Do you give your teens pocket money? It seems that most parents do; in fact, a recent survey found that 4 out of 5 parents gave their teen regular pocket money. Others use an informal system of assessing expenditure on a case by case basis. Many teens like the idea of making money for themselves but making money as a teenager is not straightforward and varies a great deal with age. The opportunities for an 18 year old are vast compared to those for a 13 year old.
Making money as a teenager – school age children
Many teenagers have some form of part time job. This typically begins around 16. A child stops being a ‘school age child’ on the last Friday in June in the school year in which the child has his or her 16th birthday (in England and Wales), so this is typically Year 11.
So what happens before that? The situation is quite complicated and there are a few myths flying around that need to be distinguished from the facts. The law says that a child under 14 cannot be employed, but this rule can and often is relaxed by local byelaws to allow the employment of 13 year-old children in certain occupations. Children in performing arts occupations are classed differently.
Employing anyone under 13 in a business is pretty much out of the question, although of course they can help out with household tasks at home and parents can pay them. A lot of them do. The above survey showed that 45% of teens went to the shops for their parents and 31% looked after younger siblings. This makes sense, financially, as your earning potential is likely to be greater than that of your teen. It makes sense for them to collect their little brother or sister from school so that you can fit in a few extra hours at work. You can even pay them for doing that and still be better off as a whole.
Five steps to making money for school kids
If your kids still like the idea of making money as a teenager outside the home, here are five steps to making that happen:
- Have a chat about what they want from the job. Is it simply to earn money? Do they want to get some fresh air and exercise as a break from studying? Do they want to meet people and brush up on their social skills? This will help to narrow down the options.
- Establish if it will help with their future CV and personal statement? Any job will earn them a bit of cash but if it looks impressive on their personal statement for university or for an apprenticeship/job then that is a win-win situation. It may even save them from having to get work experience elsewhere.
- Check out the legal situation. The employment of school age children is very highly regulated and many employers simple won’t bother because it requires a lot of paperwork. The health and safety of your child is paramount. Will they need any special equipment such as reflective clothing for a newspaper round? How will they get to and from work safely and how much hassle will this cause you as a parent?
- Think of how many hours they can realistically put in. Making money as a teenager may be much more attractive than writing an English literature essay or doing physics homework. Calculate how many hours are available for work after taking school work and extra-curricular activities such as sports into account. It is better to take on fewer hours and do them well than prove unreliable in a job. This employer will potentially be giving them their first reference so it’s a good idea to impress them.
- Get yourself out there. This is where friends and family come in. Your teen is a blank sheet as far as employers are concerned so it may help to start working for people who know them. Try businesses where your family are customers, try friends and family. What about sports clubs, music teachers or other adults who know that your teen is reliable and conscientious? Put the word out that they are looking for some part time work and see what happens. Then they can branch out using social media, dropping CVs off at shops and looking out for notices indicating that businesses are hiring. You often see these in shop and restaurant windows. It may be worth sending in a CV even if the business is looking for older employees because they may keep it on file for the future.
Now that you have followed these steps there are plenty of ideas for what jobs they can do outside the home in my next blog post. Check out the top seven jobs for teens here.
SIGN UP HERE FOR OUR NEWSLETTER –
PACKED WITH TIPS AND STORIES ON PARENTING TEENS, TWEENS AND YOUNG ADULTS