By the time your kid starts middle school, it’s time to at least begin thinking about ways they can earn a little extra money—especially during summer break. After all, those video games and value-sized combo meals aren’t going to pay for themselves.
At this age, hopefully your kid understands the simple concept that stuff costs money—sometimes, a lot of money. And even if they’re working just ten hours a week, that little bit of income can go a long way toward teaching the value of work, as well as taking some of the financial burden off you.
So, where do you start? If your thirteen-year-old has never had a job before, what are your options? And does that change as they get older? Let’s take a look at some potential work possibilities for both middle schoolers and high schoolers.
Like we mentioned, at this age, this is mainly just about teaching middle schoolers the value of work. Your options here shouldn’t be complicated and are going to be more limited than they are for a sixteen-year-old.
They might want to look into:
- Babysitting: It’s a need that never goes away. Keep them limited to the neighborhood and close friends and family.
- Summer camps: Nothing better than spending a few weeks outside while making a little extra cash.
- Yardwork: Grass never stops growing! Some of the most hard-working entrepreneurs you’ll ever meet started out with grass-cutting businesses as teenagers. Kids can really start to make some decent cash too, after just cutting a few yards.
- Social media: Do any of your friends or family members own a business? If you have a trustworthy middle schooler who has a pretty good grasp of writing, let them work your Facebook or Instagram account for a few weeks. You might be surprised at how creative they are!
- Pet-sitting: Surely there’s somebody in the neighborhood who would love for your kid to take care of their cute labrador while they are gone for a long weekend.
Kids this age will have a few more options, simply based on employment laws in most states. The key here is to help your teenager find a job that doesn’t just match their skillset, but is a good fit for their personality, energy level, and is in line with what they love to do.
This is a great time to help them with life lessons they’ll need from now on. Tasks like reading a check stub or a direct deposit receipt, understanding how much money they’ll make weekly based on an hourly rate, and filling out paperwork or an online application with basic facts about themselves.
These are things they’ll be doing the rest of their lives, and summer break—when free time is aplenty—is the perfect opportunity to begin learning those skills.
As far as actual jobs, high schoolers might think about:
- Lifeguarding. If your teen loves to swim and doesn’t mind taking a lifeguarding class, then this is a great option. Plus, they’ll have an amazing tan when school starts back!
- Social media manager: Another great option for a teenager. Who are the less tech-savvy business owners in your life? Or could your church use a little help with their social media game?
- Focus groups: If they’d like to make a really good amount of money in a really short amount of time, look for focus groups in your area that are soliciting teen feedback. These are especially easy to find in bigger cities.
- Server or prep cook: If your kid is outgoing and loves to work with people, they might be the perfect fit for a server at a local restaurant. Do they have talent in the kitchen and like to work behind-the-scenes? Many restaurants have positions—like dishwasher or prep cook—open for teenagers.
- Summer camp counselor: Just like with a middle schooler, summer camps are a great option. Older teens have the benefit of being able to take on more responsibility as a camp counselor, work with other kids, and get paid more!
Of course, these are just a few options. Teenagers have a wide range of possibilities when it comes to jobs, especially if they have access to a car and the flexibility that comes with that.
As a parent, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find that perfect job for your teen. Depending on where you live, you might not have as many options. Just be willing to have a conversation with them, make sure you know what they are looking for, and then work together to find the best options possible.
You won’t regret it, and neither will they.