COLLEGE STATION — Children can benefit from summer jobs in countless ways depending on their individual development and the opportunities around them, according to Dr. Lynn White, a Texas Agric ultural Extension Service family economist specialist.
White said many children begin earning money as early as 9 and 12 years old. However, she said, most occupations require a child to be at least 14 due to health and safety codes. Other jobs req uire them to be at least 18 or 21, depending upon whether they are around hazardous equipment, serving alcohol or driving while on the job.
White said good first jobs range from babysitting, mowing yards, running errands, having a paper route, and washing cars to utilizing personal computer skills.
“It depends on the child and the opportunities around them, but it needs to be something that is within their level of responsibility they can assume,” White said.
White recommends parents talk with their children about the kinds of things they consider their talents and their interests and then look and see how to market them in the neighborhood.
She also encourages parents teach their children some basic money management skills. She said children often spend more money as they earn more money rather than learning to save it and set goa ls.
“Learning not to consume every penny the moment they get it is really as important as getting the job,” White said. “Learning how to make money do what they want it to do for them is as critica l a life skill as learning to make the money.”
White said the main benefit a child can gain from working is an understanding about how the economy functions. They can appreciate what other businesses must to do in order to provide the thing s that they are able to buy.
She said children also learn to manage time and set priorities so that they have time to work and play as well as balance their family responsibilities.
“It helps them to start realizing that time has economic value and they begin to see that some jobs are given certain value while other jobs are given a greater or lesser value,” White said.
She said children can look through the want ads for summer jobs. Children can also advertise their own talents by advertising their skills and phone numbers on the World Wide Web or in papers. W hite also suggests young people actually visit businesses where they are interested in working to inquire about possible jobs.
“The simplest way to market yourself is to really show that you are energetic, you’re self-directed, and you really do want to give the people who are employing you value for their money,” White said.