10 Great Summer Jobs For Your Teen (Who Doesn’t Have One. Yet.)

Your teen never secured that “awesome” summer job you dreamed about last February. And now you’re starting to panic. You’re not alone. Fear not, there’s still time to help your young entrepreneur earn some cash, learn to manage their time and to have fun with an age-appropriate summer job.

One of my fondest memories as a child was the summer lawn mowing “business” my four older brothers ran and, ultimately, turned over to me. It was a small town in Nebraska and a simpler world. But at our peak we weekly groomed nearly 20 yards – with prices ranging from $2.75 to $3.50 per lawn. I know – times have changed.

My father and mother funded our operating costs – buying all the gasoline we needed. All we had to do was mow each yard, sweep any mess we left on patios and sidewalks, say goodbye – with a friendly smile – to all of our clients and collect our earnings every month.

In retrospect, it was the best business deal I’ve ever had. We were done by noon nearly every day, we kept busy, we learned a lot about customer service (and the curveballs that come with two solid days of rain) and we enjoyed what seemed to be a goldmine of money.

Those early memories convinced me that age-appropriate summer jobs are a good thing. But having raised three children, I know this goal is harder to achieve than my simpler summer days of yesteryear.

Top Ten Summer Job Ideas for Your Teen

1. Babysitting / Nanny / Manny Jobs in the Neighborhood: Have your child make a flyer – for distributing to all the homes in your neighborhood – describing the services they can provide to families. Make sure they accurately include the ages they are capable of watching, any special training they have, their phone number (or yours) and their hourly rate. Childcare is one of the fastest ways for teens to put their talents to work!

2. Summer  “Helper” Work at Local Stores or Businesses: It’s amazing how many local stores or businesses are happy to hire a friendly teen for temporary work – like cleaning out a filing room or organizing inventory. Again, your teen simply needs to prepare a one-page flyer with all of their pertinent information and start knocking on doors!

3. Summer Tutoring Services: If your child has a particular strength in a subject or foreign language, there might be a fun opportunity for them to tutor younger children in your community. They can find potential clients by stopping in offices of local elementary schools (to ask for advice) or post a flyer in local coffee shops.

4. Local Parks and Recreation Jobs: For older teens, the Parks and Recreation Department can be a fantastic place for summer work – even if your child is late to the finding-a-job game. They can look into jobs online to find opportunities close to home.

5. Running a Summer Day Camp at Your Home: My daughter and her friends, when they were teens, were great with crafts. So they put their talents to use by running “Craft Day Camps” at our home – where younger children could come (for a fee!) for a few hours every morning for a week to learn a new craft. It was fun. It was profitable. And they couldn’t have been more proud. This is a great concept that can be applied to a number of themes including sports, cooking and plain-old game playing.

6. Lifeguarding: It’s the old stand-by summer job in many communities. And don’t dismiss it even if summer has begun: I got my first lifeguarding job starting August 1 – when a local pool was in need of a replacement guard.

7. Camp Counselors: From day camps to overnight camps, counseling can be a fantastic job for your teen. And, like lifeguarding, they are often positions that are filled at the last minute. And I can tell you, being a camp counselor is one of the best memories I have as a teen.

8. Food Services:  For older teens – it may not be glamorous work, but it’s a job you can leverage into part-time work during the school year.

9. Caddying: Golf courses – both public and private – provide fantastic opportunities for teens to make some great money during the summer. Friendly, energetic, personable kids are always needed at courses across the country.

10. Landscaping: Finally, based on my own personal childhood, how could I not include encouraging your child to knock on doors to see if your neighbors need help with mowing, raking, pulling weeds or gardening. All it takes is one “yes” and your child is in business!

And remember, no matter what your child’s summer job opportunities entail, your job is to help them navigate through these new responsibilities. That means having your children set their own alarms, make their own breakfast – things you may be tempted to do for them. Find that perfect balance for your own child. Help them. Encourage them. Cheer them on. But let them feel a little outside their comfort zone because that’s where they’ll grow and mature.

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