Deciding whether or not you want your child to work/ do part-time work while they are still in school can be a tough decision. Will it be too much to handle? Will it negatively affect their school work? When will they have time to socialise, rest, do extra-curricular activities etc.?
While working during school isn’t the right decision for some children, many can handle the extra responsibility of a part-time job on top of their primary profession as a student.
Working in the afternoons after school and on weekends can be immensely beneficial for high-school age kids and even those in middle school. Not only does it help keep them out of trouble, but obtaining and holding down a job gives them a unique glimpse into the working world and can teach them valuable lessons in responsibility, money management and independence.
Here are the top five reasons to encourage your child to work while in school:
They’ll make a little money
Few of us have the luxury of working for fun. The vast majority of us need to hold down a job in order to pay our bills and have the funds to do the things that we enjoy.
The same concept can be extended to kids. While they may not have to pay bills, allowing kids to make and spend their own money can be immensely beneficial. Not only will it lessen the stress on your wallet (a job usually means no more allowance) but you can encourage your child to save a little money for college, a car, or whatever else is on their financial bucket list.
Lesson in money management
Learning to manage money is an extremely important life skill, one that even many adults have trouble with. Instilling the value of a pound or a dollar in your child at an early age is an excellent way to prepare them for the realities of budgeting and financial planning that they’ll encounter in adulthood.
Some parents may choose to allow their children to spend the money they earn on whatever they want, while others may want them to put some of the money aside as a saving for their further education.
It’s a great idea to teach your child the skills of financial responsibility at a young age. Teaching your child about creating a budget and sticking to it, as well as allocating funds for necessities and savings, is a great way to expose them to the realities of money management.
Getting and keeping a job, even if they’re as young as 14 years old, will teach your child an important lesson in responsibility. Unlike at home where the rules are often flexible and the worst that can happen is they get grounded, having a job and a boss to answer to will teach your child about taking responsibility for their actions.
Kids with jobs are responsible for getting to work on time, knowing their schedule, completing their tasks correctly and in a timely fashion, and getting along with both their colleagues and their superiors.
While some of these skills are learned in school (such as getting along with others and respecting authority), a job can offer your child real world experience where the consequences for failing to adhere to the rules are very different than those in a scholastic environment.
Also, your child will learn a valuable lesson in cause and effect and forming positive habits. If they don’t show up for their shift, they won’t get paid, and if they perform poorly, they risk getting fired. This will encourage them to take responsibility for themselves, their schedule, and their own work ethic.
When it’s back to school time they can focus on their classes for the first few weeks, but it’s not a bad idea after that to encourage them to look into taking on extra responsibility after they’ve settled in.
Real Work Experience
It’s also important not to overlook the importance of work experience on a college application and resume. While grades, extra-curricular activities and volunteer work are all important parts of a resume, having actual work experience can set your child apart from the rest of their peers.
But it’s not all about resume fodder… Experiencing the work world as an adolescent will do wonders towards preparing them for the realities of working as an adult.
We all know the familiar narrative – kids graduate high school and excel in college only to be floored when they get their first job as 20-somethings. Working is a completely different experience than schooling, and the earlier your child is exposed to the world of “having a job”, the better off they’ll be.
Fostering Independence and Self-Worth
We all want our kids to grow up to be successful, independent adults who have a clear sense of who they are and a well-developed sense of worth.
While it’s great for our kids to take pride in getting good grades and excelling at sports or other extra-curricular activities, there is a special type of pride that comes with earning and bringing home your first paycheck.
Allowing your child to experience working, making their own money, and then deciding how to spend it will foster a sense of independence and self-worth.
While it may be daunting to let your child venture out into the working world, holding down a job – whether it be as a cashier at the local grocery store or as a paid intern at a large corporation – it can be immensely beneficial both in terms of character building and responsibility.
Children who are allowed to work will take pride in earning their own money and learn to manage the money they make as well as learn invaluable lessons in self-worth, responsibility and accountability.
This is a guest post by Ron Stefanski, founder of www.JobsForTeensHQ.com and a college professor. He believes that teenagers need to focus on their professional passions much earlier in life and aims to teach them how they can do it.