Jobs for 13 Year Olds – Ideas for Enterprising Youngsters

Jobs for 13 year olds

Today’s post is all about jobs for 13 year olds or younger. I remember the first real job I had at 16. But as my kids grow up I realize they could benefit from having their first experience earlier. But how? I mean aren’t there child labor laws? I’m going to talk about the benefits of having work experience early and how to do it legally.

The benefits of working at a young age

There are so many benefits of introducing kids to work at young ages. The first that comes to mind is teaching kids where money comes from. Of course, most kids see a parent go to work. But when they experience getting paid directly in proportion to performing a task or service they learn:

  • money = work 
  • work = money 

and tie the money/work relationship together in a very tangible way. Not just from you telling them. “Money doesn’t grow from trees” or “I’m not made of money”.

Also, it teaches them the value of money. They learn:

  • this thing I want = this amount of work.

So it helps them determine if a thing is really worth their time and their hard earned money.

It gives them an opportunity to learn and use financial skills and let’s face it a headstart in this area will give them an opportunity that maybe we didn’t have. How many times have you said to yourself that you wish you learned about money earlier? Having some money will make them more interested in learning to save, budget, invest, how bank accounts work because they will have hands-on experiences versus the theory of you talking to them about it.

Maybe they want to start saving for a car of their own when they turn 16, maybe they like to shop for clothes or want to do more with their friends or buy things you won’t because it’s outside of your budget. Maybe there’s a charity they care about or gifts they would like to buy for friends or family. Having a boost to their income even if you give them allowances will allow them to start doing things they want to do with their own money.

But is it Legal?

There are federal and state restrictions on how old a person can be when working. There are also limits to working conditions such as the number of hours and industries that a person can work. You absolutely must check and comply with your local laws. Where I live the legal minimum working age for employers is 14. Bummer, my kids are 10 and 13. What can I do?

Well, there are exceptions to the minimum age; two in particular to explore. First, there is no age limit for children working for their parents in a nonagricultural non mining situation. Second, there is no age limit for working for yourself.

Did your mind start churning with ideas here? This opens up a whole world of possibility.

Your kids can work for you

You may have been doing this for many years if you’ve been tying chores to their allowance. Or if you’ve ever allowed them to earn extra money by doing extra chores.

But you can elevate this to the next level and teach your kids a new skill.

When I was learning to cook simple breakfast foods, my dad allowed me to pretend to run my own restaurant. I made up a menu and had to serve my family, cook up their order, and give good customer service. Afterward, I bought them a check and they paid. It was an experience I will never forget.

Are you self-employed yourself?

You can bring your kids in and pay them for jobs that are appropriate for their age for fair compensation. You’ll want to talk to your accountant to make sure that you do this correctly with the right financial documentation and record keeping in place.

They can handle a large range of duties depending on your business. Some of the things kids at this age can do:

  • answer phones – you can teach them to answer general questions
  • take messages
  • filing
  • making copies
  • preparing documents
  • preparing presentations
  • video production and photography.

You’ll be surprised about what they learn in school and can do. My kids are savvier than I am in a lot of things. It’s good to put this to use.

As a business owner, you already understand the benefits of self-employment and/or business ownership so you can certainly appreciate that bringing them into your business this way is giving them the opportunity to see the process of building and running a business first hand. They are more likely to do this for themselves and/or take those skills into their career when they grow up.

Kids can work for themselves

jobs for 13 year olds - dog walkingKids can also work for themselves. This is where many of us started with jobs like babysitting, raking leaves and mowing lawns, operating lemonade stands and things like that.

To generate even more ideas, a good place to start is with their skills and interests.

Animal lovers can build a dog grooming, pet sitting, dog walking business or create recipes for dog treats and sell them. Fashion lovers can design and create t-shirts and jewelry to sell. Makers and crafters can sell their creations or teach others how to build their skills. Good at math, tutor younger students. There really is no limit here.

They will learn so much from developing their skills and learning to market them. It can be so much fun to take a passion or hobby and earn money for your efforts.

I once heard that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill and become successful in that skill. If your child takes an interest and puts it into a business, they are in essence putting in hours toward that 10,000. If the interest is something that they sustain, they will have a head start over others who maybe don’t get a chance to start until after college or worse never start because they had other responsibilities. If their interest wanes, well no big deal because they can follow another one and find their niche sooner because they eliminated some early.

They can do it

So, we’ve talked about the benefits of working even if you’re too young for a traditional job. And hopefully, some of the ideas have inspired some ideas for things kids can do that they may find fun and exciting. Let me know in the comments, what are your thoughts about working for money at an early age? What was your first job? Have any other ideas for jobs youngsters can do?

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  1. Happy to know there’s another mother out there doing what I’ve been doing for years. I’ve been paying my kids, mostly during summer breaks, to tutor their younger sister and look after nephews, to teach them tithing, budgeting, and saving. I’ll be teaching them how to do stocks marketing to make their savings grow.

    I’m happy to see them now good in budgeting, saving, and finding ways to earn money on their own even though they’re still in school.

    A lot of mothers need this kind of article to guide them on how to teach financial matters to their children. God bless your effort of writing this here.

    • Thank you Eli. That’s a great idea to have your daughters work over summer breaks. It’s awesome that it’s teaching them how to win with money. I’m so happy to hear it even encourages them to look for opportunities on their own. Sounds like you’re doing a great job.

  2. Nicole,

    I have mixed feelings about this idea. As a 25 year old, I definitely wish I learned about money sooner. I began babysitting when I was 12 or 13, but my mom always handled my financials.

    When I have kids, I certainly want them to learn financial and general responsibility from a young age, but I also worry about my kids growing up too fast.

    We have a huge mental health issue in the country, particularly with anxiety, because kids are pushed extremely hard from an early age. I want my children to enjoy their childhood while learning how to become a responsible teenager and adult.

    Any suggestions for this?

    • Hi Taylor, 

      Thanks for your comment and for bringing up a good point. All parents want the same for their kids to learn responsibility, have a great childhood, and grow to be responsible adults. I think you can have both and as long as it’s done with a spirit of adventure and learning, that it should not induce anxiety. I’m no mental health expert but if by introducing these types of lessons, your child is not enjoying the process, by all means maybe they are not quite ready yet. 

  3. This is a great article:) Thanks for sharing all of these ideas, my daughter is 14 and wanted a summer job this year. She was upset to find out that she is still too young in our state. I decided to come up with set tasks for her to do each day and paid her hourly. It is so healthy for kids to learn great work ethic, and about the importance of earning and saving money.
    All the best, Heather

    • Hi Heather
      I’m so glad to hear that you and your daughter were able to find some ways for her to earn some money and develop her work ethic at the same time over the summer.

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