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Summer jobs can be a wonderful experience for teens by encouraging structure as well as time and money management. It can also foster a greater understanding of adult responsibilities. These lifelong skills are important to incorporate at a young age. As the parent, you will no doubt have questions, comments and concerns about your child starting his or her first summer job. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Is your child of legal working age?
  • Does your child need specialty training or certification to apply?
  • How will your child manage to get to work on time?
  • Will your child need a car to commute to work?
  • Does your child have difficulty following directions?
  • Is the job your child is considering physically challenging?
  • Does your child need to focus on becoming more prepared for the coming school year during the summer?
  • Can your child deal with the conflicts of scheduling work, vacations, friends, sports, and other planned activities that typically occur in the summer?

Practicing Summer Job Safety

Awareness on the job is something that will take time for new employees to develop, but it is never a bad idea to start early. As a parent, it is important to emphasize job safety with your teen before his or her first day of work. Federal and state laws are in place to make sure working conditions are not only safe, but age appropriate. However, there are extra measures you can take to ensure your teen is safe in his or her working environment.

If your teen works outside, remind them about the importance of staying hydrated throughout the day. Not drinking enough fluids, especially in a hot work environment, can cause life-threatening situations such as heatstroke. It is also important for them to use sunscreen to protect their skin when necessary.

Do not allow your teen to be employed in a hazardous work environment. Teach your teen that it is his or her right to report any unsafe working conditions to their superiors. Also review standard safety practices if your teen works around power tools, machinery, electricity or heavy objects. It is also a good idea to keep a copy of your teen's work schedule and contact information in case of an emergency.

Check in with your teen after a day of work and ask them how things are going. Even though your child might be away from the house for extended periods of time throughout the day, their job will give you a starting point for conversation.

Most importantly, make sure your teen is managing his or her time appropriately. Time management and stress relief are important things for your teen to learn at a young age. Make sure they are getting nutritious food and adequate sleep. Good rest and nutrition will make it easier for them to tackle a hard day's work!

Mallory Callahan, PA-C

Methodist Physicians Clinic Regency

Mallory Callahan is a physicians assistant practicing at Methodist Physicians Clinic Regency in Omaha, Nebraska. She answers your questions about child health and safety and parenting. ...

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