need anything… We have too many toys so don’t buy more at random, but she always gets Christmas/birthday toys and tends to be satisfied with them. Money presents to the kids get used for swimming lessons, zoo memberships, etc. I should do more to help them learn about money. Sigh.

  71. bejoicing says:

    explore all services and products! crappy baby will pick one. get crappy boy to help with ideas, maybe there’s a product that’s symbiotic with cards, and they can offer a combo deal.

  72. cathy says:

    This is a long scroll down, so you won’t read this far.

    Crappy-daughter #1 tried a “flyers” route for a bit, and I made her quit when she was just too darn b*tchy to continue. It lasted a few (3 or 4) months. … she did-without income for the next 3 years. Then she got a real job (casual) as a theatre usher.

    Crappy daughter #2 just had to understand that she wan’t old enough yet. … Then this winter she WAS old enough, so she got a flyers-route. … but she wasn’t responsible like her sister, so we made her quit it. (She was not delivering, and instead putting flyers by-the-bundle into recycling.)

    .. some younger siblings are not yet ready for hte older siblings responsiblities. And some older siblings are not ready for theirs, either.

    Your crappy-baby needs to simply be told that he’s not yet ready to ‘cut strings’… Then maybe he’ll have a goal, to ready-himsef to actually paint cards and participate in the business. … Don’t cut him slack, ‘cuz the real world doesn’t cut-slack.

    But that’s my opinion, and you didn’t even get this far down in your readin. 😉

  73. Adam says:

    You could get to start helping with chores, like dusting, sweeping (our three-year-old calls it “brooming”) or clearing dishes from the table after meals. We’ve found our kids actually enjoy this!

  74. Gabriella says:

    By arranging too much, you’ll give Crappy Baby no chance to learn to struggle with disappointment (and maybe use that as a motivation). Think also about all the dreams he can have ‘when I’m older, I’ll…’. It’s nice to live up to something! Things are so much better when you have done it ALL by yourself, and so much better if you have experienced that some take time and effort and you still managed finally. Don’t sugar-coat or manipulate, just love him and help him to deal with it. Creative solutions are great, as long as HE is the owner and you’re just the supporter.

  75. Clare says:

    We give our kids a small allowance ($1 for the 6-year old, $3 for the $11.) Half is the base rate, half if they do their chores. But not things like tidying their room (it’s their room!!) Things which cause friction (like regular instrument practice without being nagged…) I find an allowance helps them appreciate money and saving up for things. It also makes my life easier; they don’t nag me for crap when we’re out shopping because the answer will be, “Do you want to spend YOUR money on it?” There are no restrictions on how they spend; just when it’s gone, it’s gone. They have both learnt the value of saving for things; and are both expected to use some of it for family and friend Christmas/birthday gifts, charity donations, etc. They both really love the feeling of giving gifts which are completely from them (even if small in monetary value!)

  76. Lea says:

    We started giving our son a very small allowance the year before he started kindergarten as a way to teach him about money. And give him some of his own so I could really lay down the law about how he had to stop taking the spare change from the dish on my night stand to play with.

    When he wanted pet mice, we made him price the mice and all the gear they would need (minus the habitat structure itself which he scored as a hand me down from the former pet of his aunt and uncle). It took him months to save up enough for the water bottle, wheel, bedding, and first bag of food. We don’t make him pay bedding and food on an ongoing basis, but we wanted him to buy the first round as a learning exercise about what he mice would need and what things cost.

    Now when there is a new toy or treat that he wants to buy for the mice he saves his allowance for it, which again takes time because his allowance is $1.50 per week. But we do also give him extra chores he can do to earn extra money if he’s close to having as much as he needs for a particular purchase. For example, last weekend he wiped down the doors and fronts of all of the lower cabinets in the kitchen for $1.00. And he has cleaned out my husband’s car, throwing away trash and bringing into the house the stuff that collects on the back seat (mismatched mittens, snack containers he forgot to bring into the house) for $1. I know Crappy Baby is a little younger, but he’s probably old enough to wipe baseboards and light switches, etc. if you want to go down the road of chores for money. We never offer money for any chore or task that we would expect our son to do on a regular basis. He don’t pay for cleaning his own room, putting his stuff away, vacuuming the living room on Sunday which is one of his standing chore assignments. But we don’t mind letting him do something like a more seasonal spring cleaning task for extra money if he has calculated that he needs just a little bit more to make a specific purchase for the mice.

  77. Lea says:

    And I agree that you should not necessarily try to find ways to include Crappy Baby in the card enterprise. If he’s not into cards, then try to help him think of what he IS into. Lemonade stand, leaf raking, etc. If the cards are Crappy Boy’s business then let him decide to what extent he wants to subcontract string cutting. As he said, that’s something he could do himself and I don’t think you should force him to hire Crappy Baby to do it.

  78. Angie says:

    You could pay him to pick up leaves or sticks in the yard of even weeding (like the weeds that grow in the cracks of footpaths- those are obviously not meant to be there and don’t grt confused with flowers). I used to do weeding with a 2 year old assistant and she knew what to do. She’d get distracted easily and only work in busts but if I reminded her she’d do it and put the weeds in the rubbish bag.

    You could also pay him to put rubbish in the bin inside, feed pets if you have them, pack away toys, or help fold simple washing (tea towels- 2 year old could do that albeit slowly).

  79. Linda A says:

    Get him to cut coupons for you and pay him a small amount per coupon. The money you save from the coupons should cover his wages.

  80. Melissa says:

    Do you drink soda? When my oldest was two I gave him the job of “feeding the can-eater” (aka, the recycling machine at the grocery store). We separate the cans out from the rest of our recyclables and when we have a bag of them we take them to the store, he feeds them in, and gets to keep the $$. I drink more diet coke than I probably should, so he actually makes pretty good money this way.

  81. kifin says:

    this happened for us in reverse – our younger child (8) sells paintings, and the older child (10) wanted a way to earn money. at first, the younger child agreed to give her a small share of the profits for being her manager – promoting the business and record keeping. that was a struggle in many ways. she eventually stumbled on the idea of making duct tape wallets, and now has a pretty good little business going. in time, with the inspiration and motivation of seeing his brother do so well, your younger will find his niche. for now, though, since he’s so little, a dime here and there from your purse should be plenty to keep him happy. (btw – we didn’t start allowance until the age of 7, and just $1/week. i didn’t think they had much of a concept of the value of money before that age.)

  82. Amy says:

    I think you just have to increase the expectations in line with his age. Now, it wouldn’t be fair to expect him to make a painting or whatever because his attention span isn’t long enough, and that’s not his fault, it’s just his age!

    Maybe try to keep it in line so that by the time CBa is as old as CBo was when he started his online business, CBa is actually having to do something which might interest people. But before then, some simple task for a token amount is a good idea.

  83. sarah says:

    I think it is hardder to teach the lesson “lifes not equal ” then to learn it. My boys, a year apart had to learn it from a birthday party. Heck, I have to learn it everytime I see my neighbors new pool. Sigh. If you make life fair all the time now, you will always be making it fair. Even when they are adults.

    I have a list of chores that are extra for
    money. We also have small saving goals,
    and until that is reached no spending. Once it is reached, then they can save up to buy the toy. After we set a new savings goal and life continues.

  84. Claire says:

    We do an allowance that isn’t tied to work. I want them to learn how to save and spend money. They get their age divided in half every week and 25% goes to the piggie bank. I also don’t want household cores tied to money (you’re a part of this house so you do chores, not because money). That said, we don’t have one kid earning money from an actual business, so that complicates things.

  85. Mercedes says:

    When I was a kid I repeatedly climbed an apple tree to harvest, washed & dried, and went door to door selling apples. I was trying to buy a cabbage patch pet. One day a neighbor kid insisted on “helping” and sat with me at my apple booth in the front yard. My parents forced me to give her half the money I earned. I’m still mad about it to this day, nearly 30 years later!

  86. Meg says:

    Maybe take the cut up pieces of paper and glue them on card stock?
    Love your site, you are gift to the world!

  87. Julia says:

    I told my daughter at age 4 that I’d pay her a penny apiece to pick up the prickly ball seeds of our sweet gum tree. She picked up three and said she needed a break. Her break never ended, she said you can’t buy anything with a penny so it wasn’t worth it. I say go with a quarter or dime at least those can add up to getting something out of a gumball machine. Then tell him more work equals more money – it’s a good lesson to learn too.

    • Kelly says:

      I wish someone would pay kids to do that up by my kids’ school! Whoever thought that along the side walk by the school was a good place to plant those things was not thinking, I don’t know how many times I’ve nearly twisted an ankle there! 😉

  88. Kristin says:

    If it’s free to set up an Etsy page/shop, maybe Crappy Baby could set up a shop to try to sell the cut paper. There is probably not a market for it, but perhaps he will see that? Or, maybe he’ll lose interest. Why not try selling cut paper grouped by color along with mosaic pattern sheets – instant mosaic craft kits? We do $2/week for our 8 y.o. and $1/week for our 5 y.o. We used to give our 8 y.o. 2 quarters per day which could be spent to purchase screen time beyond one free show in the morning (starting in preschool or kindergarten I think). That worked great for a while too!

  89. Kim S says:

    We actually bought a kit by Dave Ramsey about teaching kids how to earn money-spend, save, and donate it. It’s pretty cute and hopefully (we’ll find out in a decade or so) very effective. There’s also a kids book series about it he’s made as well

  90. Cecelia Sommerville says:

    So Crappy Baby likes to cut, right? Does he like to glue? You could make up some blank cards for him, give him different colored paper, magazines you no longer read, sparkly bits and have him cut them up and glue them onto the cards. That way he is making cards AND getting to cut. Then he can also cut the strings for his own card sets.

  91. Mary Kate says:

    Not quite the same thing but our #1 is very musical. Has played piano for years, is flying through academy grades and gets rewarded with hard cash from us when he does well in exams (we feel it’s good to be rewarded for the many hours of practise he puts in, even though he loves it). Mean while #2 had the green eyed monster/sibling rivalry thing going on – ‘why can’t I get money’, ‘why can’t I do piano lessons’ etc.
    Well she did do piano lessons, with 2 different teachers in fact, but hated practising. She eventually learned, after a couple of hard years, that piano isn’t her ‘thing’. She now accepts that and focuses on swimming, which she is good at.
    The point is, we gave her the opportunity to try what he was doing, and she realised (a) it was hard and (b) she didn’t enjoy it. But she had to figure that out the hard way!
    Perhaps let crappy baby set up his own parallel card making business (with a somewhat different slant to it?) and it will fizzle out of its own accord if/when he loses interest. Then he’ll have tried (and possibly failed) but will have learnt something from it, and will move on to find his own ‘thing’.

  92. Al says:

    I usually give my 3 year old a choice. In this case I would say something along the lines of “you said you wanted a card business, cutting paper is not making cards and no one will buy cut up paper from a card business. If you want to earn money try making cards otherwise no money. It’s your choice.” If he decides to continue cutting just remind him what the consequences are. When he can’t buy anything remind him it was his choice to cut paper and not make cards. If something that he is doing comes up, that might make a profit, I would ask if he’d like to make that his own business 🙂
    Hope that makes sense, my train of thought kept getting interrupted!

    We don’t do allowance. Don’t think we will. I like the system above where you do EXTRA chores to get money. Especially the penny/pinecone. What a deal!

  93. Mary Ann says:

    Hmmm… Colored bits of paper can be awfully fun. Could they be assembled into some fun shapes? Maybe glued down, and scanned so you could print his own set of cards?

    Or, maybe Crappy Boy (or you?) can assemble the colored bits in an interesting way, creating a collage/montage kind of piece… Then, Crappy Baby (feels kinda funny typing that!) can use his imagination to come up with a name or story for it. Maybe even a series of cards with a story.

    If you stick with a few color ‘stories’, I’ll bet you come up with something pretty fun.

    (P.S. Let me know if you end up making anything as 5×7 prints!)

  94. Genevieve says:

    My daughter LOVES to cut and I hate all the little pieces of paper, so I decided we were gonna make something out of them. If I could post pictures, I’d show you the flower, butterfly and worm king we made just from the little pieces! Crappy Baby could make his own cards! We just glued the pieces together.

  95. Estela says:

    This could be a lesson in economics and supply-demand. If he wants to earn money, he needs to do what people will pay for. If nobody will buy cut pieces of string, then he needs to change his business strategy. If there are lots of cut strings, he can glue them on cards. If he’s not interested in gluing, then he’ll learn the difference between a hobby and a job.

  96. Mary Lynn Kramer says:

    Consider this: Let Crappy Baby cut pieces of tissue paper, origami paper, even old photos, whatever, then using a gesso medium (he can brush it on himself) – have him arrange the cut paper in any arrangement he chooses – creating his own collages – gesso glue pieces in place AND VOILA he has created his own collage art on his own cards for sale.- let the cards be what they are, not your version or vision. His pride and sense of accomplishment should then be over the moon…and he will earn his own money for Legos, etc. —– I have an art background and work with young persons -and see great results with this medium and method. It may take some experimentation with different papers but you will be surprised at how great these collages can be. Gesso has interesting effects on various papers – transparency (tissue) fading, color enrichment etc. be aware the heavier the gesso application the art CAN become cloudy, usually not a preferred effect. ALSO the heavier the collage and gesso you will see curling of some papers… I suggest a heavy card stock paper – Create one sided note cards w/envelopes? Postcards?
    Good luck Crappy Baby!

  97. Sonia says:

    Maybe crappy baby could cut/shred newspaper for a pet store or animal shelter.

    You could pay him, so its not a true job, but might play to his strength.

  98. gretchen says:

    We found that for allowance….no chores tied to this…was their age per week…. Take care!

  99. Laura says:

    Just have him make confetti to sell for party favors? Or perhaps have him design something and take a picture of the cut out confetti and sell that as a postcard?

  100. Theresa says:

    if he wants to help with crappy boy’s business still, perhaps cut out crazy shaped “thank you” notes to go with the purchase of cards? it’ll help him with his fine motor skills too if he has shapes to cut. 🙂

  101. Zoe Kunstenaar says:

    Well, today we paid our three year olds a nickel a piece to go pee pee in the potty… (usually they get paid for things with bites of ice cream).

  102. Cassandra says:

    My parents paid us allowance for our chores each Saturday when we were little. Catch was, we got paid for good attitudes not for the actual chore. If we threw a fit, we lost some money. If we talked back, there goes some more. We had to do the chores even if we lost all our allowance. So, we learned really quick to smile while we worked.

    By the time we got to highschool my parents handed us $50 on the first of each month. We were required to use it on our lunches at school (which were like a $1.50 back then) and the rest could go towards whatever we wanted. I bought lunch every day and saved the rest for things I wanted….my brother spent his on candy and games right away and then skipped lunch for half the month cause he had no cash. Don’t know if my parents ever knew that this was the reason he ran straight to the pantry/fridge when he got home from school.

  103. Christine says:

    I have a 9 yr old. I don’t do allowance. There are a list of jobs with the “going rate” posted. If she wants to make money, she has to work. Sweep the stairs! $2 dust the living room? $3 she has things she has to do as part of being a member of the household, but I believe, if you want to make money, then you have to work.

  104. Cut snowflakes! He could even paint the paper first, or use coffee filters and drip watercolor on them and it spreads beautifully. Can be strung in a pretty banner or glued onto plain cards! Boom!

  105. August says:

    I am a little intimidated by teaching my daughter about money. My father left her a sizable trust fund, which she gets when she turns 18. She has a financial planner (well, we have the same one) and she will start taking financial education classes when she turns 13, to prepare herself for the responsibility.
    I figure my job is to raise a good moral child who had enough sense not to just go out and blow it all immediately.

  106. Allie says:

    Scherenschnitte. It’s the art of paper cuttings, maybe you can help him with some simple designs to sell himself.

  107. Della says:

    This is tough! One thing I tell my kids is that some things are age related. My 12 year old daughter gets to do more than her 6 year old brother. She also has more responsibilities. So when he complains that her allowance is more, I offer him the option of trading chore lists. He hasn’t taken me up on it once.

    I don’t really have any advice other than that that hasn’t been said in the comments already!

    Good luck!!

  108. Miranda says:

    We do tie our kids’ allowances to their chores. And they are paid their age in dollars per week (as in, 4-year-old gets $4 per week). As soon as they get paid, we do the math together and they pay 10% in tithing and put 20% in savings.
    And when my sugar-monster 7-year-old wants to go spend all his allowance on candy, I tell him he is welcome to buy it but it will go in the same cabinet with all the other sweets and he will only be allowed to eat it when he has eaten vegetables (at least as much vegetable as treat, so a handful of carrots for a handful of candy).
    We also have a list of extra chores tacked on the wall with their wages, so they can sweep a room and earn an extra couple of dollars.
    We also pay ourselves this same allowance, so I get $29 dollars per week 🙂

  109. SPL says:

    I am a teenager not a parent, but I can tell you what my Mom does. She never gives us any allowance, even when we do lots of chores or special chores. If we want money, we have to earn it ourselves. I babysit, and my Mom helps me find and manage clients. She does the same for one of my younger sisters. Often we can get jobs from our neighbors, like pet sitting when they leave, and shoveling snow. My younger brother is almost old enough to babysit now, and when he is Mom will make him take the Red Cross babysitting class, but he will probably like things like lawn mowing and snow shoveling better because he is that kind of person. These things are probably too old for Crappy Baby though, so he might be able to do something like growing and then selling plants of some sort, or a different craft project. I’ve been to several craft fair type places to sell my work because I also crochet and felt, and I’ve worked out that if you are cute and young enough, people will buy your stuff. Last time I went to a craft fair, I earned over $100, after taking materials and the price of the booth into account. But most of the adults there didn’t earn back as much as they had spent. So if you can find a craft that he likes, going to a craft fair or just selling online could work well.

  110. Lana says:

    Our eldest collects cans and bottles and takes them to the depot where they pay 10 cents a piece. He’s really good at it now. he’s been at it since he was 3 and a half. When his little brother is older I’m sure we’ll be finding him wanting a job too.

    As for crappy baby wanting to earn money- probably unrelated to crappy boys cards is best. it may take a while to find his muse but til then maybe he could do handy man work?

  111. Alli says:

    Everyone is good at something! So card making isn’t his “thing”? Maybe something else is. Leaves on the lawn? Maybe he wants to pick them up. Laundry need sorting? Dishwasher full of clean dishes? He’s got to be able to find a task that is both “marketable” and enjoyable! It doesn’t have to be a good or a service that is sold…though that would be nice.
    I would argue, though, that work-ethic-wise, chores are more useful skills to have as a grown up! Making cards can make you money, but someday chores can make him money too (restaurant work, hotels, cleaners, every summer job ever)!
    Best of luck!

  112. Susie says:

    We always had the theory that if you contribute to the family workload, you get to share in the family money. Hence, they got allowance if they did their share (chores). There were special, harder chores, like painting the barn or mowing our acre of grass, that they could do to earn extra money for something they were saving up for. They had to buy their own cars and pay for their own insurance when they got older. All three grew up to have a good work ethic and appreciate the things they have had to work for. I see too many young adults today who just expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter.
    I say give him a tiny amount of money for a tiny amount of work. If he wants to earn more, he will need to do more.

    • Lana says:

      I completely agree with work ethic being more important than probably anything else.. I’ve been working from the time I was 12 years until I had my first baby. Have never not been employed though now I’m not paid for my work. If we make it too easy for our kids they don’t learn anything.

  113. Diane says:

    How about cutting the paper kinda like a snowflake and gluing it on top of colored construction paper?

  114. Chelsea says:

    As the “Crappy Baby” of the family, I get how he feels. My sister and I have a five year split and it was hard seeing her do all sorts of cool things, but not being old enough to do them as well. That being said, encourage Crappy Baby to find his own thing. I ended up doing the same activities as my older sister because she did them (so they were cool) and they were convenient (we already went to those things as a family). As an adult, I wish I’d branched out more and tried different things; things I actually might have really enjoyed. (For example: I did not enjoy five years of piano lessons, but I did them because I wanted to play like she did (I never did). I’ve always been terrible at music and it took me until I was 17 to admit that and stop torturing myself. The examples go on, but you get the idea.) It’s hard for us much younger siblings to find our own way, when what our older siblings are doing is so intriguing.

    On the note of monetary compensation: My little guy isn’t old enough to earn money yet, but my 7-year old nephew is. My sister does a system of poker chips (different color chips are worth different amounts). For non-regular chores, he can earn chips, which then translate to money when he cashes them in. He earns chips for things like feeding the dog, cleaning the litter box, etc. He does not earn chips for normal day-to-day chores like cleaning his room, making his bed, etc. If he chooses not to do the chore that earns the chip, he doesn’t earn it. It’s as simple as that. If he wants to save up for something, he has to take the initiative and do the extra chores to earn his chips. It’s been a good system for them.

    Hopefully you find something unique for Crappy Baby to do that gives him a sense of self-worth and accomplishment, but allows him to take his own path from Crappy Boy (as well as not treading on Crappy Boy’s self-worth and accomplishment). Good luck!

    • mariah says:

      This is kind of what we do….but I might steal the poker chip idea. We have blackboards for each kid with daily chores. They get an allowance for those, but we fine them if they don’t or have had some doozy of a bad behavior. They can earn more by doing random chores. They have to finish what they start and give it their best.

      If crappy baby wants money, he can help you. If he wants to make and sell things like his brother, then his projects have to be marketable. Maybe he can do straw paintings, or paint with clothespins with random objects pinched in them.

  115. Miel says:

    Good for Crappy Boy. Crappy Baby has to decide he is motivated enough to do something if he wants to make some money. At our house we give a small allowance to our kids ($1/week for the 9 year old and 70 cents for the 6 year old). The allowance is given with no strings attached, because everyone in our house gets a bit of money to spend however they like. Also, though, everyone at our house contributes to the family and so the kids have chores. Age appropriate things, like emptying waste baskets, putting trash cans on the curb, opening and closing window shades, etc. But the chores are not tied to the allowance. Lastly, only 70% of their allowance is for spending. 10% each is set aside for charity, investment, and collage. Needless to say, it takes them a bit to save up for something, but they really enjoy the fruit of their saving! We also let them have the $ from our redemptionable recycling if they sort and organize it.

  116. Nadia says:


    Cutting string? What about making pom poms or tassles?
    Good sideline to cards as nice ones in ribbon can be used to decorate presents.

    Cutting cardboard? If print pictures that sounds like making jigsaw puzzles. Personalise and professional for business: have a template of A4 cardboard (that works in your printer!) with easy jigsaw pattern on back. Print photos etc and cut into jigsaw pieces

    Cutting herbs or flowers? Dried herb or potpourri business?

    Cutting pretty paper? Paper ‘Chinese’ lanterns?

    Cutting paper? environmentally friendly, low emission shredder… just send him to local small businesses once a week to shred confidential documents. $1 per half hour of shredding?

    Cutting grass? Environmentally friendly lawn trimmer, cut grass along garden beds so it is neat-ish!

    Cutting fabric? (this is risky as it sets a precedent) Make cleaning rags by cutting old clothes into handy pieces.

    Cutting hair? (also sets risky precedent) Maybe a dog grooming business? Is the weather hot? Could use the ‘razor combs’ that I remember from childhood (I just googled and they are still around). I don’t think they are as dangerous as they sound.

    Cutting food? Nursing home or hospital at dinner time cutting food into smaller pieces???
    … clutching at straws a little bit now, I think I’ve worn out my brain 🙂

  117. Alison says:

    Get him paper punches so his cutting is the design of animals, things and stuff and he can stick them to cards 🙂

  118. Contessa says:

    Recently my company laid off several permanent employees. I knew two of them fairly well. One was extremely bad at her job, and I know this because I was the one who had to clean up after her mess. She has been employed in the company much longer than me so she had more learning opportunities and it wasn’t only me who had the experience of having to double my workload because she couldn’t do her share. She is simply not suited for this kind of work. The important take away is to 1) develop the ability to be self aware of your own strengths and weaknesses and 2) develop the ability to research how your strengths can benefit those around you and become a viable job. The other employee also lacked the skills and knowledge to do the job well however she had the additional habit of purposely trying to get others to do her work for her. Both employees were incapable of independently completing their tasks without someone there to constantly supervise them which makes paying them pointless. This may be too much for some at Crappy Baby’s age, but as an adult he will have to learn how to accurately assess his own abilities and actively figure out how his abilities can fit in with the grater society. Maybe do an activity where you both sit down and list what he is good at, what he is not so good at, and how his skills can be applied to benefit others.

    The other trap to avoid is the unrealistic dreamer. I have an uncle who wants to be an entrepreneur. He finds the idea of working under someone else intolerable so he wanted to found his own company and be the CEO, only he lacks the skills and knowledge to make it viable. He has tried so many times to launch a new company and failed that he is now in massive debt. He has borrowed money from friends and family, most of whom now refuse to have anything to do with him because he has not paid them back. He is completely broke at the age of retirement. The take away here is that you have to be realistic and practical and understand what it truly takes to reach your dreams. Also as a family member or friend do not enable people who do not have a realistic plan. If he wants that Lego set then talk through ways how it can be done. Tell him how much it costs and ask him what he can do toward the money. You can correct him when he comes up with unrealistic ideas. I remember Crappy Boy went through a similar process before you guys hit on the card making idea.

    The type of poor work ethic that annoys me most is the moocher. These people do not even try. They do not have a job and do not plan on having a job. I met this one guy who is living on government disability money and as far as I can tell he has no disability. That’s my hard earned tax money at work. Also a friend told me about her brother in law who is being continuously supported by his parents. He is already over the age of 30 and never held a job. He is still going through school trying to figure out what he wants to do. Ultimately the point is to raise children who can become financially independent and productive members of society. I think giving kids an allowance without having done anything to earn it is a bad idea because in the adult world this never happens, although I still dream of money falling from the sky and into my bank account.

    Also I want to thank Amber and all you parents out there because you are doing the vital job of raising the next generation. It is certainly a job that I am not qualified for and do not plan to undertake 😛

    • resonates says:

      ” I have an uncle who wants to be an entrepreneur. He finds the idea of working under someone else intolerable so he wanted to found his own company and be the CEO, only he lacks the skills and knowledge to make it viable. He has tried so many times to launch a new company and failed that he is now in massive debt. He has borrowed money from friends and family, most of whom now refuse to have anything to do with him because he has not paid them back. He is completely broke at the age of retirement. ”

      this resonates with me.

      I have an uncle in his 50’s still living in his parents gallery smoking pot and playing guitar and dreaming of being a rock star. When Grandpa died he just about had a heart attack til grandma assured him she won’t be kicking him out but what’s gonna happen to him when she passes away also?

  119. AKD says:

    This is pretty funny. My kid (almost 4) keeps bringing home plastic containers of bits of paper he’s cut up at preschool. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with them, but they are harder to make disappear than just regular flat art. Maybe he and Crappy Baby can start a confetti business.

  120. Cobble says:

    We never gave our kids a cash allowance but would deposit it in the “Home Bank” with made up passbooks like the old savings banks used to use. Unused check registers work just fine. Every week they could add in the new amounts and subtract it when then needed money to buy things. They were savers at 4 years of age. To earn their meager allowances 🙂 They had to do simple chores. At age 3 they would clear their plates from the table and put them in the dishwasher. As they grew the chores got more complicated. At age 5 they made their own school lunches.

  121. Jelly says:

    Have just visited Bowes Museum in County Durham, England. There was a piece by Scottish artist, Jack Milroy, who had cut up a book on fish. See “Fish Swimming in their own Definitions” on Pg 16 of this link. What an amazing piece! Future Crappy Baby endeavour?
    [Simplistic language; this is a handout for children visiting the museum]

  122. Nikki says:

    Maybe crappy baby could have a document shredding service. It’s perfect! He likes to cut paper and I am assuming he can’t read yet! Complete privacy 🙂

  123. Dianne S says:

    Maybe crappy baby could cut up different colors of paper and arrange and glue them to the front of the cards. Then he has fun cutting things up, but he still has a product to sell later! And he can still cut the strings for his own cards! 😛

  124. Robonanny says:

    Pocket money in our house is definitely chore/ behaviour linked, all marked down on a reward chart (eg, pick up toys before bed, speak respectfully to Mummy and Daddy). Going rate’s £1/ year of age/ week ie at the moment, 7yo = potential £7/ week, if he does _everything_ every single day that week, which is rare.

    There’s a kicker though – it’s only earned September through December to spend on Christmas presents for friends and family, otherwise he gets bored and loses motivation. Done this way, however, my son LOVES that he earned the money himself. He writes out a list in September of what he would like to get for whom, so he has a clear goal, then the week before Christmas I take him shopping to spend his hard earned dosh.

    Because we’ve lived in London, he’s wound up in stores like Fortnum and Mason and when I make it clear _he_ is the customer, he’s been treated with such kindness and dignity: “Yes, sir, we do have chilli chocolate, which you think your uncle would like. Would you like to taste them?” and the stories he tells about the shopping trip make the gift so much more special to both give and receive!

    As for Crappy Baby’s dilemma, I agree with those who say he needs his own enterprise… but I’m afraid it’s been a long day at work with a vomiting four year old for me, so my brain is devoid of any bright ideas!

  125. Lisa says:

    Read most of the comments and just wanted to chime in that while I agree with not wanting to give him money for doing nothing, as a younger sibling I found coping with the differences in what my brother was allowed to do and what I was allowed to do very hard and not all equal to make me wait to do something until I was the right age. It is easy for the first sibling to wait to do something because they aren’t confronted with their limitations constantly by seeing someone else do it.

    I don’t know what the solution is, my parents were both older siblings so they felt it was more fair to make me wait until the same age to get the same privelages but I didn’t think they understood how hard it was to see my brother get something I didn’t. Crappy boy didn’t have to cope with seeing a sibling get rewards when he was Crappy baby’s age.

    I like a lot of the advice you’ve been given and Crappy baby shouldn’t learn things get handed to him without effort and he should have to work for it, but maybe he can get a little more parental help with his venture or he finds other ways of earning money. There are so many great lessons to learn and things he can learn about his own strengths, but there are some emotional issues at play with seeing someone else get something you don’t, helping him cope or learn from that feeling is a very important step too.

    Even Crappy boy might consider a little empathy for his sibling and possibly help him figure out a job that works. Being a high-powered profits-focused CEO is one route to take, but there are important lessons about helping out your fellow humans, hiring someone who isn’t quite up for a job and giving them job training etc 😉

    Also, as the higher-achieving sibling, don’t let your consideration for the other sibling’s feelings keep you from celebrating the success of one! I never got any praise or rewards for good grades because my parents didn’t want my brother to feel bad about his Cs.

    Pay for a skill you want him to develop too… my parents paid us a bonus for learning how to type with mavis beacon software… when we got to $25 words per minute, we got $25, when we got to 50wpm, we got $50… they cut me off though and didn’t reward me when I got to 75 though, lol! But I am a REALLY fast typer to this day since the skill stayed with me even though I stopped practicing/playing the typing game every day 🙂

  126. Michelle says:

    I’m a little late to the party but we have a ‘chore chart’ which is quite ridiculous, I made it on the back of a school project paper and has all these chores with corresponding amounts. At the end of the week I add up their earnings and they get to add it to the piggy bank. For example, buckling you’re own seat belt earns you 10 cents, you get money for having a good attitude, playing nicely with your brother, making your bed, feeding the dog and wiping your own butt. literally. I am sick of wiping, I will give you 5 cents if you do it yourself kid! If I catch them doing something great during the day I will say ‘I’m gonna put a mark on your chore chart’ and they get ecstatic.

    It works for us and probably won’t for you. 🙂 Also thought about wood projects? Like painting a 10X10 square of plywood, that’d be cool to hang. Or maybe helping him screw together a bird house or something. or you could try a garden again and sell the veggies… hah. good luck!

  127. Hayley says:

    Oh this made me laugh! My 3 year old doesn’t really understand what money is yet, other than that shiny coins are fun to at with and put in her purse. So no advice on money from me. But she also LOVES to cut paper. In many small pieces. It gets sort if annoying. She says she’s making ties- she saw me cut and sew fabric toake a necktie for a baby, so now that’s what she does when she’s cutting- and then wants to give these piles of cut up paper to people as gifts!

  128. Hayley says:

    What if you let crappy baby cut up coloured paper, and then you could glue it to cards in a collage-y sort if way for a new style of cards??

  129. Shanna says:

    Our daughter is not quite two, so we haven’t implemented this yet, but we’re going to do a small allowance (a dollar or two) with a set of expected chores like taking dishes to the kitchen, setting the table, etc. But if she wants to earn more money, we will offer special jobs for set amounts, like sweeping or helping wash the car. Maybe find something he likes to do that you don’t want to do and pay him for it? He doesn’t necessarily have to sell anything.

  130. Christina says:

    Google tissue paper resist art! All you need is colored tissue paper, card and water and the results are beautiful!

  131. Jennnnnn says:

    Didn’t Crappy Boy come up with the idea for selling cards on his own? And it’s not like the money he’s earned or donated came from mom and dad.
    I don’t think you have to invent a fake job and pay Crappy Baby for it just because he sees the Legos his brother was able to earn. It would be great to help him think of a job, just like you helped Crappy Boy, but it’s gotta be him wanting to do the work. (And best if the employers/payers aren’t just mom and dad either.)

  132. Jennifer says:

    I’m so behind in reading my blog because, you know… life. But this one hit a chord with me. I love love love that Crappy Boy is such an innovator to develop hi sown little enterprise. That needs to be his own though. Crappy Baby needs his own thing.
    The chores idea is a great start, and I love the idea of self initiating chores to make them understand that hard work gets rewarded and creates its own sense of pride in doing good work. I started something very similar with my daughter years ago with a chore book, but have recently found an app that I’m just in love with – so is she. It’s called ChoreMonster. I have age appropriate chores for her to complete and as she completes them (it allows you to approve the chore being completed) she is awarded points. She collects the points and we determine the rewards. It’s worked really well for both of us since we are both constantly on the go. When we find ourselves at home with some time to kill, she’ll turn on the computer and her launch page is choremonster. It flags it for her and she’s motivated to get some points. We’ve done things like 300 points to get ice cream at her favorite place, to 1500 points to get a Barnes & Noble gift card etc. It may not be for everyone, but it works for us.

    My kiddo found her “thing” (card making as well oddly enough) while working on some scrapbooking with me. I’m sure thas as Crappy Baby is exposed to other creative outlets, he’ll find his “thing” and figure out a way to earn some dough. 🙂

  133. jen says:

    crappy confetti. crappy boy could just make colorful paintings and put glitter on them or something, and then crappy baby could cut them all to pieces. put them in a little babyfood jar that says Crappy Confetti and let him tie a string around it. done.

    I don’t know who wouldn’t want to buy it.

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