Your kids best first job is being a great student

by | Kids, Money and Responsibility

your kids best first job is schoolHey parents! Your kids best first job is being a great student. Those working years in K-12 classrooms are your kids first job, the one that can set them up for success in their future.

When your child walks through the Kindergarten door, no one tells them they just got hired for their best first job: a 12-year gig that will change their life. Yet, the job description is simple: be the best student you can be. 

While school and real jobs aren’t quite the same, encouraging kids to treat it as a job helps them develop skills to succeed in the workplace. School is not a sideline activity while they wait to get hired for a part-time job that takes away valuable time away from getting the most from their school years. 

Of course, academics rank first. Knowing the three Rs is essential, but the opportunity for sports, music, art, drama provide experiences kids may not have access, time, or money to do as working adults. School offers a great opportunity to sample many new activities and develop new interests.

As in my blog about providing financial exe How to help your kids develop money skills to last a life time allowances parents become facilitators and the kids are the owners of their money. With K-12 education, parents have a similar role supporting their kids in their first job.

Parents of students are responsible for providing for their students 

  • A place to study at home
  • A supportive study environment 
  • Encouragement in developing time management skills 
  • Funds for kids to buy school supplies.  Read the blog
  • Funds for older kids to pay school and activity fees
  • Personal involvement in school conferences and meetings
  • Communication with teachers, now made easier through online methods

With this focus on education, instead of asking kids  “How was school today?” parents might ask:

  • How was your job today?
  • What problems did you solve?
  • Is there something you want to work on more?
  • Do you have a plan for how to improve?

This may lead to interesting family conversations when your child asks you, “How was your job today?” 

Why is school your kids best first job

  • Students have assignments to complete
  • There is a schedule for getting the work done
  • Testing helps kids know how their doing
  • Schools may offer incentives and rewards for behavior
  • Students get education regular progress review
  • Students learn to work with others in group settings

Parent-student relationship

  • Parents can provide rewards for good grades or improved grades, similar to businesses offering bonuses
  • Rewards can be monetary or other type of reward/recognition
  • Kids can explain to parents what they are learning while parents don’t have to be experts
  • Parents can encourage, celebrate, reward, be interested while the family parents and kids may even learn something together and create a shared interest.

What about part-time jobs and summer

In our family, we did not want our kids working during the school year, except for some typical kid jobs like babysitting, simple jobs for family and friends. We believed that our kids benefited more from concentrating on academics and participating in extra-curricular activities. They would have a life time of work awaiting them after their education was done. 

Also, with their busy schedules our kids didn’t have time to work and manage school. We encouraged them to get good grades and be involved in other activities to give them a better resume when they graduated.

However, in the summer part-time jobs are a great experience if available. If not, an alternative is for parents to “hire” their kids during the summer. We paid our kids to mow the lawn, along with many other jobs kids can do. Washing sheets and towels, doing super cleaning jobs, cleaning bathrooms and other family areas. 

Hire your kids

Parents can present these as real jobs with instructions, appropriate supplies, training and equipment along with scheduling and pay rates. One year we hired our kids to paint our old two-story garage and offered a bonus if they got it done on a deadline. We showed them how to paint, clean brushes, and move the ladders. After a job well done they got the bonus!

In fact, we hired our kids for many jobs and setting reasonable rates. Then one day they came to use and requested a labor negotiations. We were surprised and listened to their case. They proceeded to explain, “This one takes a lot of time and these don’t need much.” We asked them to suggest new rates and accepted their reasonable changes the spot. 

Parents and their kids jobs have similar requirements for success.

  • Do the work
  • Complete assignments on time
  • Be evaluated
  • Work toward awards and recognitions
  • Pay attention and follow directions
  • Be a team player

Encourage your kids to excel at your kids best first job as a student. Provide a financial education at home. Your kids will leave home ready to be self-sustainable adults with the skills, system and experience to succeed. That’s a winning combination.

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Lynne Finch helps parents teach their kids about money from their first allowance to online banking. “It’s time to teach the kids how to manage money they can’t see or touch,” says the author of The No-Cash Allowance. Follow Lynne’s common sense approach for teaching children that money is a number with kids as young as pre-school and continuing through high school.

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