Should Your Tween Get a Summer Job?

By Taryn Tacher

Summer is finally here, and that means pool days, camp, trips to the beach, play dates and lots of free time for your tween. While school may be out — and your tween certainly deserves a break from homework and studying — there is no reason he cannot still be productive. It is never too early to instill a strong work ethic in your children, so why not encourage them to get a summer job? Vegging out is much needed from time to time, of course, but with more than two months off from school, there is plenty of time for your tween to earn some money and learn a little responsibility, too. Summer is the perfect time to transform your tween into a budding businessperson.

Just keep in mind that per the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, child labor laws in the state of Florida prevent the employment of anyone under the age of 14. So, while your tween cannot apply to work at the local ice cream shop or any of the stores in the mall, he can still snag a summer job by helping a neighbor, by working at a family-owned business or by getting creative.

Sit down with your tween to discuss his interests, his strengths and what he might be interested in doing. If he loves animals, dog walking or dog sitting may be the perfect way for your tween to earn some cash. If he has experience caring for younger siblings, babysitting for neighbors may be his calling. Is your tween artistic and entrepreneurial? It is never too early for him to open an online shop on a site like Etsy, where he can sell homemade jewelry, artwork and more.

If your tween has a talent or interest, or if he is trying to save up to buy something special, you may not even have to coax him to seek out work — your tween may think of the idea all on his own.

April Tisher is the mother of a 13-year-old industrious tween. Her son, Andrew, dog sits for their neighbors and helps takes care of his mother’s yard by mowing the grass.

“He wanted extra money,” Tisher said of her son. “I think he [enjoys working], especially the dog sitting. He’s a dog lover. Lately, he’s spent the money on birthday and Valentine’s Day presents for his girlfriend.”

And while Andrew may have spent some of his hard-earned money, he is still learning the value of a dollar.

“It’s easy [for kids] to spend their parents’ money — the value seems insignificant,” said Tisher. “But when he must earn it, he is more careful of how he spends or saves it.”

A lot can be learned from simple summer jobs — like time management, responsibility and the importance of saving and spending money wisely. So, motivate your tween to find a summer job to keep them busy and to balance out the countless hours they will be spending soaking up the sun.

Summer Jobs for Your Tween to Consider

• Dog walking

• Dog sitting

• Babysitting

• Housesitting

• Lawn mowing

• Gardening/yard work

• Selling handmade items through an Etsy shop

• Tutoring

• Washing cars

• Lemonade stand/bake sale

• Household chores