Helping your kids find cool summer job ideas that will help them mature and learn new skills is a gift that keeps on giving. Working can help children learn the value of money, develop a strong work ethic, and build self-confidence.
According to research by the University of British Columbia, they are also more likely to find work as adults, get higher incomes, and are better at career networking. The study tracked 246,661 Canadian children and revealed that those who started working throughout the year when they were 15 had higher incomes at ages 17 to 25. They also had higher quality jobs at ages 21 to 23.
However, not all jobs are made equal, and the benefits diminish when children work too many hours or work someplace they hate. Therefore, finding a job that your children are interested in and fits their skill set is important. The list below provides various cool summer job ideas for kids of all ages and interests to get you started.
The Family Business
If you are a business owner or a freelancer, get your child to work with you. Even if you are a W-2 employee, consider turning a hobby into a side business you can do with your child. The study mentioned above found that working for the family business provided the most benefits for teenagers. Try to find activities that play into your children’s interests. Even if you work remotely, there are probably microtasks your child can help with, such as data entry, invoicing, and market research.
Train your child to take on additional chores at home. Babysitting is an excellent first job that is best learned at home under a parent’s supervision. If your children are too young to babysit completely unsupervised, enroll them as helpers. Can they assist with laundry, gardening, or cleaning? If you aren’t at home that much or don’t have other kids to babysit, are there relatives, friends, or neighbors with kids who would appreciate the assistance?
Working in retail — whether at a restaurant or store — is almost a rite of passage for young people. But sometimes they’re too young, or they don’t do well with public interactions. There are other options.
You can start by getting your children to organize unwanted items and sell them in a garage sale or online. Once they get the sales bug, this business can grow into finding deals and flipping them. Then, your child could join the army of entrepreneurial kids who understand their demographic better than most six-figure marketers and flip hyped merchandise on resale platforms like Grailed, Depop, and eBay (all links are listed below).
There are good reasons mowing lawns, clearing leaves, and tending to gardens are popular gigs for children. Your kids get exercise, spend time outdoors, and can make decent money. You may need to invest in some tools, like a lawnmower and weed wacker (or risk using yours), but finding clients among your neighbors is usually an easy sell. First, get them to make their own flyers and business cards. Then knock on doors with them and let your neighbors know about the services offered.
Platforms like Google My Business, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are simple to use. A few tutorials and YouTube videos are probably all your kids will need to start creating websites for local businesses. Most small businesses that don’t have a website don’t need anything complicated, either. You may be surprised how much money a kid interested in web design and development can make using free online resources.
Virtual Assistant on UpWork or Fiverr
Platforms like UpWork and Fiverr make it easy for teenagers to find clients who need help with data entry, writing emails, graphic design, or content marketing. They may need a little help setting up a profile and researching the going rate for services, but they will be running the show in no time.
Testing Apps and Websites
Companies like UTest, WhatUsersDo, and UserTest pay people to test the functionality and user experience of websites or apps. Typically, you will need to record your screen and voice to provide feedback on your experience as you go along. All your child will need is a computer and an internet connection. For this type of work, you may want to set up parental controls on the home’s router to protect your children from unsuitable content and unwanted attention.
Dog Walking and Basic Pet Grooming Services
If your child loves animals, it’s hard to think of a better job than getting paid to walk, play, and take care of pets. The chances are there are plenty of dog owners in your neighborhood looking for reliable walkers who can give their pets some exercise and help with basic grooming. Many dogs need regular baths and daily fur brushing, which are too time-consuming for busy pet owners. Just make sure they don’t offer higher-end services that require proper training, like cutting or shaving hair.
Cool Summer Job Ideas
Introducing your children to the workplace in a safe and fun way can create memories that will last a lifetime. They will learn new skills, gain confidence in themselves, and understand the value of money. Earning income, however modest, will also create opportunities to provide your child with practical personal finance training.
For instance, as soon as your child starts working, consider opening a custodial Roth account for them. It’s worth noting that you don’t need to use the same money your child earns to fund a Roth IRA. Instead, you can create your own retirement savings contribution match for every dollar they make. Grandparents, uncles, and friends can also pitch in.
Kids don’t have to be broke. You don’t want your children to get their first jobs when they graduate from college. There is a world of possibilities for young minds who are able and willing to work. Learning how to make money to pay for the things they want (and even save for the future) will give them some financial freedom and set them up for adulthood.
About the Author
Andrew Latham is the managing editor for SuperMoney, a certified personal finance counselor, and a dad. He loves to geek out on financial data and translate it into actionable insights everyone can understand. His work is often cited by major publications and institutions, such as Forbes, U.S. News, Fox Business, SFGate, Realtor, Deloitte, and Business Insider.