Job Ideas for Young Teens
Berkeley Parents Network >
Summer Camps & School Breaks >
Job Ideas for Young Teens
My son who is 12 is available to do light work around the
house like mowing the lawn, raking leaves or keep company
to elderly people. He is dependable, polite, trustworthy
and friendly. All he asks, is some money for his piggy
bank and charges 10$/hour depending on the job.
dear mom of teen offering services --
your boy sounds like a sweetheart, and i really like that
he is wanting to get some experience and earn some money.
i think that is important, and a kid who is doing some
kind of work here and there at 12 is someone who always
will have the confidence to find something to do and get
but $10/hour for a 12-year-old, for piggy bank change??
that does not seem like a reasonable rate, not at all. my
adult son worked for over a year at a real, full-time job
before he broke $10/hour.
my concern is that it does nobody a favor to send the
message that your kid, as a young kid, deserves so much
for small tasks. it means a LOT for him to learn the
value of work, and that he can do different jobs, and that
he can earn things he wants. but -- at a higher rate than
is earned by many people with more experience, who have
families to support? it's not my business, but i hope you
and he re-think the monetary expectations.
[for what it's worth, i think the same thing about kids
graduating law school who believe they deserve $200/hour.]
Try asking neighbors first. Also, I think $10/hr is way
too much to ask people to pay a 12 year old. That's more
than minimum wage for adults! $5/hour is much more
I read the two posts that said $10/hour is too much for a 12
year old. I would advise that he asks for it and sees what
he gets. If people want to pay less, that's fine. But to not
ask because of his age and the minimum wage would be
unfortunate. There's no harm in his asking. In fact, it's a
good lesson for a kid to ask for as much as he wants and
then to live with whatever he actually gets. Better for his
growth and development to find out on his own than to tell
him no you can't do that.
It seems almost like a social psychology experiment: test
free-market theory vs. people's reactions to a 12 year old
boy asking for $10 an hour. Does your son realize that
the results might turn out not as he hopes? You both are
assuming that if the employer-to-be feels that $10/hour is
too much, then the two parties will negotiate, reaching an
agreed-upon price. Maybe they will. But consider the
other alternative--that some people may be insulted by a
pre-teen asking for so much money for unskilled work, that
they don't offer him any work at all. This result could
spur your son to understand that a higher salary comes
with greater skills, and maybe he should develop such
skills first. Or it could help him realize that wishes
don't always come true in real life and that gauging the
marketplace can be an important first step.
My son is interested in earning money for a few hours a week but is too
young for most "regular jobs". I had a paper route in 7th grade but that
doesn't seem to be an option around here. Does anyone have a good story
about how their kid earns some money on a regular basis?
For the dad and others looking for some work for their kids. Seven graders
are capable of babysitting or being mother's helpers. It is advisable for
them to take a babysitting certification course. Many Community centers have
those (the one in Orinda runs throughout the year and is always well
attended). Babysitting pays quite well $4-$6.00 an hour and many parents
would give their right arm for a reliable baby sitter, who is not yet into
the high school scene of dating and partying. Many boys babysit, families
with boys especially appreciate a boy who likes to play soccer or other
sports with their kids.
There are always posts on the normal newsletter (Advice, Recommendations)
from people seeking babysitters for an occasional evening or on a regular
basis. Making business cards on the computer and handing them out to parents
of little kids in the local park is a great way to start getting clients.
A great way to get the foot in the door for younger teens is to ask for an
internship instead of a paying job. Once people see how hard working,
realiable and pleasant your kid is to have around (and they tend to be such
when they are not at home) they might want to keep them longer and pay them
money. My thirteen year old daughter who is interested in architecture got an
internship with a local architect this summer. She loves the office and is
learning a lot. I'd pay the architect for taking her, but I think he will
reward her in turn with a gift at the end of her internship.
To the parent interested in ideas for summer jobs for a younger (7th/8th
grade) child: My daughter (13) works at a horse stable on the outskirts of
Tilden every Sunday afternoon. Her responsibilities include "mucking out"
the stalls, turning out the horses, feeding and grooming. Without
hesitation, this experience has been positively wonderful for her!!! She
earns $20 every Sunday and has her own spending money but even more
important she is doing something that she loves. The people at the stables
are great too and I feel totally comfortable letting her independently work
along side her 21 year old "boss". If your child has a similar interest, I
would suggest going to the "job site" and asking around if they are in need
of any help. That's what we did and it landed her her "dream job". Good
Summer Jobs - Too young to work? My 14-year-old daughter was adamant about
getting a paying job this summer and resisted signing up for activities that might
interfere with a work schedule. She filled out numerous job applications and talked
to clerks and store owners about "help wanted" opportunities. We found out that you
have to be at least 16 to scoop ice cream, sell tickets in a theater, stock shelves in a
card shop, or water plants at a nursery. With the prospect of a long unstructured
summer occupied only by a long list of mom's boring chores, my daughter chose to
volunteer at the library. She's got regular hours, interaction with other teens, and a
sense of community involvement. It's also job experience and a future reference.
Your son might want to check out the the volunteer angle. To bring in enough
money to support her summer lifestyle, she designed and distributed a flyer around
the neighborhood to water plants and care for pets during vacations - and rec!
eived 3 calls within a day of the flyer. Good luck to your son! Cathy
My son worked at a nursery during the summer - for pay - when he was only
14. He was recommended to the nursery by someone who knew him and who also
worked there. Just as in the adult world of work, contacts can get you a
job. He had to fill out a form for working minors that was available at a
school district office (can't remember the name of the form); it had to do
with specifying the number of hours that he could work, who his employer
was, etc. This turned out to be a great summer job in a number of ways. He
made several thousand dollars - which was a lot for a 14-year-old! And he
never wanted to do physical labor again - the following years he worked as
an intern at a software company in the city, first just for lunch money,
and later for pay. This job he got though contacts from high school, by
reading the e-mail that the principal sent out about summer internships. My
older daughter hung out at the pool all the time, since she loved swimming.
She ended up teaching classes for free as a young teen and helping out
around the pool. Then she took life-guarding classes through the junior
college, and ended up working as a life guard and swimming teacher for a
number of summers and on into college. My youngest daughter loved a
particular store that is in Berkeley near my office. I shop there all the
time too. I spoke to the owner on her behalf, and my daughter wrote a
letter listing the kinds of things she thought she could do to help out.
Then she delivered the letter in person. So she worked at the shop for
free, just for the experience, when she was 13. The owner gave her a
generous gift certificate at the end of the summer.
So, extrapolating from these experiences, it seems to me that work IS
available for young teenagers, especially when they move toward what they
are already interested in. And it helps to have parents or other adult
friends who will vouch for you to an employer.
Regarding the parent who wrote "He had to fill out a form for working minors that was available at a
school district office"
The form is called "Intent to Work". It is available at the
Administrative Portable on the courtyard at the Berkeley High Campus. Once
it is filled out by the parent, the young person and the employer, the
youth is able to get a "Work Permit". A copy of the "Work Permit" is to
stay with the employer. (It usually takes a day or so for the "Work Permit"
to be available for pick-up.)
This process is required each semester (fall, spring & summer). A
student may be denied a "Work Permit" if he/she does not have grades of a
"C" or better.
Flora Russ, Berkeley High School
My 12-year-old son feels that he is too old to attend day camps, yet I
feel it's unhealthy for him to stay at home all day by himself with nothing
scheduled (and with most of his friends either away on vacation or
enrolled in camps). He is a responsible and dependable child, and I think it
would be ideal if he could be involved for 2 or 3 hours each day in some kind
of gainful employment or activity this summer (either paid or unpaid). Does
anyone know if there are nonprofit groups or progams that specializes in
'tween (pre-teen) employment placements? We live in North Oakland, and
obviously proximity is an issue as he would need to be able to get
himself to/from wherever he was working. I would appreciate any advice or leads
anyone can provide.
This may not be convenient for you, but perhaps there is something like it
closer: The El Cerrito child care program uses young teens as assistants,
first as volunteers then paid as they get older.
Lawrence Hall of Science has students take a class to learn about animal
care, then has those students work as volunteers in the biology lab or at
kids' parties, though the minimum may be 13.
How about paying him something yourself if he puts in volunteer hours since
you won't have to be paying child care?
Another option is having him sign up for some sort of class, camp etc.
This is a great time for your child to get leadership training and
"pre-job" experience through volunteer work or a counselor-in-training
(CIT) program. Many summer camps also have CIT programs for pre-teens or
early teens, although 12 yrs. may be a bit young for some programs. Try
the YMCA, the city's Recreation Department programs, or UC's summer
recreation programs targeted to this age group. The city libraries use
student volunteers in the summer, and the library is a good resource for
other volunteer opportunities. While children this age are generally eager
for "real" work experience, volunteer experience may help them get a paid
job in future years.
Park Day summer Arts Camp has soem
kind of CIT program. I'm not sure of the age limit or other restrictions. It
is in North Oakland and would be a great program for a kid who likes art and
working with younger kids. I'd call Park Day for who to contact for more
Strawberry Canyon has summer jobs and pre-employment programs for teens.
Starting when they complete 8th grade they can enroll in the Leadership Camp
and positions move up from there. The web site has all the information
www.oski.org - click on Strawberry Canyon.
In response to the person who wanted information about 12 year old summer
jobs, try the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department's summer programs.
Many of the camps have CIT (Counselor in Training) programs for 12-14 year
olds. I know that Touch the Earth (in Roberts Park) and the Lake Merritt
Boating Center both have programs in the works.
Many summer day camps offer a C.I.T. (counselor in training) program
for teens and pre-teens which would give your son the summer camp
experience with the extra responsibility he is seeking.
One type of summer job for a 12-year-old might be working as a "mothers'
helper" - doing odd jobs for people you know well in your neighborhood.
There are always clothes to be folded, windows to be washed around my house,
cars to be washed, yardwork, and other unskilled, non-dangerous jobs around
my house that I assign to my 12-year-old, and that someone with only younger
kids, or senior citizens could probably use help with.
this page was last updated: Apr 14, 2012
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network