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Why your teen needs a summer job

Summer is the best time for teens to get a job and earn some money! With no more time commitments from school, they have the freedom to work as long and as hard as their little hearts desire!

But many teens and parents face challenges with summer jobs.

Challenges like

- How can my teen find a summer job?

- How can my teen get hired when they are competing with college students for the same jobs?

- my teen doesn't want to work

- How can my teen get a job if we have summer plans?

Great questions!

I will discuss how to overcome these challenges, explain why it is so important for your teen to have a summer job, and list the best summer jobs for your teen.


I had my first job at 11 years old. My older sister and I would mow lawns for the elderly neighbors around my grandparents neighborhood. We mowed lawns every Saturday morning, and I would make $15 for about an hours worth of work. I had this job from age 11 to age 18 when I went off to college. 

As an 11 year old, making $30 on a weekend was a lot of money to me! 

And I loved it! My dad would drive us over to my grandparents neighborhood in the morning, we would mow for several hours, then break for lunch, where my grandmother would have lunch ready for us, and a glass of sweet tea!

It was a pretty funny site to see! I was a very tiny 11 year old, so the lawn mower was bigger than me, which was an extra enjoyment for the elderly customers to watch every week. :)

At a young age, I learned a strong work ethic, and enjoyed earning my own money, That is why I believe it is so important to help our children learn the value of hard work through summer jobs. 


Why it is so important for your teen to have a summer job.

1. Save for college

The most important reason all teens need a summer job is to save money for college. Whether you plan to pay for your child's college education, or not, there are a ton of expenses associated with going to college and living on their own for the first time. 

Extra expenses include: dorm living or apartment living, utilities for apartment, food, dining out, textbooks, school supplies, on campus events, or weekend fun expenses with friends.

It's important to let your teen know early what expenses you will cover, and what expenses your teen will be expected to cover. And help them budget accordingly.

For example, if your teen son wants to take out a girl for a dinner and movie date, let them know that they need to have the funds for this type of weekend outing. (hopefully they are already paying for this type of expense in high school, so it won't be a shock when they leave for college). 

Every family is different, so whatever you decide to pay for, just let them know the expectations. And help them get a small job as early in their teens as possible. 

2. learn the value of hard work

It is sad to see how many teens do not know the value of hard work. Some teens just don't care about having a positive outcome for the work they put in. 

Having a summer job can teach your child how to work hard for several hours without a break, be at work on time, and learn some customer service by being polite to clients and customers. 

Working hard is a skill that will translate over to school work, and to adult life.

Learning the value of hard work can change your teen from a lazy teen into a teen with a strong work ethic. 

3. learn the value of money

It is crazy to see how many teens believe they are entitled to the latest gadget just because their friends have it. They ask and demand for electronics that cost $300 to $500, without having any clue about how hard you, the parent, worked for that money!!

Some teens don't know that money does not grow on trees!

Having a summer job will teach them the actual value, in dollars, of their hard work. 

So if your teen takes for granted the cell phone, computer, and other gadgets and electronics you provide for them, working a job earning $8 an hour can quickly teach your teen the true value of their hard work. 

4. financial literacy

Financial literacy are one of those skills that we all will need for the rest of our lives. If you are a parent that struggles with finances and money management, then you may be struggling with how to help your child learn this life long skill.

By having your teen earn their own money, you can begin teaching them financial management. 

One way to teach this is to have them start paying for certain expenses. Now, each family is different, so you will have to decide what is right for your family, and at what age. 

Some expenses your teen might start paying for are: their cell phone bill, their car insurance, pay for their own meal when dinning out with friends or family, or their own ticket to the family trip to Disney World. 

Knowing that your child will have to plan ahead for these expenses will help them learn some financial management,

Savings tip: My father used a great technique to teach me to save my money and not spend it (like all 11 year old's want to). He told me that whatever money I earned from mowing lawns, if I put it into a savings account, he would double it dollar for dollar. So if I earned $30 a week, and put it into a savings account, he would match the $30, and I would have $60. For a young teen, earning $60 a week was HUGE!! You can bet I did this every week!

Side note: You are NOT a bad parent for having your child pay for certain expenses. Remember, the goal is to teach your child the skill of financial education and money management to help them better adjust to adulthood (when they have to pay for everything and should not be relying on you for money). 

What do I mean by a summer job?

I DO NOT mean a job where your teen has to go store to store and ask if they are hiring. 

I DO NOT mean that your teen should send 100 applications for employment.

It is true that if your teen is looking for a job with an employer, they will likely lose the job to a college student. Over the summer, as the college students return home, they are competing for the same jobs as your teen. So 9 times out of 10, the college student will be selected over the high school student. 

What your teen needs to do is work for themselves!

How can they do that?

Have your child pick a skill that is labor intensive that they do well that people are willing to pay for.

Such as: Yard work, mowing lawns. baby sitting, painting, grocery shopping, house cleaning, etc.

This is the type of job your teen needs because 1) they set their own hours, 2) and rate of pay, 3) and can take a week off for a family trip without being fired. 

This type of work has the flexibility that your teen needs.

How many hours should your teen work?

To start, I only recommend between 1 and 5 hours a week. This will still teach them the value of hard work, the value of money, and money management, without making them feel overwhelmed. 

If they have the time and the desire to earn more money, then they can definitely work up to 30 hours or even 50 hours a week.

However, if your child is feeling overwhelmed by a summer job, only require a minimum of 1 to 2 hours a week. (It's super manageable and won't kill them!) 

How to help your child get their own customers?

You can help your teen by creating flyers, business cards, or handouts to pass out to potential customers. Your teen can pass these out door to door around the neighborhood, or pass them around your local church or community. 

Even if your teen is struggling to get summer work, having them actively seek out their own customers is still teaching them the value of hard work! 

Good luck helping your teen find a summer job that they will enjoy! 


Does your teen already have a job lined up for the summer? Leave a response and let me know all about your teen!