June 17th, 2013
Summer Jobs for All Ages
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**Today’s guest post is contributed by Jim.**
One of the great things about the summer is that there is a lot of time. Of course, if you waste that time, it doesn’t do you much good! And if the kids don’t have something to keep them busy, you start hearing about how “boring” things are.
Instead of trying to find ways to amuse your children all summer, encourage them to get summer jobs. Not only will they have something interesting to do, but they will also learn valuable lessons about making and managing money, responsibility, and how hard work can pay off.
It’s important to remember that the goal for a summer job is usually not the money. Your children’s ability to earn income will be extremely limited. At this age, it’s important for them to learn the other lessons that come from having a job.
Elementary School Children
It can be tough for elementary school children to earn some money through the summer; they’re not old enough to get a conventional job, and they don’t have some of the same abilities to accomplish some of the tasks that pre-teens generally get paid for. However, there are some things that elementary school kids can try (all will require your supervision):
- Lemonade Stand: This perennial classic is a standard summertime job for kids aged 5 to 11 everywhere.
- 4-H/FHA: Let your child earn ribbon money. My son works on 4-H projects all summer. He learns new things, and, if he does well, he gets money. The better the ribbon (and if he goes to the state fair), the more he receives. If you don’t mind having your child raise livestock, he or she can make a great deal at the sale/auction at the end of the summer.
- Gather and sell golf balls: If you live near a golf course, your child can gather stray balls, and then sell them in bags of a dozen. If you happen to live on a golf course, you can just have them set up shop along the cart path!
Middle School Children
As kids get older, their opportunities increase as you can place more trust in them and give them more responsibility. Middle school children have the ability to do a little more and so some of their available jobs may be more interesting:
- Dog Walking: Your child can walk others’ dogs for cash.
- Pet Care: If the neighbors go out of town, your child can be paid to take care of pets. Making sure there is food and water, as well as playing with the pets, can be a great gig.
- Babysitting: Depending on the laws in your state, it’s possible for your child to babysit. When I was younger, I often babysat for my neighbors. If your middle school child is responsible enough, this can be a good job.
- Lawncare: Older middle school children might be able to handle mowing lawns and trimming edges.
With a little careful thought, and a look around the neighborhood, it’s possible for middle school children to find some jobs to do over the summer.
High School Students
Many high school students are old enough to get “real” summer jobs. Depending on the laws of your state, you may need to fill out a few forms before employers will give them a job. In New York, where I grew up, I remember having to go get a little green card from my county government that gave me permission to work (child labor laws!). Once I got that card, I could get almost any job, outside of a factory, I wanted.
Getting a job where you need to report to can be a great learning experience for your child. Babysitting, yardwork, and more casual jobs are great for some extra spending money but there’s nothing like reporting for work and having to be there a set number of hours. That will, hopefully, teach discipline and the value of hard work.
That said, summer is also about having fun and being a kid. At this age, you could turn towards your child’s talents for inspiration on a job. If they’re academic powerhouses, consider tutoring over the summer. Tutoring can help keep your child’s mind sharp while earning extra money and teaching them the value of a good education. If they’re strong in a musical instrument, they could give lessons. The options are endless.
What summer jobs do you think are good for kids to do?
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