12 Summer Jobs Teens Can Do From Home or While Social Distancing
Experts offer up summer job tips for your teenager in the age of coronavirus, plus high school internship options and creative ways for teens to make money online, socially distanced outside, or safely indoors.
It's been a long spring of staying home and social distancing due to COVID-19 restrictions. And the quarantine has been especially hard for teenagers who are at an age where exploring their independence and developing relationships with friends can feel as important (or let's face it, more important) as going to school. So it's no surprise that as the summer starts to heat up, a high school or college summer job seem more desirable than ever.
However, before your young adult starts job seeking this summer, there are a few things to keep in mind, according to pediatrician Cara Natterson M.D., author of The Care and Keeping of You and other tween and teen wellness books. Just like outdoor socializing is safer at the moment than indoor hangouts, she says, an outdoor job beats an indoor one, if possible.
"That's because four walls and a roof will trap recirculated air, along with potential coronavirus." And remember that the other pillars of health and safety right now are just as important, adds Dr. Natterson: Whether you are outside or in, maintain 6 feet or more of distance from other people, wear masks, and wash hands regularly.
There is a silver lining to job searching in the age of COVID-19, however, says Kimberly A. Morrow, a parenting expert and author: "While [coronavirus] has presented us with a number of challenges, it has also allowed opportunities … to think creatively when it comes to earning money." Many teenagers have discovered new talents during the quarantine, making this an ideal time to monetize their passions.
She, and our other experts, have a full slate of creative opportunities for kids this summer, in addition to classic high school summer jobs options like scooping ice cream or working retail. Here's what to suggest to your teen:
Online Summer Jobs for Teens
"Is there a subject your teen is passionate about or excels at?" asks executive career coach Elizabeth Pearson. Whether it's math or history, music, art, or creative writing, there's an opportunity to use their expertise to tutor. "With video conference platforms like Zoom, Skype, or WebEx, your teen can teach from the comfort and safety of their own home this summer in nearly every subject and at every grade level."
Kids can add clips of them doing those activities on their social media which can act as a website and reference to potential clients, adds Pearson. Wyzant is a site that matches tutors with students and can be an excellent resource, and your teenager could earn anywhere from $10-$30 per hour.
Volunteer from Home
"In light of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement there are a number of organizations in which teenagers may serve as volunteers," advises Morrow. Volunteer positions, though unpaid, can provide valuable skills which are necessary in the workforce, she adds. Try reaching out to local organizations, or check with Serve.gov or Volunteer.gov for government-sponsored opportunities.
High school summer internships, and college ones as well, are still moving forward, although most have adapted to work-from-home models. These experiences allow students to explore careers, network virtually, and meet mentors who they can keep in contact with moving forward. Have your teen reach out to their school faculty or guidance counselor to see if they know of opportunities or check with LinkedIn or Indeed for current listings. They can also reach out directly to the human resources departments of their favorite companies.
Outdoor Summer Jobs for Teens
Pet Sitting and Dog Walking
If friends or neighbors plan on heading out for a summer vacation—maybe to a rental house, or even in an RV—they'll likely need someone to care for their pets while they're away. The best way to snag these opportunities is by being proactive, advises Pearson. Parents can ask friends and families if they have any summer travel plans and need their furry friends looked after. Urge your child to put up fliers and post their availability and eagerness to work on Facebook. On average, they can rake in between $200-$300 a weekend.
Day Camp Counselor
For thousands of kids across the United States, the end of school is synonymous with summer camp. And while this summer may look a little different with some sleep-away camps closed, there are still camps opening in time for old-fashioned fun in the sun, and those camps need teen counselors, stat! Although the CDC guidelines have given the go ahead for camps to run, each state, county, and sometimes city are different, so the American Camp Association recommends that you check with local camps directly. They can also search for ACA accredited camp opportunities and use the ACA's summer job finder tool to find their perfect camp job fit.
Seasonal Summer Positions
Speaking of traditional summer gigs for teenagers, most counties have reopened golf courses and may need caddies. For kids 15 or older with lifeguard certification, by July pools around the country will be looking for lifeguards again. In beach towns, there may be boardwalk food stand, ice cream vendor, badge checker, and outdoor retail positions still available.
Lawn Mower, Gardener, Landscaper
For teens with green thumbs, have them put a little muscle into their summer gig while still staying outside and getting fresh air and social distancing. For freelance lawn care and gardening, they can reach out to neighbors, post signs at local garden centers, or create online posts. Or have them reach out to local landscapers for seasonal positions.
Due to social distancing guidelines, many parents will be working from home this summer and with camps closed or offering limited availability, parents will be turning to older kids who are out of school to help keep their little ones busy during the workday. Check out Care.com, Sittercity, or Urbansitter to connect with nearby parents seeking summer babysitters or nannies. These experts will also help calculate a competitive rate for your teen to charge.
For kids with photographic knowledge and equipment, a local photo business, ideally outdoor photoshoots maintaining a 6-foot distance, is another unique summer job idea according to Pearson. If they don't enjoy taking shots of live subjects, they can take and sell stock landscape photography. Teens can even sell their iPhone photos on Foap for $5 per picture or have an hourly rate of between $25-$50 for one-on-one photography sessions. They can create a profile on Thumbtack or PhotoSesh to help connect with clients.
Teach a Skill
What else does your teen excel at? Dr. Natterson suggests using it as a cool job idea. Kids can create small online or even in-person, socially-distanced groups outside for anything from tutoring to sewing lessons to sports that don't involve contact. It's a great time to be innovative!
Create an Online Store
Did your child get creative during the quarantine learning new skills like jewelry making, baking, or painting? Have them create an Etsy shop or Instagram account to sell their work or take special commissions.
Indoor Summer Jobs for Teens
Fast Food and Store Clerks
Don't forget about these positions that are usually happy to hire teens! However, advise your kids to wear masks, adhere to 6-foot social distancing, and to wash their hands while they're working. Remember that for traditional workplaces, you will need working papers for younger teens, and many local government and administrative offices are still working remotely, so allow extra time for getting everything in order.