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What Your Kids Learn When They Get a Summer Job
Updated: June 01, 2021

When You’re a Teen, a Summer Job Is Part of Your Education

In 1978, over 40 years ago, 60% of all teens were pounding the pavement to get summer jobs, but today that number has fallen to 35%. We are amazed to think the number of teens trying to get a summer job is almost half what it used to be. Summer is a great time to send kids out into the world to get a taste of working life while still returning home to the comforts provided by mom and dad.

This drop off in working kids is dramatic, and we feel the reason is a lack of input from parents. They probably aren’t going to beg you to let them go get an entry-level job. So you need to give them a little shove. Spurring your child to go out and get a summer job not only rewards you with some time to yourself in the house, but teaches them Responsibility, Respect, and Revenue.

The 3 R’s of a Summer Job 

1. Responsibility:

A summer job teaches kids about the labor involved with work. They learn to schedule, making certain to mark days off in the calendar, and washing their uniform before each shift. Managing a schedule that is not handed down by the registrar’s office at school is an entirely different beast for most kids.

Classroom and workplace responsibilities can inform one another well, and learning the importance of completing work on time can never be emphasized enough. Taking problems and questions to co-workers or managers is another reinforcement of responsibility on the road to adulthood and year-round work. Your son or daughter or grandchild will learn responsibility from someone besides you when they get a summer job.

2. Respect:

Summer jobs offer the opportunity to teach your kids respect for roles they may have never thought about before. Have they ever wondered what it takes to open and run a swimming pool? A restaurant? A clothing store? A service job gives your child a fresh understanding of the work involved in serving others.

Learning more about the different work of various industries gives children respect for different paths of employment. It really opens their eyes. To work a food service job as a teenager is to learn a life-long appreciation for the waiter who is handling a dozen tables on a Friday night.

A bonus? Your child may learn to respect your long hours and hard work after they’ve had a tough day dealing with customers or standing on their feet.

3. Revenue:

Everyone loves spending money. Who loves spending money more than kids enjoying summer? Isn’t that why the trees bloom in the spring, to sprout money for summer?

A summer job is a good source of revenue for them. Sure, they may not amass piles of cash when they get a summer job, but they will make more than if they do NOT get a job. But their summer job is not just about your child earning money. A summer job affords you, the parent, the opportunity to teach your kids the value of a dollar and how to start saving and managing money. It would be irresponsible to let kids spend all their money from their paychecks as they wish. Yes, they earned it, but as long as they’re under your roof, you get some say in how it is spent.

At this vital stage of growth, instilling good values for managing money pays off BIG in the long run. Sure, your kid may go wide-eyed at that first paycheck. But do not let that opportunity go to waste! Sit down and talk with your child about proper money management.

Their job gives them a perspective on spending their hard-earned revenue. When they want that new video game you are now able to say, “Is it worth two weeks of work to you?” Or “if you spend it now, what happens during the school year when the next, new video game comes out?” It’s not just about the source of revenue, it’s about learning to manage it.

Now Is the Time for Your Teen to Get a Summer Job

With summer practically here, now is the time to encourage your child to head out into the job market. If your family is fortunate not to be concerned about cash flow, there are still many benefits to having your kid gain work experience.

Beyond earning money your children will learn responsibility and respect, and valuable money management skills. Having a burden of responsibility greater than schoolwork or chores is a tremendous educational tool for kids. Also, respecting coworkers, managers, and customers (kind ones and difficult ones) is a valuable learning experience.

Take this summer to teach your kids about money management and you will help them for the rest of their lives. Understanding proper habits of saving and spending may seem like a drag to youngsters but will change their lives in the long run. This summer make sure you get your kid out of the house and get a summer job as there are plenty of lessons and skills to learn that are not found in school and home alone.

Got any summer job tips you’d like to share? Please post them below.

Taylor & Megan Kovar

The Money Couple

Taylor and Megan Kovar, The Money Couple



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