Teen Jobs

07.31.22 05:04 PM Comment(s) By Adrienne Towsen

1. Should my child get a job? 

2. At what age should my child get a job?

3. What kind of job should my child have? 

4. What should I expect them to use the money for?

5. Will this interfere with school and/or other activities?

So let's get some answers to these questions! I think overall it is important for kids to have some sort of job at least once they get to high school even if it is only over the summer and even if it is only for a part of the summer. As kids enter this age group (or maybe even late elementary or middle school age), they are aware of what things cost and realize that "money doesn't grow on trees". However, I think they may not really have a true understanding of how quickly hard earned dollars get spent and may take it for granted. I don't mean this is a negative way necessarily, I just think it can be eye opening for them when it comes time to spend their own money on something that was previously bought for them. Now they have to equate all those hours doing whatever job it is to one concert ticket or that pair of the most popular new sneakers they have been dying to have. 💰=👟 They will start to look at things differently for sure...and that's a good thing.

1. Should my child get a job?   YES

I think it is important for kids to have jobs for many reasons. There will be several factors to consider as kids will have different abilities, home situations, school situations, extracurricular activities, available time and the list goes on. However, I think there is almost always a way to figure out a summer job or perhaps even something after school (in my opinion preferably not every day). It is still important for "kids to be kids', and I am not suggested that every minute of summer vacation or free time after school be spent trying to earn a buck. I am suggesting that they begin to look for opportunities, and see if it is possible to incorporate a job into their life in some way. It teaches time management, responsibility, and in many cases I think it is very satisfying for the kid to then be able to do or buy something with money that he or she earned. In some situations, it can also be extremely helpful for the household if he or she can make some spending money for "extra" things so that it is not always expected to come out of the household budget which, especially in today's world of out of control inflation, can be a little (or a lot ) tight.

2. At what age should my child get a job?  14-16ish

This is hard to answer definitively.  Of course certain jobs have an age requirement, such that you have to be certain age for it to be legal to be hired. This would include things such as retail, restaurant jobs, camp counselors, etc. There can be other opportunities such as babysitting, lawn mowing, dog walking, and other services along these lines that could potentially be done at a younger age. Kids can be industrious and put up flyers or see what's needed in their neighborhood. There are safe online resources for babysitters that I am aware of as both of my daughters used these to find jobs while they were in high school. Transportation is a consideration as well. If they need to be driven to work,  how does this impact the schedule of mom, dad or whomever will be the one to do this. Different opportunities arise once they are driving, assuming they have a car or at least a car they can use.  Side note...earning money on their own can be a great way to support having a car...pay for gas, small repairs, etc💰=🚗

3.  What kind of job should my child have?  Safe and something they don't hate 

This can be tricky. Of course safety is the most important thing. Especially the younger they are, we need to make sure they will be in a safe environment. If they are going to someone else's house to work such as babysitting or dog walking, depending on their age, you may be driving them so you can check it out in this way. If they are driving themselves, you should ask questions and make sure things seem reasonable. If there is any question, you need to investigate, Even if this is your 17 year old, you need to make sure he or she is safe. You need to make sure the hours are reasonable and that there is some flexibility. School is still the most important thing, so if this is an after school job and/or weekends during the school year, you need to make sure it is not distracting them from academics and other responsibilities at school. It would also be nice if they didn't hate it. Finding an ideal job at this age may be a far reach, but I think something they enjoy at least a little makes it better. Let's be real...many of us in our adult lives are doing less than the perfect job and don't love it every day...or maybe any day! However, I think now is the time to let them try something and understand that even if they don't love it, they will have taken on a responsibility and as a result of that,  they are bringing home some cash which they will undoubtedly be happy about. 💰-😊

4. What should I expect them to use the money for?  Depends on the household

This will vary a lot. For some, the ability for a high school age kid to start working will significantly help the overall household. This money could be added to monthly budgets and help with routine bills or perhaps be targeted just for what might be considered "extra" things the kid wants to do or have. In other households, there may be no true need for the kid to work, and anything he or she wants is easily paid for. Even in that instance, I think parameters can be set such that if there is something "above and beyond" that he or she wants, the money made can be set aside for this or it can be the spending money they have when they go out with friends. They may have gotten an allowance in the past, and perhaps this stops now in favor of them budgeting the money they make for their "fun stuff". 💰=🍿

5. Will this interfere with school or other activities?   Maybe, but I don't think it should

As I mentioned above, I think it is very important for a job, particularly if it's not just a summer job, not to interfere with your child's school schedule. There is already enough stress in high school with academics, sports, other activities, friends, and eventually college preparation as well.  Adding a job to this, if in fact there is time, can be reasonable, but if it becomes overwhelming, I think it should not continue unless the funds are critical for the household. In my opinion, an occasional type job (like babysitting or maybe a place where you only do one or two shifts a week) is preferable. Time management and organization skills can be tested with any type of job done during the school year, and those are certainly great things to work on as well. I think a summer job can be the way to go. That being said, summer is also a time for family vacations, camps, and some downtime. There can be a balance here as well. Many places cater to summer workers and realize that kids have other things going on. If there is some flexibility in the work schedule, that is ideal. Let's face it, they are still kids even as they near the end of high school, and they will be most likely working for many, many years to come. While I am in favor of learning the value of a dollar, and being responsible, I also think this is a time to enjoy and not feel the stress and financial burdens many of us face in adulthood. There is a balance in there somewhere. Everything is not always about the money, but having a little extra is not a bad thing! My daughters both worked some during their later high school years and have also had jobs on campus at college. I am very proud of them for this as well as  SO many other things as you would know if your follow our blog.😊

My advice...a job (in moderation) is a great thing for high school age kids...lead them in this direction and I think it will be satisfying for all!

Adrienne Towsen

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