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Best Summer Jobs for Tweens and Teens

How to help your kid find a summer job

Nikki McCoy
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Published on: May 26, 2022

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Both my sons started helping around the house at a young age. Throwing dirty clothes in the laundry, feeding the pets and stirring the scrambled eggs for breakfast were a few of their pre-teen responsibilities. While “chores” may get a few eye rolls and groans these days, my kids know that contributing to household management is a foundational skill that will carry well into the rest of their lives — including landing a future job

Now that they are almost 13 and 16, earning money and building a résumé are huge motivators for my kids to get summer jobs. Those same reasons, plus the desire for them to have structure and accountability outside of the school year, are huge motivators for me to help them find those opportunities. 

Summer jobs — and how to get hired — have been a big conversation in our household as the school year comes to end. Here, we share some ideas worth exploring: 

Babysitting or parent’s helper

I remember the summer when a 12-year-old girl who lived next door would come and just play with my kids while I got chores or writing projects done. Gaining a few hours of focused time while she entertained the little ones was a win-win. Plus, as she got older, she became our regular sitter. Babysitting has become a lucrative business in recent years and there are plenty of courses for kids to learn some important skills, such as CPR and first aid. 

Tutoring or teaching

Does your kid have a skill they excel in? Math? Piano? Soccer? Encourage them to strengthen their own skills while helping younger kids learn new things. 

Mowing lawns or yard work

This is the classic summer job. Parents of young kids or the older folks in your neighborhood will benefit from your tween or teen’s service. Consider offering one free hour for every 10 hours worked to encourage long-term clients. 

Dog walking or cat sitting 

This is a favorite of my kids. And our friends love that they have someone to trust to take care of their fur babies while they are working or out of town. 

Tech help

This generation of digital natives can troubleshoot a tech problem quicker than any Google search. Many older neighbors and relatives could use assistance with setting up apps, understanding spreadsheets or staying safe from scams. 

Camp counselor in training

Many camps for grade-school kids offer counselor training for older kids. My son did this last summer and spent 80 hours practicing creative diversion, playing card games and kickball, and being someone the younger kids looked up to. While we had to pay for this training, it gave him lifelong skills. Plus, he had to fill out an application and interview — just like a real job. 

Extra chores

Bribe, I mean pay, your kids to help out at home. Pressure-washing, vacuuming the car, washing the windows, sweeping the garage. I mean, does the list ever end?

How to get that job: 

Sometimes, it takes just as much energy to land the job as work the job. Here are a few resources to help: 

  • Digital notices. Post on Nextdoor or neighborhood Facebook Groups. Look for notices in the newspaper or on websites. 
  • Good old-fashioned fliers. Put up service fliers at grocery stores, libraries and on neighborhood bulletin boards, and pass them out to walkers in parks and neighborhoods. 
  • Use your network. There is no shame in asking relatives, friends and coworkers if they’d like to hire your (increasingly) responsible kids. 
  • School counselor. Helping kids with resources is literally their job. Just ask. 

Once your kids are earning money, don’t forget to invest time into money management. Set up a bank account if they don’t already have one or try out a parent-managed debit card. 

Can’t get hired? Don’t get discouraged! Volunteering is a great way to gain experience to land a gig. Apply for volunteer opportunities with the tips mentioned above and you’re sure to find a good fit. 

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