Between debate club, volunteer work and sports, we expect a lot from teenagers today – on top of academic achievement. But while many extracurricular activities, like mock trial or yearbook club, give teens a chance to play pretend in real-world scenarios, there’s nothing like an after-school job to give actual real-world experience.
However, according to Statista, the percentage of teens ages 16-19 enrolled in school and working jobs dropped from over 30 percent in 1997 to barely 18 percent in recent years. Parents have a lot to think about when deciding how their teens should spend after school hours. Moms and dads want to give their teens a chance to be teens, but they also want to instill a sense of responsibility in them, and prepare them for life outside of the home.
When approached correctly, after-school jobs for teens can be a great asset. Before having your teen fill out a W-4, here’s what to consider along with some of the best after-school jobs.
The Benefits Of Teens Having After-School Jobs
The transition from high school to college to post-grad life can be jarring for many students who never worked. An after-school job can slowly introduce teens to several factors they will encounter in the real world, so they’re better prepared for life after school. Some of these benefits include:
- Adult interactions. In school, the dynamic is very much that the teachers are the adults and the teens are the kids. But, at a job, teenagers interact with adults more as peers. Between coworkers and customers, they interact with adults in new ways that prepare them for real-world, professional relationships.
- Seeing the value of a dollar. Some teens don’t understand what it takes for their parents to keep the lights on or put food on the table. They hear that the Internet bill was $100, but they don’t fully understand what that means. Once they see how many hours they have to work to cover a $100 bill, they may begin to value money more – their parents and their own.
- Time management. Having an after-school job can help teens better learn how to manage their time. It creates a positive structure during after-school hours so they are encouraged to learn how to manage time for other activities like homework or socializing.
- Building a resume. With the job market as competitive as it is, the earlier an individual can start building a professional resume, the better. Out of college, your post-grad might need a job in the service industry just to make ends meet while they pursue their career. But even those jobs are competitive, and having that pre-existing resume gives applicants a leg up.