Depending on the age of your child, a summer job might be watering the garden or if they are a teenager, it could be working outside the home. Our kids have always had chores but this is the first time they’ve had summer jobs, working for other people. Boy, has it been interesting!
Grace is working in a restaurant as a hostess but she’s often called on to bus tables, wash dishes and take reservations. Grant is working in an ice cream shop working the cash register (are they still called that?) and dishing up ice cream.
Thomas and I have seen some real changes in the kids since they took on these jobs, which they actually started while school was still in session this spring. I was hesitant about them taking on jobs during the school year but a friend of Grant’s told me that he found himself becoming more organized and more efficient and did better in school BECAUSE he had to juggle more. I hoped it would be the same for my kids.
One major bonus is that the kids now see that the chores we’ve had them do and the lectures we’ve given about responsibility weren’t just the annoying rantings of parental units. Turns out we really were preparing them for life! Yay for us! But the reality has been that the kids have stepped it up in some things and let other things slide. For instance, Grace is much more willing to clear the table after dinner now because it has become more a part of her life. She’s also very compassionate towards other people in the service industry because she’s been there and done that. Grant’s confidence has really grown, knowing he went out and got himself a job and is doing well at it.
The downside has been that they’re more resistant to chores, thinking they’ve done their share of hard labor and cleaning at work and don’t want to be doing it at home. They get no sympathy from me there – don’t EVEN talk to me about coming home just to start your second shift of work! Thomas and I have been doing that for years!
I was very hesitant to have the kids working during the school year because I felt it would cut into their time to study and get enough rest. My rule for the kids was that they had to be getting C’s and above (preferably B’s and A’s) because that would be an indicator of whether they were able to balance it all. They managed it, but barely!
On the plus side, I have noticed an increased level of maturity and responsibility in the kids since they’ve had these jobs. Although these are “starter jobs,” learning how to be more organized, staying on task and dealing with different personality types (both customers and co-workers) is invaluable! Learning that doing a good job results in a paycheck and continued employment is a good message to be sending every two weeks. And, I don’t mind telling you, them being able to pay for their own clothes, entertainment and even school expenses has been pretty awesome!
Overall, the kids’ summer (and beyond) jobs have been a good thing. I appreciate the changes I’ve seen in them and it’s a good way to transition them into adult life. Plus, the family ice cream discount isn’t bad!