With two teens in our own home we know how important it is to instill a good work ethic and a sense of responsibility in our growing kids. As soon as Christmas wraps up, we start hinting to our 17- and 16-year-old children about the summer working season and what they are going to do for work during their off-season from school. As such, we have come up with a few great ways that all parents can help their kids get off their butts and earn a paycheck during the summer. Try a few for yourself, and help your teen land a summer job they will love this year!
Be motivating and offer an incentive
Let’s face it: no one likes to work in general, and teenagers are absolutely no exception. Our kids would much rather hang out with friends and sleep in than go out and get a J-O-B. However, we give them an incentive to work. In our case, we let them know that they can keep the junky old cars we let them drive if they have a job and can pay half of the car insurance, which of course they cannot do without an income. We also drive them around to different stores and establishments to pick up and drop off applications, and their first tank of gas is on us.
When you motivate your teen to get a job, they are more likely to be proactive rather than just balk at the idea. Help your own teen land a summer job by searching for potential job leads with them, offering them gas money, or allowing them to use the car to get to and from work. With your encouragement, your teen is more likely to actually follow through with nabbing a job rather than just sit on their butt or with friends all summer.
Recruit friends and family for help
If your teen has never had a job or is having trouble finding a summer job, particularly when they have summer sports or activities they have to work around, utilizing your friends and family can be of good use. See if Grandma needs a hired hand for her yard during the summer, or if Uncle Joe is hiring for help at his mechanic’s shop. Family and friends can be a great starting point for teenagers to learn a great work ethic while still being able to feel comfortable to ask for help when they need it while on the job.
Don’t, however, just give your teenager a job simply because you know the boss. Your teenager should still have to apply for the job they are seeking, even if they are working for immediate family, and they should still be expected to train and work up to their potential or risk being reprimanded or fired. Otherwise, your teen can get a false sense of security about what it means to have a job and can be set for a loss when they try to get their first ‘real’ job.
Encourage the entrepreneur in your teen
If your teenager could own their own business, what would they do? Many teens are great at babysitting, dog walking, or yard work, and can utilize these skills to earn a buck or two during the summer. Encourage your teen by helping them print out flyers and business cards, figure out a fee scale, and helping them market themselves so they can create a client base in the summer.
Just make sure your teenager doesn’t take on more than they can chew so they don’t end up overworked or ignoring clients, and keep tabs on who their clients are. If you feel fishy about someone your teenager is working for, you have the right as a parent to investigate or intervene to protect them.
Know when to step in
Seeing our teenagers working during the summer (and often throughout the school year) is a joy for us as parents, but sometimes we have to put our foot down. Overworked and stressed teens often don’t know when or how to ask for time off, and on the other end of the scale, teenagers often think they can just drop their jobs to hang out with their friends instead of paying heed to their responsibilities. As a parent, you need to keep track of your teen’s work schedule and social life, so you can know when to intervene and when to just let your teen handle their job on their own.
Working during the summer is a great way for teens to earn a little extra money and learn some responsibility. You can help your teen earn a job they will love all summer long in many ways, which can lead to a rewarding and fulfilling summer vacation that everyone can benefit from.