As a parent who hopes to prepare your kids for the real world, summer is the perfect season for them to learn lessons that are hard to grasp in a classroom setting.
The tried and true lemonade stand offers important life lessons (and CASH) that almost any kid can benefit from. Selling lemonade may look easy, but your kids might see things differently if you let them give it a try.
Here are some of the important money rules kids can learn…
1. You have to spend money to make money
Kids love the idea of pouring lemonade and raking in some serious profit, but where did that lemonade come from? Who bought the cups and supplies--even water from the tap--that made it all possible?
To experience the realities of business ownership, have them buy lemonade mix, cups and supplies on their own with their own money! They will learn that earning a profit often requires spending money first.
2. With Any Business Venture, Location Is Key
Most kids find it easier to set their lemonade stand right at the end of the driveway so they can goof off between customers. But what if you don't get much foot traffic?
It might be inconvenient to move the lemonade stand to a busier stretch of road, but that's the way business goes, right? To make money, you have to go where your customers are. Sometimes, maximizing your profits comes at the cost of doing things you don't really want to do.
3. Hard Work Isn’t Always Fun
Running a lemonade stand sounds like more fun than it really can be. Kids picture themselves raking in the cash while drinking their favorite drink, but reality could be different. Not only are they standing in the hot sun, but they also have to keep their product prepared and ready to go, clean their work station and make change for customers all day. In the real world, earning money isn't always fun, even if it’s something you enjoy.
4. Making Money Takes Patience and Accountability
What happens when nobody stops by for a cold drink? Kids need to learn that earning money takes patience and accountability. You can't just walk off the job because you're not busy. With a summer lemonade stand, kids learn if they don't work, they won't make money.
5. It Feels Good To Give Back
A lemonade stand provides the perfect opportunity to show kids what charity should feel like. If you want your kids to learn what giving back means, have them set aside 10 or 15% of their profits to give to a cause of their choice.
They'll learn what it means to give away money you worked hard to earn. They'll also learn that the more they earn, the more they can give back.
6. Life Isn’t Always Fair
So, your kids get up early, put up signs in the neighborhood, carefully create the perfect lemonade and set out their cups and supplies. Then, nothing. After hours of waiting, only a few people show up and your kids are heartbroken.
This is easily the biggest lesson they'll learn in the business world. Sometimes you do everything right, and nothing goes your way regardless of how hard you work. That doesn't mean their hard won't ultimately pay off, but this is an important lesson your kids to learn, whether they like it or not.
The Bottom Line
The best lift lessons are mostly learned through trial and error, triumph and failure. For your kids to get the most out of their money-making venture, just let it run its course (unless something goes terribly awry and your assistance is needed).
Otherwise, sit back and have a cold glass of lemonade…on the house, of course.