Your Child’s First Job
From learning to count to teaching kids the benefits of responsibility, a child’s first job is a great chance to encourage number crunching and introduce the idea of financial independence.
While some jobs may feel less like a job and more like chores, introducing the idea of compensation for the completion of certain tasks helps children understand both accountability and consequence. If a job doesn’t get done, no one gets paid. Sound familiar?
Remember, from popsicles to pocket change, it doesn’t really matter what the compensation is, as long as it rewards the focus, commitment and drive it takes to get the job done.
What Job is Right for Your Child?
When thinking about what jobs are right for your children, there are a few factors you’ll need to take into consideration. These include time commitment, difficulty, customers (friends of family or strangers), level of supervision required, compensation, etc.
Each child matures at their own rate so gauge when your child is ready to shoulder a bit of additional responsibility. Start with small jobs around the house and gradually progress to tasks that take kids outside the home and under the supervision of other adults. Here are some job suggestions for kids of every age:
Under the age of 7
Introduce the concept of responsibility. Teach children the importance of contributing around the house and the work that goes into caring for living things by encouraging them to get involved with:
- Garden work – watering inside and outdoor plants
- Sorting laundry
- Filling and emptying the dishwasher
- Taking care of the household pet
- Setting or clearing the table
- Washing dishes
Between the ages of 7-11
Encourage children to contribute in a meaningful way to household chores and to take on jobs for others under the supervision of a parent or guardian by:
- Taking part in housework like dusting, vacuuming, window cleaning, etc.
- Helping with yard work
- Picking up mail or watering gardens while neighbour is away
Between the ages of 12-14
Cut them loose! Now is the time for kids to progress to the next step towards independence by taking on tasks that require an increased amount of responsibility and little to no supervision such as:
- Lawn mowing
- Washing cars
- Delivering newspapers
14 years of age and up
Your children are old enough to enter the formal job market! Consider helping them apply for jobs at:
- Swimming pools
- Golf courses
- Recreation centres
- Summer camps
- Grocery store
What You Can Do to Help
Your child is looking to show you how responsible they can be, so whatever you do, bite back the criticism and stay positive. It will take some time for your child to figure out what exactly is expected of them, especially at the outset, and even then, they’ll need you to step in time and time again. Be patient – and more than that, be involved!
Help your kids navigate the ins and outs of job-hunting by connecting them with friends and family who might be looking for a new babysitter or math tutor. Work with them to design leaflets (younger kids) or create engaging social media posts (older kids and teenagers) that attract new clients. Offer to drive them to/from their new workplace as they accept jobs that take them outside the house.
Let your children know that you support their efforts and encourage them to reach their personal and professional goals – no matter how big (or small) they may be.