Best Summer Jobs for Teens in Canada

The summer job is a rite of passage for many teenagers. After all, it represents one of their first big steps towards independence. Not only does it help teach important money lessons for kids (and some dough in their back pocket), but it’s also an opportunity to learn valuable skills that will serve them in their future career.

Here’s what you need to know about helping your teenager land their first summer job—from writing a resume to Canada’s labour laws to some of the best jobs for teens.

Three benefits of having a summer job

At some point, kids grow out of summer camp and hanging out with their friends all summer doesn’t hold the appeal it once did. Enter: the summer job. While some teenagers can’t wait until they’re old enough to work, others take, well, a little more convincing to leave the coziness of their bed. Here are three benefits of working as a teenager and having a summer job:

1. Gain valuable work experience

Right now, your teen may not see the connection between serving ice cream all summer long and their first professional job. But, as parents, we know how valuable that very first work experience can be. Not only does it help your teen build their resume, but it’s an opportunity to develop soft skills like customer service, teamwork, and adaptability. In addition, they’re building a professional network that can help serve them in the future.

2. Earning an income

When it comes to money, one of the best feelings is knowing you went out there and earned your own money. While your kids may be used to receiving an allowance, it’s a whole other ballgame when that money doesn’t come from mom and dad. It’s empowering to know that the money in your kid’s bank account is theirs. Plus, there are all the lessons teens learn along the way—like opening their very first chequing account, reading a pay stub, understanding how income taxes work and paying taxes as a teen.

3. Work ethic

The term “work ethic” probably sounds as outdated as “floppy disk,” but unlike flares, it’s something that never goes out of style (scratch that, flares are back in). Dedication and determination are something your teen can carry with them throughout their life. It’s what separates the can-do’s from the couch potatoes.

On the flip side, the benefits for parents when teens score their first summer job include a bit of financial relief. Teens earning income allows parents to focus on their own wants and needs, while the teens of the household can begin paying for things like their cell phone bill, in-app purchases, clothing, the latest tech gadgets and more.

How old do you have to be to get a job in Canada?

The minimum age to get a job varies by province in Canada. Before your teen starts dropping their resume off at every store in the area, it’s important they understand what the labour laws are in their province or territory.

Teen labour laws in Canada by province

Here’s a breakdown of when teens can start working, the minimum wage and how many hours they’re legally entitled to work in Canada*:

ProvinceEmployment ageMinimum wageHours teens can legally work
AlbertaMinimum age is 13 and parent or guardian consent is required. $13Students aged 13 to 14 can work up to
two hours on school days and 8 hours on
non-school days.

They can’t work from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Students aged 15 to 17 who work in retail or
hospitality can work from 9 p.m. to 12
a.m. with adult supervision.
British ColumbiaMinimum age is 16, but youth aged 12 to 15 may work with written consent from a parent or guardian.$15.65Students aged 12 to 14 cannot work more than four hours on a school day or more than 20 hours a week during school.  
ManitobaMinimum age is 13 and youth aged 13 to 15 must complete a Young Worker Readiness Certificate Course.$13.50Students aged 13 to 15 can only work up to 20 hours during a school week and cannot work between 11 a.m. and 6 a.m. 
New BrunswickMinimum age is 14.$13.75Students under 16 cannot work more than three hours on a school day or more than six hours on any other day.

They also cannot work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. 
Nova ScotiaMinimum age is 14 and there are restrictions on the types of work students aged under 16 can undertake. $13.60There are no restrictions for students aged 14 and up who meet the legal requirements to work. 
OntarioThe minimum age to work is 15. Although
some jobs allow teens to start working at 14.
$14.60Students under 18 who work 28 hours or less when in school or during holidays.

Students under the age of 16 can’t work during school hours.
Prince Edward IslandThere is no minimum age to work, but students who want to apply for the Jobs for Youth Program must be at least 15.$13.70A student under 16 cannot work for more than three hours on a school day or eight hours on any other day.

They are not allowed to work more than 40 hours in a week, nor between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
QuebecMinimum age is 14, youth who want to work before age 14 need written permission from parents.$14.25Students aged 16 and under cannot work during school hours or work between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. 
SaskatchewanStudents aged 14 to 15 must have written permission to work and complete a Young Worker Readiness Certificate course, otherwise minimum working age is 16.$11.81Students 14 to 15 cannot work more than 16 hours a week and cannot work after 10 p.m. on a day before school. 
*Information current as of December 2022

Before your teen begins their job search, it’s important they’re properly prepared. Part of that preparation is tackling their job search like any of us would. That includes researching, building a resume and preparing for their first interview.

Building your first resume as a teen

Writing a resume as a teen doesn’t have to be daunting. Teenagers probably don’t have a great deal of work experience they can include, but it’s still worth taking the step to show their professionalism by putting together a polished resume, and following common dos and don’ts of resumes for students.

Here are some of the most important things to include in a teen resume:

  • Name, hometown, and contact information
  • Highlight any experiences that show a willingness to work hard, be committed, or take a leadership role
  • Involvement in extracurricular school clubs or activities
  • Academic achievements, awards, or recognition
  • Leadership programs or roles (e.g. Leadership In Training or assisting as a coach)
  • Any volunteer experience
  • Unofficial jobs, such as babysitting, gardening for neighbours, or a paper route.

Looking for more help? Prepped is a free online career resource that has easy-to-use resume templates available.

A teen applying for a summer job online

Do your research to find summer job opportunities

Good part-time jobs for teenagers are out there! While as parents, we may want to do the leg work for them, encourage your teens to look for opportunities themselves. If they’re interested in retail work, it’s as simple as taking a walk or drive around the neighbourhood and seeing which stores are advertising for part-time assistance or popping into the local supermarket. Similarly, online job boards are an easy way to see what’s available.

Another avenue for your teen is to tap into their network. Do they have friends who are already working? Great! Ask if there are any positions available. They can also contact neighbours or family friends, especially if it’s someone who works in a field your teen is interested in. They may have a great lead or make an introduction to others. That saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” exists for a reason.

Prepare for your first job interview

Whether you’re 14 or 40, job interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience. The more your teen can prepare for their interview, the more confident they’re likely to feel when the time comes. Their interview may even be virtual; however, it’s still important to dress the part. It doesn’t have to be any more formal than a shirt or dressy top. But think head-to-toe, from well-groomed hair to minimal makeup to a presentable pair of shoes (now isn’t the time for Crocs, even if your teenager insists they’re back in fashion!). Another way your teen can prepare for a job interview is to practice answering common interview questions ahead of time with a friend or parent.

Some common interview questions teens may expect to be asked include:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why do you want this position?
  • Tell me about a time you took initiative
  • What are your strengths or weaknesses?
  • What are your future goals?

Also, encourage your kids to think about telling stories to answer a question and demonstrate skills and strengths, such as how they took a recognized babysitting course or how they started a brand-new club at school because they’re passionate about improv.

A teenager working part-time as a barista in a coffee shop

Here are seven of the best summer jobs for 13 to 17-year-olds:

1. Virtual tutor

Video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Skype have transformed our face-to-face interactions, and learning is no different. If your teen is a math whiz, fluent in French or passionate about English lit, they can earn money during the summer as a virtual tutor. The average hourly rate for a tutor in Canada is $20, so working as a virtual tutor is likely more lucrative than a summer job that pays minimum wage. Teens can look for tutoring positions online on sites like LinkedIn or job boards.

2. Gardening

A teenage student watering flowers while working as a landscaper

Let’s be honest, most of us would rather pay someone else to mow the lawn than waste half a day doing it ourselves. Mowing laws or general garden work is a great summer job for any teenager willing to put in a bit of hard work (and loves to be outside). It can also be a lucrative gig. Your teen can set their own rates, and depending on how quickly they work, literally rake it in. To get started, your teen can canvas the local neighbourhood and drop off leaflets advertising their services. Alternatively, they could check with independent lawn companies to see if there are any positions available.

3. Start their own business

While there are plenty of summer jobs out there, another avenue for teens is to start their own business. There are way for teens to make money online, from selling homemade crafts or original photography to making money on YouTube videos. How much they can expect to make will depend on what they choose to do and how they price their goods and services.

A teen working as a part-time associate in a retail clothing store

4. Retail

Whether it was stacking shelves at the local supermarket or folding t-shirts at a clothing store, many of us probably started out our working lives in retail. And despite the pandemic, retail outlets continue to need students to work part-time. If your teen is interested in retail, they should expect to earn the provincial minimum wage and be scheduled for shifts on weekends or evenings. A retail position is a great introduction to working life. Not only does it demand a certain amount of autonomy and responsibility (like showing up for shifts on time!), your teen will learn about teamwork and customer service.

5. Babysitting

Depending on the social distancing guidelines in your province this summer, there is probably an opportunity for your teen to find work as a babysitter (or one-person camp counsellor!) for parents who are juggling young children with work-from-home life. There are no hard and fast rates when it comes to babysitting, and, on average, your teen can earn around $14 to $15 an hour in Canada. Alternatively, your teen may be offered a flat daily rate. Babysitting is an opportunity to learn and build a range of skills, from leadership and responsibility to creativity and conflict resolution.

A young boy working a job as a dog walker in the summer

6. Dog walker

Another great summer job is dog walking. If your teen is confident and capable of handling dogs (and not squeamish about picking up after them), they can earn money by walking dogs or pet sitting. The best way to find clients is through word-of-mouth, the local neighbourhood flyer, or post on social media. While your teen could set their own rates, they might want to do some research and see the going rates for their area. To give you an indication of how much your child could make, the average rate for a dog walker in Canada is $18.95.

7. Food service

Another traditional job for teens is working in food service. Fast food outlets usually hire teens, and like retail, they’ll learn a lot about responsibility, customer service and teamwork. Alternatively, your caffeine lovin’ teen might be able to score a job as a barista at a coffee chain or an independent cafe. Most coffee chains don’t hire teens until they’re 16-years-old and they can expect to make the provincial minimum wage. However, depending on where they work, they could also earn tips.

How to help your teen save money from their summer job

It may not seem like it, but your teen’s first summer job can lead to great things down the road. A University of British Columbia study found that teens who worked in the summer had better job satisfaction and greater future earnings than those who didn’t. With a little bit of advanced preparation, your teen should be able to land a summer gig that puts some cash in their back pocket and might even be a steppingstone to their future career.

And speaking of cash, now that your child is earning their own money, they should also be learning some smart money saving habits. Speak to your kids about how they plan on spending their earnings and what their future goals are. Perhaps they want to save for post-secondary education, buy their first car, or take a gap-year to travel abroad.

Tip: Our free savings goal calculator does the math for you! See how many weeks or months it’ll take to reach your savings goals.

Mydoh is a digital app with a Smart Cash Card that helps kids learn and practice money management while giving parents transparency and oversight. that can also help. By seeing what your teen is spending and where—you can be sure your teens can ensure their hard work this summer won’t be wasted on iced coffee and designer sneakers.

Download Mydoh to help your teen manage their hard-earned, summer job money.

How to Set Weekly Chores for Kids and Teens

Just when you think you’ve got your daily to-do list under control, you’re confronted with a whack of weekly household chores that also need doing. These are the tasks that can be forgotten day to day or pushed off until later, but still need to be tackled regularly.

You know who would be perfect for these jobs? Hint: They’re probably glued to their phones right now. Getting your tweens and teens to help out with weekly household chores not only frees up your time but also encourages them to take pride in their home. Plus, chores are a great way to teach kids accountability and money management

Here’s how to identify what chores need to get done on a weekly basis, plus tips for managing a chore and allowance system for kids and teens in your home. 

What are weekly chores?

If you’re used to doing all the chores yourself, it can be challenging to tease out the weekly tasks from the daily chores. Think about it this way: Weekly chores are the ones that don’t need to be done every day but still need to happen for your home to run smoothly. Laundry, dusting, and yardwork are good examples.

Assigning kids these bigger jobs, which often require more time and effort than everyday chores, is a great way to increase their responsibility as they grow older. When you clearly identify these weekly tasks, it’ll be easier for your tweens and teens to successfully get them done. It also helps them understand how much work goes into maintaining a home and that if all family members pitch in, it can get done a lot quicker.

Having these added duties can also boost your kids’ self-esteem, encourage them to be more responsible, and help them deal better with frustration. 

Learn more: 10 life skills that chores can teach kids and teens.

How to assign weekly chores

Make sure you assign age-appropriate chores to your kids and teens to set them up for success. For example, your tween may not be ready to mow the lawn on their own, but they can do other yardwork like raking, weeding, and helping with the garden.

Hopefully, your tweens and teens have already been helping out with some daily duties, which they can continue to do. But as they mature, you can add the bigger weekly tasks to their lists as well.

You’ll need to provide direction and guidance as kids learn how to do more intensive chores properly and safely. Start by showing them how to do a specific chore and encouraging questions. You could do the job together the first time and then leave them to do it on their own. Don’t forget to provide some encouraging feedback after they’re done. 

If you’re assigning jobs to siblings, take each one’s preferences into account. Say one kid enjoys yardwork and another prefers to clean—you might as well play to their strengths. Otherwise, just rotate the chores, so no one complains that they’re always doing the “worst” ones.

Use our allowance worksheet for kids to help assign weekly chores and how much they should be paid.

Managing weekly chores and allowance

After identifying and assigning the chores, you need to hold your kids accountable for actually doing them. There are many chore charts and calendar options available, as well as the Mydoh app.

With Mydoh, you can make any task a weekly chore. Once you’ve set up your kids’ chores in the app, you don’t have to keep reminding them of what needs to be done. Nagging is no fun for anyone! Mydoh lets them keep track of what tasks they’ve completed and get paid for them on Pay Day. Plus, it helps them understand that they only earn their full allowance by accomplishing all of their chores. It’s also a fun way for kids to see how much they’re earning. 

Want to know more about chore-based allowance structures? Read our Guide to Giving an Allowance to Kids & Teenagers

The best weekly chores for kids and teens

You can organize daily chores and weekly chores by categories such as deep cleaning, outdoor tasks, and tasks that help keep the home in order. Here are some sample chore lists for weekly tasks.

Weekly chores related to deep cleaning

  • Clean behind large appliances
  • Mop floors
  • Vacuum the house (such as bedrooms, hallway, stairs, living room)
  • Vacuum the furniture
  • Clean refrigerator shelves, drawers and door (inside and out)
  • Clean the bathroom (such as sink, mirror, floor, tub and/or shower, toilet)
  • Dust the living room, bedrooms, and office area
  • Wash windows
  • Wash walls
  • Wipe baseboards

Weekly outdoor chores

  • Gardening
  • Landscaping (such as raking, weeding, spreading mulch)
  • Wash car
  • Vacuum car
  • Mow the lawn
  • Clean outdoor furniture
  • Trim hedges
  • Pick up dog poop in the yard
  • Help clean the gutters

Weekly chores that help keep the home in order

  • Organize bookshelves
  • Organize drawers
  • Organize the food in the pantry
  • Organize the garage
  • Take out the trash and recycling to the street; pick up or load into the car to take to the transfer station
  • Babysit younger siblings
  • Laundry (including folding and putting away clean laundry)
  • Bathe pets
  • Change and wash bed sheets
  • Water indoor plants
  • Gather unwanted items to donate or sell

Discover how to create household chores for the whole family with our Guide to Household Chores for Teenagers & Kids

Mydoh helps parents track chores with complete oversight 

Giving your kids the added responsibility of doing weekly house chores is helpful for everyone in the family. And tying the tasks to allowance gives you the opportunity to introduce conversations about money and spending. Using a chore app like Mydoh helps you organize and track chores, pay out allowance, and oversee your kids’ spending all in one app. It also gives them an understanding of how money works by providing hands-on experience for earning and spending

Download Mydoh to help your family build a chore-based allowance system, and start the conversation about financial literacy with your kids and teens at home. 

How to Help Kids and Teens Set and Achieve Goals

As a parent, you likely spend at least some amount of time (maybe even a lot) wondering about your child’s future. You want them to be happy, sure, but you also want them to be independent, hardworking, and capable of achieving their dreams. 

Whether your kids are in their early tweens or on the cusp of independence, it’s never too late to teach them about setting and accomplishing goals. If you’re unsure of where to start, this guide will give you a ton of goal ideas, help teach kids the best goal-setting strategies, and help you uncover how to help your kid follow through on their plans—whatever they may be.

Key takeaways

  • Setting goals isn’t just about achievements, it’s about forming healthy habits around time management, perseverance, and resilience when setbacks happen. 
  • Kids can use the SMART criteria to set goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound. 
  • Help kids set goals by listening to their opinions, keeping goals realistic, and teaching the difference between short- and long-term goals. 
  • Failure happens, but it’s an opportunity to learn. Use the SMART criteria to evaluate what happened and keep it positive! 

Why is goal-setting important for kids?

During childhood, kids form the lifestyle habits and patterns that follow them into adulthood. Learning how to set goals and follow through with them may or may not come naturally for your kid. However, practicing these skills at a young age can help make goal-setting easier for them in the future. Whether their future goals involve finishing university, owning a house, or starting their own business, they’ll be more capable of turning these goals into a reality if they start small in childhood.

What are the benefits of setting goals?

Setting and accomplishing goals are more than just positive reinforcements—although, it always feels great to reach a milestone! Setting and accomplishing goals also help kids learn valuable skills: 

  • Responsibility: Whether or not they reach their goal is no one’s job but their own. Taking ownership will help them reach success.
  • Time management: If their goal has a deadline, they’ll have to learn how to manage their time to meet it. This is a skill that will serve them in their career. 
  • Resilience: Setbacks are a part of life, especially for a goal that’s challenging. If kids want to reach the goal badly enough, they’ll learn to cope with failure. 
  • Perseverance: To reach their goal, they may have to try, change tack, and try again.

What are SMART kids’ goals? 

SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound. It’s one way your kid can check if the goal they want to set is “smart,” meaning it makes sense for them and is something they can actually achieve. To check if a goal meets the SMART criteria, run it through this checklist:

  • Specific: Is the goal broken down into clear steps? 
  • Measurable: How will your child know when they’ve reached their goal? Getting “better” at something isn’t a clear way to measure success. Changing that C+ to an A-, however, is. 
  • Attainable: Does your child have the skills and resources necessary to reach the goal?
  • Realistic: Does the goal actually matter to your child? How will achieving the goal give them satisfaction and/or improve their life?
  • Timebound: What is the deadline (or deadlines, if there are multiple steps) for reaching the goal?

What are some examples of goals for kids?

Goal-setting for kids and teens is similar to goal-setting for adults; although, there may be fewer steps, shorter timelines, and the targets will be different. Here are four good goal ideas for kids to practice: 

Academic goals

Your child can set homework goals, reading goals, or grade goals for assignments or classes. For example: “I want to get an A in my language arts class, so I’ll complete my homework each night before I get any screen time.”

Financial goals

Typically, financial goals for kids and teens would revolve around saving money for something special or managing a first credit card. For example: “I want to buy a video game and I need $20 more. I will do $5 worth of extra chores each week, so that I can buy the game in four weeks.”

Social goals

Your child might want to overcome their fear of public speaking or make more friends at school. For example: “I want to make two new friends this year, so I will attend at least half of the birthday parties I’m invited to, even though I’m shy.”

Habit goals

Your child may want to have a cleaner room, get more exercise, or reduce their disposable plastic use because they care about climate change. For example: “I want to declutter my room, so I’ll spend an hour going through my closet and drawers every Sunday until I have three boxes to donate.”

Read more: How can students give back to the community.

5 ways to help your kids and teens set goals

A big part of goal-setting for kids and teens is choosing the right goal (or goals, but there shouldn’t be too many at once, as it can be overwhelming—even for adults). Aside from running through the SMART goals checklist, you and your kid can also take a few additional steps to ensure a goal makes sense for them. Below are some of the best goal-setting strategies for kids of any age: 

1. Let kids choose

You may have a whole list of goals that you wish your child would set—but restrain yourself. Even if you desperately want your kid to keep their room tidy, get straight As, or score the most goals on their hockey team, they’ll probably be more likely to reach the goal if it’s something that matters to them.

2. Keep an ear out for more options

Your child may voice a wish without thinking too much about it, like, “I wish I could get the lead in the school play” or, “I wish I had a backpack like that kid in my class.” Take those opportunities to talk about the wish, see if it’s realistic and meaningful (that is, it will still matter in a week), then brainstorm concrete steps to turn that wish into a goal. 

3. Make goals realistic 

Small, easy-to-achieve goals are a good place to start, because they can create momentum. Once your kid has had some success, they’ll be more inclined to level up their next goal to something a bit more out of reach, but still within the realm of possibility. For example, if your child usually earns $5 per week for chores, it’s not realistic for them to set their sights on buying a $100 toy within a month, even if they double or triple the number of chores they do.

4. Set short-term and long-term goals

The two main types of goals, short-term and long-term, can work in tandem: 

Short-term goals

For kids, these goals should take less than a month. They can also become steps that are part of a long-term goal. Some short-term goal examples include reading one chapter of a book each night for a week or holding a garage sale to make money for a new video game.

Long-term goals

As the name suggests, these goals take longer to achieve than short-term goals. Some examples of long-term goals include getting an A in a class at the end of the school year or being accepted into their university of choice. 

5. Stick with age-appropriate goals

Even though some kids are naturally more goal-oriented and motivated than others, they’re still kids. Adult goals and goals for kids or teens shouldn’t look the same, because kids may have different capabilities, shorter attention spans, more difficulty with delayed gratification, and fewer ways to earn money. Keep in mind your child’s age limits when they start goal-setting. Achieving smaller victories is much better than never reaching something impossible. 

Read more: How to help kids and teens avoid impulse buying.

4 ways to help your kids achieve goals

You can help your child set and achieve their goals by sitting down with them to create a plan and encouraging them to stick with it. 

1. Write down goals 

Start by encouraging your kids to write down their goal. Don’t worry about checking all the SMART boxes just yet. Focus on the R (realistic) to find short- or long-term goals that matter to your child. Studies show that the simple act of writing goals on paper makes accomplishing them more likely. 

2. List steps to reach goals

If a goal is too vague or too big, it can feel overwhelming, so it’s best to break it down into more detailed steps—sometimes called “goal posts.” Once your child has a list of relevant goals, give them the SMART treatment. Help your child make the goal “specific” and “attainable” by breaking it down into bite-sized chunks. It should be easy to know when a step has been completed (meaning, the step is “measurable”), and there should be a deadline for completion (which makes the goal “timebound”). 

3. Monitor progress

Though you can’t force your child to work toward their goals, you can check in with them to offer support and see if they’re making progress. Suggest they create a chart on a poster board or write deadlines in a calendar, so they can visualize the journey. Then, you’ll both have a clear way to see if your child’s on track. 

Sometimes checking on progress means changing the plan. For example, some steps may take longer than your child originally thought, and that’s all part of the process.

4. Provide positive affirmations

Working toward goals takes time and dedication. Let your kids know you see their effort and are proud of it. Your opinion matters greatly to your child—even if they don’t always say so. 

What happens if kids fail to reach a goal?

Failure doesn’t always feel good, but it can also be a great teacher. Instead of narrowing the goal to match your child’s abilities, see what can be learned from the failure. After all, failure is often a necessary stepping stone to success. (Stephen King once had a wall of rejection letters and has now sold more than 400 million books worldwide!)

Next, you can re-evaluate the goal together:

  • Praise your child’s efforts. The end result isn’t the only thing that matters.
  • Review the goal. Was it too vague? Was it unrealistic? The SMART steps can help here, too. 
  • Ask your child for suggestions. Do they have ideas for what they could do differently moving forward?
  • Brainstorm the benefits of achieving the goal next time. How will they feel?
  • Avoid threats or bribes throughout the process.

The bottom line

Setting goals and working toward them teaches kids valuable skills, ranging from perseverance to time management, that will benefit them as they go through life. While accomplishing goals is ultimately your child’s responsibility, you can still help them set targets that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound (SMART). Plus, you can support them by checking in on progress and offering positive feedback. 

In the end, your child will learn the ropes of goal-setting by learning to work for the things they want—whether that’s an A in science or financial freedom as an adult. And with its tasks feature and weekly paydays managed by parents, Mydoh can help tweens and teens learn to save up for financial goals. 

Download Mydoh and help build the foundation of financial literacy for your kids and teenagers.

New Year’s Money Resolutions for Families and Kids in 2023

Come January, many of us replace our holiday decorations with New Year’s resolutions. Often, these goals are centred around becoming healthier, learning a new skill or hobby, spending time with family, or improving finances. Whether your family wants to pay down debt or save for a dream vacation, here are seven money New Year’s resolutions you can make in 2023. 

Why make New Year’s resolutions?

New Year’s resolutions aren’t new. Humans have been making them for a long time! Over 4,000 years ago, the ancient Babylonians made promises to pay off debts or return things they had borrowed. The start of a new year is a great time to pause and take stock of what we achieved over the last year, and the ways we’d like to improve our lives going forward. Given rising inflation, those goals might only be modest ones. But even small steps forward can help you reach your goals.  

What are financial goals?

Simply put, financial goals are short- and long-term measurable milestones that align with your money values and future. Financial goals can mean  the difference between a wish and a plan. It’s not only adults who can benefit from setting financial goals. Kids and teens can also set a financial goal. Help your kids achieve success by encouraging them to make SMART goals. 

That’s a goal that is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

For your teen, a SMART goal is the difference between simply saying they’ll save for a new computer and deciding to save $600 to buy a laptop in July by getting a part-time job

7 financial resolutions for families in 2023

Here are seven financial resolutions that will help families make 2023 a prosperous one. 

1. Create a budget

If you don’t have a family budget, or you think it’s time for your tween or teen to create a budget for themselves, then start your new year financial goal here. A balanced budget helps you plan where your money goes and if there’s enough to cover the essentials. It’s a skill that will serve your kids as they move into adulthood. To simplify the process, have your kids calculate their income (whether that’s an allowance or through a part-time job), allocate money for spending categories, such as lunch money or phone bill, and savings (ideally 20 per cent), and track their spending habits. 

Learn more: How to create a budget for kids and teens

man and woman sitting on couch creating family budget

2. Pay down debt  

If you’re carrying a balance on a credit card (or multiple credit cards), then paying down debt is a rewarding financial New Year’s resolution in more ways than one. Reducing debt can help reduce stress, improve your credit score, and save money on interest charges. If you’re not sure how much to put towards debt, use the 50/30/20 rule and put aside 20 per cent of your income towards debt repayment. For families with multiple debts or debts with high interest rates, you may wish to consider talking to a financial advisor about debt consolidation

Learn more: How to pay off debt fast: A guide for parents and teens

3. Set a savings goal 

Adults and kids alike can benefit from setting a savings goal. Is there a big purchase your tween or teen wants to make this year? It could be a VR set or a new pair of Jordans. Help them create a savings plan, including a way to earn money (paying for chores around the house is one way that’s a win-win for everyone!), finding a place to put their savings, and a way to track their progress along the way. A good rule of thumb when it comes to savings is to put aside 15 per cent. Or perhaps there’s a family savings goal you’d like to commit to this year? It could be saving for a winter getaway next holiday season or upgrading your home entertainment system. Bonus: Mydoh makes saving easier for teens with our Savings Goal feature.

Tips: Kids and teens can use our free savings goal calculator to create a savings plan for the items on their wish list.

4. Check your financial health

The new year is a great time to review your money situation and make sure it’s healthy. Check your credit score and order a free credit report through Equifax or TransUnion to make sure there are no discrepancies. This can also be a teachable moment to explain to your kids what a healthy credit score looks like and why it’s important down the road—they’ll need a good credit score for everything from finding an apartment to even landing a job. And speaking of financial health, trim down unnecessary expenses in 2022 by unsubscribing to those subscriptions you really don’t need, never use, or have completely forgotten about. Get your kids to calculate how a $6.99 subscription here and a $15.99 subscription there can add up over the year. What else could you do with that money as a family? 

Learn more: What is financial health and why is it important?

woman making packed lunch for son and daughter to save money

5. Introduce no spend days 

Help make your family’s financial goals easier to stick to by introducing (and practicing) good financial habits like “no spend” days. Exactly like it sounds, agree on a day once a week, or even a couple of times a month, where no one taps their debit card. For greater success, pick a day where it’ll be easier for everyone to keep their cash in their pocket. That means no stopping for coffee on the way to work or home from school, take a packed lunch, and no shopping online. No spend days is a great way to help kids and teens learn the difference between wants vs needs.

Learn more: How kids and teens can gamify their savings

6. Give to others

Why not resolve to give back to others in 2023? One way to help raise your kids to appreciate all they have is to have them give to others. Giving back could mean donating money or your time. Involve your kids and teens by asking them to research a cause dear to their hearts. If they’re not sure where to start, encourage them to research charities and organizations that help others in their community. As a family, you may decide to prepare home cooked food for food insecure people, foster a future guide dog, or become involved in a social movement. Check out Charity Intelligence Canada or Canada Helps for more information on how you can give back. 

Learn more: The best ways to teach kids about giving

Group of teens and young adults volunteering by sorting out food donations

7. Learn about financial literacy

Brushing up on financial literacy may sound like a pretty daunting resolution. But at its core, it’s teaching your kids and teens how to earn, save, and invest money. If you don’t know your Bitcoin from your Dogecoin, the difference between a TFSA and an RRSP, or if your teen has expressed an interest in playing the stock market, 2023 is your year to learn. And it doesn’t have to be boring. Share the load and the learning by having different family members research topics and share what they’ve learned (slide shows are optional!). Learning about financial topics helps empower kids to make smart choices when they’re older. 

Learn more: 8 reasons to teach financial literacy to kids and teens

How Mydoh can make sticking to your financial resolutions easier for your kids

Making a resolution is one thing, but meeting those goals means putting in the work. The Mydoh app and Smart Cash Card help kids and teens practice earning and spending their money securely. Mydoh also gives parents oversight, so you can watch their progress and encourage your kids to grow their savings—and their financial literacy—in 2023. 

Download Mydoh and get started today. 

Tips for Teaching Autistic Kids Money Skills

Parents of autistic kids and teens can probably recite lengthy lists of the lessons they’re working on with their kids. Academics, social literacy, all the essential life skills—the checklist is long. But, one skill that might get overlooked, or at least pushed off until later, is money smarts. 

As much as we like to think it’s love that makes the world go ‘round, we can’t forget about money. It’s a driving force in our daily lives and one that all kids need to understand in order to live independently as adults. 

Why is it important to teach autistic kids and teens about money?

Money management can be tricky for everyone. There are a lot of skills involved from basic numeracy and budgeting, to complex organizational and communication skills. Each needs to be broken down and practiced in real life situations. 

Being neurodivergent means having a brain that functions in ways that diverge from the dominant societal norm. According to Harvard Medical School, people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) “may have a wide range of strengths, abilities, needs, and challenges.” So, some teaching strategies may be more successful than others when working with neurodivergent kids.

Teaching money management skills will help neurodivergent kids learn to be more financially responsible. It may also help protect them from money mistakes that can lead to overwhelming debt

5 tips to successfully teach autistic kids and teens about money

Bruce Petherick, an Autistic Advocate with Autism Canada, shared some strategies to help parents teach kids and teens with autism money management skills. 

1. Slow and steady 

“Always assume competency,” says Bruce Petherick, Autistic Advocate and Autism Canada spokesperson. “Don’t lower expectations, but also be sure to respect limits and fatigue.” 

Neurodivergent kids may have difficulty planning or completing tasks with multiple steps, so don’t teach too much at once. Instead, focus on one concept at a time. Break down bigger tasks into manageable steps.

2. Get an early start

Autistic kids may require extra time to master financial concepts. So, it’s important to start teaching about financial responsibility early. Include kids in discussions about money from a young age—talk about how much things cost, ways to earn money and discuss what they might save up for. Starting these conversations and lessons early generates more opportunities to learn about and practice money skills. 

Read more: How kids and teens can gamify their savings

3. Set kids up for success by maintaining routine

Consistency and familiarity can provide comfort and confidence. Make lessons predictable by visiting the same store or bank at the same time of day. Use the same ATM or line up at a familiar checkout lane to create a stable learning environment. Choose low pressure situations when teaching something new. If your child is overwhelmed by crowds, visit the bank or stores (to practice money skills) in off peak hours. 

Read more: Best daily routines for kids and teens

4. Consider learning style

If your child is a visual learner, use charts, apps, or pictures to make learning more visual and engaging. If your child learns better by doing, find more hands-on activities to make concepts more tactile. 

Build on strengths. If your child is already skilled at navigating the world digitally, try introducing them to online banking. Extending from an already successful skill is a practical next step. 

Ask your child what they are interested in learning about. Include them in the process and let them take a role in their financial literacy. 

Tap into your child’s interests. If they love comic books, create opportunities to save up for them, shop for them (in real life and online), look for bargains and even create and sell their own. Seek out any opportunity for real world connections. 

5. Respect boundaries

Some kids can easily manage the money skills aspect of shopping, but there are subtle nuances involved in a transaction that can be overwhelming. “The social aspect of a transaction is quite personal. This sensory sensitive component can be challenging for neurodivergent kids,” explains Petherick. “Don’t push autistic kids into communicating—with a cashier for example. Explore and encourage, but always respect boundaries.”

It’s also important to know when to let things go. Try to end lessons or excursions before frustration sets in. You can always try again another day. 

3 activities to teach kids and teens with autism learn money smarts

1. Establish an allowance

Whether you provide a weekly fixed allowance or pay for completed tasks, providing kids with an opportunity to earn an income and manage their own money is a great way to develop financial literacy. The Mydoh app makes it easy to create, track and pay your child for household tasks or to simply transfer money to their reloadable card.

An allowance is a gateway into the economy. It provides kids with the experience of managing an income before they enter the workforce. 

Read more: What’s the right way to give an allowance?

2. Goal setting

Creating a financial goal is the first step in learning to create and follow a budget. Help your child set a goal for something they would like to purchase—a special toy, a game, clothing, or even an experience like a trip to the movies or a theme park. Figure out together how much this will cost and how long it might take to save for this item. Create a visual chart or graph to monitor progress toward their goal. 

3. Spend money in the real world

Talking about money or “playing” with pretend coins has its limitations. Getting out there and participating in real-world scenarios is best practice for… practice. Visit the bank together and open a bank account. Go grocery shopping and compare prices. Use coupons, look for deals and tally up receipts. Walk your child through a household bill and teach them how to send an e-transfer.

My daughter, who is neurodivergent, received a Mydoh Smart Cash Card for her birthday last summer. It allows her to safely make purchases with the money she earns by completing tasks and receiving an allowance. Since spoken communication is challenging for my daughter, being able to tap a card to pay for things independently has been a game changer. She uses the physical card on Fridays to buy lunch in the school cafeteria.

Petherick says, “Obviously not all autistic kids share the same interests or strengths, nor do they learn in the same way. Parents and teachers of ASD kids should consider these tips as a starting point. But first and foremost, consider your child’s interests and abilities when teaching any skill, including money skills.” 

The ability to manage money responsibly may impact autistic kids’ ability to live on their own. A parent’s goal is to give their children the skills necessary to live safely and successfully as independent adults. Raising money-smart kids is one way to guide them toward that goal. 

To learn more about Autism Canada’s programs and family support, visit

Download Mydoh and help build the foundation of financial literacy for your kids and teenagers.