Tips for teens on discovering that great summer job

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It’s another gorgeous summer day. You glance at your watch and note that it’s almost noon. For some this means that lunchtime is not far off, but for parents of a teen it also means their offspring is likely just rolling out of bed.

We almost never disconnect. Working women, especially, with or without kids, barely get a chance to exhale before rushing on to the next meeting, soccer game, piano lesson, dry-cleaning pick-up. Well, you get the idea.

Rest assured; you’re not the only parent in the world who is left wondering why your teen is just so darn tired, and whether you doing the right thing by allowing them to sleep away the precious months of summer. Some people argue that the summer months are just that, the lazy days of summer. But other parents know that, if their child is old enough and able, they could, in fact, be working a summer job and reaping the rewards of doing so.

Having pocket money is not the only benefit for the 14- to 18-year-old crowd who opt to work instead of snooze their days away. Working a job is a great way for teens to get a taste of the real world, where people manage the responsibilities that go along with earning their own income.

Luckily, the modern world offers teens more money-making opportunities than ever before. There are still the old-fashioned and completely acceptable jobs such as mowing lawns and babysitting, but now there are also Internet business opportunities such as freelance writing and web design that can apply to young workers as well. Here are a few suggestions on money-making ideas that will teach your teen responsibility while also lining their pockets with some extra dough:

• Arts and crafts tend to be popular since consumers are looking for items that are natural, original and simply have more meaning than a store-bought item. Handmade jewelry, items made from wood, hand-sewn bags or purses, homemade greeting cards and even kid-designed clothing are some possibilities. Your young crafter can then sell their wares at garage sales, craft shows and even on Etsy with adult guidance.

• If your teen has a flair for cooking, creating homemade food items such as cakes, cookies, sauces or pickles to offer for sale is also a great option. Again, these items can be sold at festivals and farmers’ markets, but your teen will need to know the local regulations on preparing food for sale.

• Strong backs and a willingness to do hard work is another way for teens to monetize their summer. The demand for lawn care, leaf removal and basic yard cleanup is never ending and can become a re-occurring gig. These services can also stretch into year-round work opportunities. Once your teen gets a reputation for being reliable and doing good work, they may find their services in high demand.

• Babysitting is another time-honored teen job that is always needed and is not gender specific. Parents know the value of a trusted babysitter and teens who delve into this money-making opportunity may find that they have years of employment with some families.

• It’s no secret that many teens know far more about computers and technology than folks twice their age. Computer help is another lucrative area for teens, since so many people have computers these days yet don’t know how to maintain or fix them. There is a segment of the population that would pay a teen to update software, set up websites and even create logos for their personal use, hobbies or small businesses.

• For those who are looking for a more social experience when it comes to earning money, there are many brick-and-mortar companies in retail or fast food areas that offer working experiences to workers as young as 16. Parents and teens alike need to keep in mind that different retail or restaurant jobs have different age requirements. A 16- or 17-year-old may be eligible to work as a stocker or sales associate, but not as a server or cashier.

If your teen is still on the fence about how they want to earn a few extra dollars this summer, it may be helpful to ask the key question of why. The “why” of finding a summer job may be as simple as earning money, but perhaps there can some long-term benefits woven in as well. A teen toying with the idea of becoming a veterinarian may do well working a summer job at a dog rescue or pet store. Working in a library, for instance, might be great for someone interested in a career in publishing, writing or even history. If possible, try to help your teen find a job that aligns with a career aspiration or a personal goal in their near future.

It can be challenging for teens to find the right summer job, but it is also a chance for your budding entrepreneur or part-time worker to discover an honest assessment of their abilities, interests and strengths when it comes to employment. Teens will find that those summer months will fly by, but what they learn during those months will last them a lifetime. HLM

Sources: and the experience of the writer.