It is extremely important for parents to encourage their teens to either volunteer or get a job. There are many benefits to teens taking on the responsibility of volunteering and working, and these skills and life lessons they learn will carry on throughout their lives. The simple skills they learn in the work environment settings such as handling money and professionalism are skills they wont get anywhere else.
Volunteering is great for not only getting involved in the community, but it will help boost resumes and college applications when the time comes. Having the chance to volunteer will help them find a business or cause they love and help grow their ambitions about their career goals. Volunteering not only gives them an opportunity to change lives, but can also change their own lives.
How Early Should a Teen Working?
Parents should start discussing the topic of working with their teens when they are around the age of 14. Federal law makes 14 the minimum age for most paying jobs, but there are exceptions, such as babysitting, farm work, and working for a family business. Some states have child labor laws that set older minimum ages, so be sure to double check your state’s to see how old your child needs to be, what forms you need to fill out as well as law restrictions.
How Early Should a Teen Volunteer?
Hopefully your kids have volunteered at least once before they are teens. You can get them involved with volunteering in your community at a younger age by doing it as a family. This not only builds their moral fiber, but it also builds a great family bond. Unlike school, with volunteering your teen gets to choose what really interests then and who or what is most deserving of their time. The flexibility of volunteering and the variety of options will help your child grow that they are and truly find what makes them happy.
How to Find Job Opportunities For your Teen:
- Use Easily Accessible Resources. One of the best resources that tends to go highly unseen by teenagers are their school guidance counselors. They are a great resource for your teens out to in order to see if there are any known available positions open. Also guidance counselors typically go above and beyond and will help them search for suitable jobs as well and prepare them for interviews.
- Ask and You Shall Receive. Asking never hurt anyone, and sometimes the only way to find out is to ask. Have them go to their favorite hang out spots, such as restaurants, movies or even the mall, and ask If there are any jobs available. If not, ask to fill out an application incase a position opens up. Showing their interest will put them at the top of the waiting list.
- Look for Signs. Keep your eyes open. Sometimes it is as simple as looking for signs in the windows or billboards that say the company is hiring.
- Social Media Networking. Post on their social media sites that they are looking for a job, and see if any friends or families know of any opportunities.
How to Find Volunteering Opportunities That Are Right For Your Teen:
Even as adults, we find it hard to know what we want and like, just imagine how hard it is for teens to figure that out! In a sea of opportunities, sometimes it can be overwhelming and teens may not know where to begin in deciding where they want to work or volunteer. Sit them down and discuss general topics that will help lead the search of work and volunteering into a narrower search. Some ideas for that would be:
- Help kids learn and grow. Become a Big Brother or Big Sister, camp counselor, or volunteer for an after-school sports program. Special Olympics games and events are great ways to get to know special-needs kids.
- Give back over the holidays. Serve Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless, volunteer at your local food bank, or distribute toys to kids. Your church, temple, mosque, or other place of worship also may be able to use your help.
- Play with pets at a local animal shelter. Most shelters depend on volunteers to keep the cats and dogs happy and well exercised. (And when you’re walking rescued dogs, you get a workout too.)
- Volunteer for a political campaign. If you’re interested in politics, it’s a great way to find out how things work on the inside. Even if you can’t vote, you can still work to get your candidate elected — whether it’s the president of the United States or your town mayor.
- Help the environment. Join a conservation group and help out with river preservation. Take part in a local park cleanup day. You don’t have to be an outdoorsy type if you can’t picture yourself hauling trees up a hill, you could help out in a park office or education center.
- Support a health-related cause. Lots of us are close to people who have a medical problem (like cancer, HIV, or diabetes, for example). It can feel good to donate your time to an organization that raises money for research, delivers meals, or offers other help to people with an illness.
If you have more than one thing you love, find a way to combine the two. For example, if you love kids and are great at arts and crafts, visit your local children’s hospital and offer to lead art activities for young patients.
Websites for Volunteering Resources:
Websites for Job Resources: