Are you fed up of coming home and finding your children either sleeping most of the day, or sitting exactly in the same spot where you left them in the morning, surfing the web, or chatting on their devices? How do you get them off the couch this holiday?
Whilst it is important for children and teens to rest and recover from a grueling term of exam pressure, and for quality family time, having them work for at least a part of the long vacation provides many benefits; it makes them more mature, dependable, and independent, and it could even take some pressure off your finances!
One of the greatest benefits of having children do vacation jobs is that they understand the value of work and learn to manage their own money. They tend to be more disciplined and frugal about money that they worked hard for, than with “free” pocket money or allowances. When the money comes out of their own pocket, they are more selective about their purchases and are less likely to spend it all funding what can be an insatiable appetite for downloads, data, entertainment etc.
There are important life skills to learn from the work environment. Most jobs involve working with other people, including customers and coworkers. Naturally, employers expect their staff to have a positive attitude and to get along with others. Through jobs, teenagers learn to deal with all types of people, a skill that will help them in school as well as in their future endeavors throughout their lives.
Being sensitive to customer needs, dealing with enquiries or problems, sales, marketing, research, social media skills, are all highly sought after and are often learned on the job.
While colleges look at grades and test scores first, extracurricular activities and work experience often form a major part of the final decision. The presence of a job on a college application shows that the applicant has been proactive about acquiring new skills and keen to improve their knowledge and skills; these are some of the values that colleges look for.
If you are a teenager or a young adult looking for a vacation job, carefully consider what you expect from the position. Ideally you should choose the type of work you would enjoy doing based on your interests, abilities, and passions. Decide how much time you can devote the job, and whether you can work part-time or full-time depending on other commitments with academic work. You should also determine your priorities; are you working for the money, or is your primary consideration targeted work experience in a particular field?
It is important that the location of the job is convenient for the rest of the household both logistics and cost-wise, so that getting to and from work isn’t too expensive or awkward.
Don’t forget that you require a professional resume and cover letter. These documents will highlight your talents and accomplishments to a potential employer and increase your likelihood of getting hired as well as place you in an appropriate role.
Volunteering and community service provide participants with great social skills and a chance to give back to the community. Both options also make outstanding additions to a resume.
Internships are important ways to get a feel for, and to gain valuable experience in a specific field that your child may be considering. Whether they help at a summer camp, wait tables in a restaurant, or are sales clerks at a local store, selling cinema tickets, or running their own business, they will be adding legitimate experience to their resume. Solid business connections and friendships are formed at work that will be invaluable for future earning opportunities and life in general.
If you are fortunate enough to have contacts, including family, friends or business associates that might give your child a placement for a few weeks, do assist by making an introduction. It is important however, that your child then makes the effort to follow up to introduce themselves and negotiate terms. If you do everything for them, they become incapable of doing anything for themselves.
As your children begin to earn, guide them as to what to do with their money. A bank account is an important first step and there are many accounts tailored for children and teenagers. They can open a savings account to encourage them to save part of their earnings, as well as a current account for their regular day-to-day spending; if they are old enough, a debit card will be issued.
One of the most valuable and lasting gifts a parent can give a child is the knowledge of investing, and mutual funds are an ideal place to start. Children have the benefit of time, so are in a good position to take advantage of investments that can be left to appreciate over several years. Whilst children under 18 years cannot operate a Mutual Fund account, you can open one in trust for them. Visit a mutual fund company and encourage them to invest part of their income; investments start from as little as N5,000.
Vacation jobs provide an exceptional opportunity to learn to earn and manage money; teach children how to prioritize and spend wisely, to save and most importantly to use some of their money to better the lives of others.
About The Author
Nimi Akinkugbe has extensive experience in private wealth management. She seeks to empower people regarding their finances and offers frank, practical insights to create a greater awareness and understanding of personal finance.
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