Struggling to find time to set aside for working on your business? What if family life and reselling could happily co-exist? This post will show you 11 ways you can include your kids in your reselling business.
The History of Work & Family Life
It’s only been in the last century when work and family life became separated. As parents started working outside the home in factories or offices, kids went off to school, and babies got put in daycare.
This is what we’ve been trained to think of as “normal.”
But for centuries, things were different.
Bringing in income was something the whole family participated in.
Whether it was farming (where kids helped with farm chores and the women cooked for hired hands), or trades like carpentry where the children learned the tools of the trade and eventually took over the family business, generating income was a family affair.
I even have a vintage picture on one of my walls of a survey crew (I worked surveying during the summers while going to school for engineering) where the survey chief’s son is along for the ride on horse and buggy!
Children, during these times, learned many life skills, plus were often homeschooled as well.
In old times, work and family life meshed together much more easily than in our technical age. And families spent much more time together.
What if you could include your family in your business? How would your life look different?
Thankfully, reselling tends to be a business that you don’t have to make too separate from your family life.
Reasons to Include Your Kids
While sometimes it’s a lot easier to just do things yourself, here are some reasons why you may want to consider including your kids:
- Kids like to be included in adult activities.
- Most kids have a strong desire to be helpful. Letting them help can foster a spirit of helpfulness.
- They can practice skills (such as using scissors).
- Apply skills they have learned in school.
- Learn responsibility.
- Learn money skills.
How to Include Your Kids
Now that you know that it’s possible to include your kids and why you might want to include them, here are 11 ways you can include your family in your reselling business.
These are based on my own personal experience with my three kids.
(A lot of these tips will also apply to other home-based product businesses like Etsy as well).
Here they are, broken down by suggested ages:
Birth to 2
1) Baby wearing. A lot of babies are happy to hang out with mom and take in everything that is going on around them. I started reselling just after my third was born, so I know from experience that pretty much every aspect of reselling (sourcing, photographing, listing, shipping) can be done while wearing your baby.
2) Stroller while sourcing. If baby wearing isn’t your thing, I’ve seen other moms bring their babies in a stroller while they shop. Just be sure to bring some snacks and toys along.
Toddlers and preschoolers like to be involved with everything you do. Again, while they can’t really do too much, they will like to “work” alongside you. And you can use this as a time to encourage helpfulness.
Here are some ways to include your toddler and preschool aged-kids:
3) Provide snacks. Snacks can go a long way to buy yourself some time whether you’re sourcing or listing at home. When we are out, a favorite is applesauce squeeze packets and/or a tortilla rolled up with peanut butter.
4) Toys. Provide toys or activities to work on alongside you when you are working at home. Favorites are homemade playdough, coloring, and blocks. When you are working at home, setting them up next to you will make them feel like they are working too!
5) Delivery person. This age loves to play delivery person. They will enjoy taking packages being shipped to the door with you. (As a side note, USPS offers FREE package pickup!)
At this age, kids can start to become useful! Things may be easier to do yourself, but look at this age as a teaching opportunity. You are giving them a chance to practice real life skills and apply book knowledge to real life.
There are many ways to include elementary kids. Here are a few ideas:
6) Look for things while sourcing. If you have to take your kids along to thrift stores or garage sales, they may enjoy it if you give them something specific to look for. Or they may enjoy finding things for you to sell that you otherwise would have looked over. This has happened to me so many times!
7) Give them a job to do. If they get tired of looking for things while sourcing, giving them a job to do can be a lifesaver! It all goes back to kid’s desire to be helpful. Simple tasks they can do are: check that zippers work and button up shirts. You may need to help younger kids with the first button to make sure they get it lined up correctly. Make sure you praise their efforts and tell them how much you appreciate them helping!
8) Weigh items. Weighing items can be great fun for kids! Plus it’s an easy way for them to learn about units (pounds or ounces), and also fractions, which can be a tough concept. I use an analog kitchen scale (as opposed to digital), which makes it easier to visualize for example what half a pound is versus ¼ of a pound. If you have preschool kids as well, you can incorporate math concepts like “more” and “less,” “light” and “heavy.”
9) Help with shipping labels. Shipping always seems to be the exciting part for kids. My kids enjoy cutting out labels (if you don’t have a label printer). Don’t worry…they can easily be reprinted if they mess up. I know from experience! They can also help peel and stick them on packages. Helping with labels gives us a chance to talk together about how to read addresses, state abbreviations they may have learned about in school, and countries where packages are heading. You can continue the learning further by looking at maps to find the places where packages are headed, thereby introducing (or building upon) geography and map skills.
Middle School-Aged Kids & Up
Older kids will enjoy working for a little incentive. Consider paying them for their work based on the number of items (for example $0.50 – $1.50 per item depending on what all you have them do).
Paid work will give them a chance to learn:
- Money management skills such as how much to set aside for spending and saving
- The value of hard-earned money
While I don’t have kids this age yet, I did trained a young girl from our church to help me with the following last summer as a way to earn money for summer camp:
10) Measure items. With a little help initially, kids should pick up on this pretty quickly and be able to do it themselves. It’s a good chance for them to use a measuring tape and again, practice those fractions! I measure to the nearest ½ inch. Feel free to have them weigh items as well (to the nearest ¼ pound). Just have them write down the measurements and weights. Then when you go to list, it will make listing a breeze.
11) Take pictures. This one will definitely take some training on your part. Start with mastering one type of item before moving on to other types. Give clear expectations such as the number of pictures you want and what you want pictures of. With a little initial training up front and some practice, they will be good to work on their own.
Here are a few additional tips:
- Try to save anything that requires near 100% concentration such as computer or phone work for nap time (or quiet time for older kids).
- Turn off notifications on your phone. I’ve done this for two years now, and I can promise you nothing will go wrong that is more urgent than your family.
- Set aside some time in your schedule that is purely “work time” as well as time that is dedicated to your family.
I hope these tips for including your kids will both help you and your business out as well as promote a strong bond with your family.
Lee Meier is an engineer-turned stay-at-home mom reseller. Her passion is to help others learn how to make money from home through reselling. By flipping thrift store items, she has paid for her kid’s preschool, private school tuition, funded her retirement account and is currently on a mission to pay off over $100,000 in mortgage debt. You can find her at https://listingtofreedom.com