I read Kristin’s post about summer vacations and it reminded me of my summer dilemma – what am I going to do with my kids?  Each year, we string together a series of day camps, vacations, shared babysitters and visits to the grandparents.


As a hiring professional, as my son gets older, I have to wonder, when is it time for a summer job?


According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the minimum age for employment is 14. Even then, your child is limited to three hours of work on a school day, 18 hours in a school week, eight hours on a non-school day, 40 hours in a non-school week, and all work must be performed between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. except from June 1 through Labor Day when nighttime work hours are extended to 9 p.m.


Other considerations for job age kids are transportation, playing it safe and advice on how to spend their money.


This is a good time to teach your children the value of money by saving a portion of every “paycheck,” even if it’s from you.  You may also consider asking your children to give a portion of their income to a charity.


One structure that I like is: 1/4 to spend, 1/4 to save (with a set goal), 1/4 to a charity and 1/4 directly into a college fund.   A savings account is a great way to start, however, you might also consider Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESA).


If a job for your teenager isn’t a perfect fit for your situation, maybe volunteering is an option in your area.  I know the Contra Costa Food Bank, for example, is always looking for volunteers to sort food.  It’s a pretty simple job and they encourage groups.  Try getting together a “team” of kids to help!


If your child is too young for a “real” job, there are still ways to get your child started learning about responsibility, income and smart money habits.  Depending on your child’s age, you may think about weekly chores, yard care for neighbors or babysitting for family or friends.  Every child and family is different, but here are a couple of age-appropriate job ideas:


Clean up toys
Watering plants, help with gardening
Check the mail
Dirty clothes to hamper
Collecting coins for a piggybank


Set the table and clear the table(avoid breakables)
Feed pets
Return clean clothes to drawers
Grow plants from seedlings
Help with siblings
Wash and put away dishes
Mow lawn
Rake leaves


Wash car
Pet sitting for neighbors

“Real” job
Volunteer work
Car errands


Our friendly member service representatives can help you start a savings account to suit you and your child.   A strong work ethic and good money habits are lessons that start early, but last a lifetime.


by Barbara, Vice President, Human Resources