Every summer, while some kids lounged by the pool, I was working. From my first jobs as a local camp counselor and office “manager” at my dad’s driving school to sales assistant at the mall Hawaiian shop (selling thousands of Jams shorts, an 80’s fave), I actually loved working.
I earned money, met new people and gained confidence working alongside older kids and adults. Here’s three ways your teen can benefit from summer jobs.
BENEFIT ONE: Earn money. I’ll bet this is No. 1 on your child’s list too. But, here’s the trick; once they are earning money, you have to help them learn to budget effectively. One of my favorite strategies is to earmark the money into three categories:
- Spend right now. This is the fun part! Do they want to splurge on a pedi or rock the latest cool shades? Or do they have an expensive iTunes, fancy coffee or movie habit? Congratulations! You’re now off the hook.
- Long-term savings. This is a great habit to start at a young age. Have your teen earmark a percentage for long-term goals, like college, insurance for their car or a graduation trip. Take the time to discuss with them an appropriate goal, based on your family’s realities.
- Donate. Teaching your child to be generous is a trait that will pay dividends their whole lives. Have her think of causes that are important to her – for instance a cancer-related charity, a pet shelter or hunger relief, and let him experience the satisfaction that comes from giving
BENEFIT TWO: Learn Important work habits. Work habits don’t just come naturally to our kids – they have to learn how to behave in a professional environment. Whether they are working in the mall or an office, a summer job will underscore a wide variety of workplace habits that will help your child in future endeavors.
Having a job means that he will realize the importance and responsibility of being punctual; managing his time to complete tasks as directed; following directions; dressing appropriately; taking pride in his work; functioning as part of a team; and learning to interact with different personality types – from a boss, to coworkers to customers.
BENEFIT 3: Meet new people. Making new friends from different towns and schools is a major bonus of summer jobs. Spending eight hours a day with someone for eight weeks while managing a group of young campers or scooping ice cream can be a true bonding experience. I have found that these friendships are a great way for kids to branch out and connect with people outside of their usual group.
BONUS BENEFIT: A summer job always looks great on your child’s resume. Remember kids should begin keeping track of their accomplishments, extracurriculars and jobs beginning in 9th grade for their college applications.
Have a great summer job story! Share it with us on Facebook.