Lately my kids have been helping out a neighbor by subbing on his newspaper route whenever he has to be away.

Picture by Cohdra

They get the lists for the four different routes our neighbor works, rubber-band the newspapers and do the route with my husband driving the car.

They have their routines, which kid gets which house and so on. By car, the route can take about an hour to get all of the papers delivered.

One weekend, my husband had to be out-of-town for a hunting trip. And that meant the only family car went with him. So we did the paper route with our red wagon and bikes. We had a messenger bag along that allowed the oldest to take a number of papers on various side streets. I was along as quality control.

Because we were not in the car, I broke up the route differently. With only a few mishaps and disagreements, it was completed. We finished the route, worked out problems and had lunch afterward.

The thing that makes me happy is the kids are learning something valuable – hard work pays off. They do the work and get paid for it. I force the kids to put the money in a consistent place so that the money is not all over the house and lost. We are not made of money and I hate having it strewn about.

Picture by Alvi Mann

In my mind, a paper route is one of the best ways to teach responsibility and financial sense. Already, our daughter is piling her money and making plans for a big purchase. The boys talk about various items they would like. But nothing has been settled on.

For now, we do it on an irregular basis. But, perhaps, at some point we will take it on a regular basis. As a way of  my kids learning a valuable lesson in what working hard can get you, I can only hope so.