Should We be Putting Our Children to Work During the Summers?

Really the whole school schedule has become somewhat antiquated.  In the past school ended in the summer because that was when the children were needed to help raise the crops and care for the animals and the land.  A child might also miss school in the fall if there were crops to harvest or lumber to haul.  Gathering ice in the winter might also mean a few days away from school.  Many children looked forward to going to school since it meant a little time away from their chores.

Today children come home in the summer still even though few work on the farm or even help with the maintenance of their homes and yards.  To make it even worse, there are a lot of families where two parents work outside of the home, meaning teenagers are left alone and younger kids are sent to a sitter or away to camps.  They generally play video games and watch TV and YouTube videos.  Some kids are still glad to go to school again – this time out of boredom.

Still, it would be difficult to change the system.  Children are used to long summers off.  School systems are not ready to cool a school through the summer and most busses have no air conditioners.  Teachers are also used to working only 9 months of the years.  Despite complaining about the low pay only working a 3/4ths time job provides, the truth is many choose teaching in part so that they can have some time off to be with their children and do other things besides work during the summer and winter breaks.  I doubt many would take another job to cover the summer and the breaks if one were available, not that I would blame them.

Still, it seems like children could be doing something more productive to help them get ready for life during the summers.  Obviously older teens can get a summer job, and many have – at least before the rising minimum wages and regulations made fewer jobs available.  It seems like younger children could be doing something more as well.  Maybe not for money, although running and working a pet sitting business of a yard care business could help them learn the value of work, some aspects of running a business, and some skills with money management.

There are other productive, creative things they could be doing as well, though.  Perhaps they could be writing a short story or even a novel.  Maybe they could be tinkering with some old electronics or writing computer games rather than just playing them.  Perhaps they could be doing some science experiments – using the internet to track earthquakes or asteroids, or doing some biological experiments with plants.  Perhaps they could be doing some elaborate art project.  Or maybe they could be going to the office with mom or dad and helping out with things.

Certainly childhood is a unique time and there should be a lot of time for fun and adventure before going into the working life of adulthood.  Still, surely there are a lot more substantial things to do besides watching music videos and playing video games.  Any thoughts?

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Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice.  It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA.  All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

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