While many kids are looking forward to the summer break as a chance to relax and have fun, some might want to earn some play money. Summer jobs are usually thought of as lawn mowing and lifeguarding, but I have some other things your teen may want to try.
Early work experience builds skills
Having a job is more than just a paycheck—it’s an opportunity for teens to be productive and engaged in the community, offers social engagement and encourages a healthy and active lifestyle. Working is a great chance to develop soft skills – essential things employers are looking for at any job. Here are a few soft skills kids might learn in a work environment and some ideas of how to practice at home.
Communication – Role play through different work scenarios like requesting time off, calling in sick or working through a peer conflict.
Teamwork – Practice by organizing an activity at home such as cooking a meal together. Assign roles and discuss how everyone can communicate and work together.
Problem-solving – When your child is dealing with a challenge at home, opt to let them find a solution on their own before offering help. Talk through mock scenarios of common issues in a work environment (i.e., not knowing how to do a task, making a mistake, etc.) and work through ideas to manage.
Professionalism – Practice cell phone etiquette when you order takeout or having them make their own doctor’s appointment with your supervision, talk about/practice writing professional emails and ways to be respectful with customers and peers.
Adaptability – When doing typical tasks at home like cleaning, cooking, or day planning, try to create a situation where something is out of routine or different than normal—perhaps a key ingredient is missing from a recipe or their transportation to work was unavailable. Then, walk through possible solutions or ways to adapt.
Summer job ideas for teens
1. Seasonal work – There are many opportunities for short-term job opportunities. Here are a few ideas.
Worlds of Fun
Youth sports referee
Golf course attendants
Summer camp counselors
Nanny or babysit in-home or a local daycare
Dog walker or pet sitter
Internships – Shift your thinking to applying for jobs, to internships. A chance to learn on the job, a great resume-builder, and some might even pay. Do a quick search for “summer high school internships near me” and see what interests your student!
Youth programs – Along the lines of thinking outside the box, consider work-study programs and workforce partnerships. Here are a few places to start.
Volunteer – I know, I know - It won’t come with a paycheck, but volunteering would give back to the community, provide an opportunity to learn important work skills and would facilitate valuable connections and networking opportunities.
Bonus idea: there are also great programs to help teens explore different careers. A way to test the waters for future jobs to help them explore their interests.
As your teen is considering what to do this summer, remember downtime is a good thing, too. Resting and recharging before the start of another school year is a great way to de-stress and a chance to get ready to learn again.