Tips for Navigating Teen JobsJun 01, 2022 ● By Kathy Horstman
By: Kathy Horstman
When my kids turned 13, we opened a checking account for them with a monthly allowance to spend on things that were not a part of our family budget. Going to movies with friends, a nicer item for sports, or eating out are all things that come out of their account. While their monthly allowance is reasonable, they would like a little extra spending money like most teenagers. So, once they were old enough, they started working jobs. Here are a few things our family has implemented around teenage employment:
Find a job that fits with their routine.
My son plays basketball, so we found a flexible job that allowed him to take those few months off so he wouldn’t be overloaded. My daughter babysits, which allows her the flexibility to take jobs as she can.
Decide how to spend the paycheck.
Almost every paycheck for both of my children is split 50/50 into checking and savings. Sometimes, when my son’s tips are high, he gets to keep extra for spending.
Thankfully, my son could drive himself before the driving laws changed, so transportation to and from his job wasn’t an issue. However, we need to take my daughter to her babysitting job, so our family always has to be in communication about who is responsible for driving.
School first. Extracurriculars second. Jobs third.
In our home, school is their primary job. We felt that providing them with an allowance would permit them to be free to make good choices on what to spend their money on and not feel the pressure to work all the time.
As most adults do, ensure they give at least 2-week notice if they plan to leave the job. It teaches them a responsibility they will need as they enter adulthood.
Communicate with your employer.
Ensure your child is open and honest about what a work schedule would look like with their employer. Teach them to talk to managers and discuss expectations. We had one instance where my son was scheduled but shouldn’t have been as he had plans that particular day. We made him change the plans, go into work, and not let the employer be shorthanded. It was a miscommunication, and thankfully, they were able to fix the rest of the schedule in his favor by him going in. This was a life lesson that sometimes we don’t always get to do what we want in life, and work gets in the way. Being a good employee is good to learn early.
Having a job is an excellent opportunity for kids to learn life skills and take direction from someone outside their family. It gives them a sense of freedom when they have their own money to spend and makes them (sometimes) make better decisions on how to spend their money.