In this article, we uncover jobs for 11-year-olds, 12-year-olds, and 13-year-olds. Due to federal and state labor laws, there are very few businesses able to hire employees that young; however, there are still plenty of ways for entrepreneurial kids to make money (even good money). If you’re in the 11-13 range now but are interested in the jobs you can hold in a few years, you can also check out our article about jobs for 14- and 15-year-olds, or about jobs for 16-year-olds. Now let’s get into the jobs for 11, 12, and 13-year-olds and of course, how to make good money doing them.
Understanding Labor Laws
The United States Department of Labor is the governing body that enforces child labor laws. The law that has made the most impact on child labor is the Federal Labor Standards Act, which restricts the age at which minors can be hired and the number of hours minors can work.
There are very strict limits on jobs that can be performed by those under the age of 14. The Department of Labor offers a dedicated website to minors seeking to learn about employment; visit the Youth Rules website to take advantage of this resource. The Youth Rules website provides a list of the types of jobs available to those under the age of 14. We’ve used this information as well as ideas from other sources to bring you the list of jobs below.
Jobs for Those Under the Age of 14
Just because you’re too young to be hired at your favorite restaurant or your local grocery store doesn’t mean you can’t earn money — you just need to think a little outside of the box. What skills, interests, or hobbies do you have that could bring value to someone? What chores, errands, or tasks can you take off of someone’s hands in exchange for money? Read on to find out some of the most common ways that those under 14 can turn time into money.
Jobs Around Your Home
You might not even need to look outside your house to find paying opportunities. These jobs can be done within the comfort of your home or yard.
Making and Selling Crafts
- How much you can earn: Your earnings will depend upon the type of craft you make, the cost of the materials, and the labor involved. You’ll want to charge a retail price for your craft that covers all these costs, plus a little extra for profit.
- How to find these jobs: Sign up for an account on Etsy or eBay to sell your handmade crafts. You can also research local craft fairs, as these events usually allow vendors to rent a booth and sell their goods.
- Age requirements or other limitations: When signing up for an account with Etsy or eBay, you will need to enter a credit card number to charge the monthly fees. Ask your mom or dad before signing up if they are willing to let you use their credit card number. A parent may also need to help you with packaging and shipping once you have sold an item online. When setting up a booth at a craft fair, you’ll need their help in transporting your goods to the fair and assistance with setup and tear-down of your booth.
- How much you can earn: This will depend on the costs of making the lemonade. Calculate the cost of a cup, the lemons, sugar, and labor required per glass of lemonade, then add a little bit more for profit. If it costs $0.25 per cup to make the lemonade, consider charging $0.50 per cup for purchase. If you want to earn more, consider selling other items such as homemade brownies or cookies.
- How to find these jobs: No searching necessary — set up a lemonade stand in your front yard.
- Age requirements or other limitations: You may need to ask your mom or dad for their assistance in setting up a table outside and gathering the ingredients to make the lemonade. They may also need to spot you the money to buy the ingredients.
- How much you can earn: You’ll need to negotiate with Mom and Dad on this one. Your pay will be determined by what chores need to be accomplished around the house and how much they are willing to give you for each task.
- How to find these jobs: Ask your parents what chores need to be completed. You can also ask neighbors if there are any chores they need help with, and if they’d be willing to pay you for your assistance.
- Age requirements or other limitations: You may need to convince Mom and Dad to pay you for tasks you should already be doing around the house for no charge. (After all, they are giving you free room and board.)
Your Family’s Business
- How much you can earn: This will depend upon the type of business your family owns and how much they are willing to pay you. Typically, family members are expected to work for less than a non-family member.
- How to find these jobs: Ask your parents or another family member who runs a business if they could hire you to help out.
- Age requirements or other limitations: As long as your family’s business is not involved in one of these 17 hazardous industries as noted by the Department of Labor, you can go to work for your parents. If your family owns a farm or other type of agricultural business, be sure to check out the list of hazardous duties you are not allowed to perform.
Jobs in Your Neighborhood
Expand your opportunities by looking outside your house. You can capitalize on your neighbors’ need for someone to walk their dog, watch their young child, or rake their yard.
Back in the day, when the majority of families owned a farm, they had to rely on their children to help them tend the crops and take care of the animals. To this day, children under the age of 14 are allowed to work agricultural jobs, though certain restrictions apply.
- How much you can earn: Earnings will vary widely depending on the farm and the hourly wage it pays its workers. (Most small farms that hire under-14 employees are not required to pay the federal minimum wage, so typically it will be less than $7.25 an hour.)
- How to find these jobs: The best way to find a job on a farm is to inquire with large local farms in your area.
- Age requirements or other limitations: Due to the danger of heavy farm equipment, there are numerous restrictions on the types of machinery a person under the age of 14 can operate. Those restrictions can be found on the Department of Labor’s website. A child aged 12 to 13 may work on a farm outside of school hours only if their parents work on that farm as well, or if the child has written parental consent. Youths of any age may work at any time on a farm that is owned and operated by their parents.
- How much you can earn: It will depend on the going rate in your area. It’s common for babysitters to earn about $10 per hour for one child, with an another $5 per hour for each additional child.
- How to find these jobs: Ask your neighbors who have young kids if they need a babysitter. Find out from your parents if they have friends who need a babysitter, or start by babysitting your younger siblings.
- Age requirements or other limitations: There’s no set age requirement for a babysitter, but a certain level of maturity is needed. It’s a good idea to invest your time in a CPR class, especially if you’ll be taking care of very young children or babies. The Red Cross offers CPR and child care classes to help you get certified.
- How much you can earn: It will depend on the going rate in your area, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to charge $10 – $20 an hour for your lawn care services.
- How to find these jobs: Look around your neighborhood for unkempt yards and lawns. Ask the owner if they need assistance with the upkeep of their yard. Place an ad on Craigslist for your services or put up flyers around town.
- Age requirements or other limitations: If you can hold a rake, you’re probably old enough to do some light lawn care. If you plan to use a lawnmower, weed eater, blower, or another type of small lawn care machinery, be sure you are trained on how to operate it safely and properly.
Dog Walking or Sitting
- How much you can earn: You could potentially command $20 for a half hour dog walk. Research the going rates by checking with local vets and dog boarding facilities, as these places typically charge customers to walk their dog. For dog sitting, you could charge up to $50 per day, depending on the requirements of the dog and its owner. Again, check with local dog boarding places to see what the going rates are.
- How to find these jobs: Ask your neighbors who have dogs if they need their dogs walked or watched while they are at work or out of town. Post an ad on Craigslist for your dog walking and pet-sitting services.
- Age requirements or other limitations: If a pet owner does not live within walking or bike-riding distance of your home, you’ll need mom or dad’s help in getting to their location. If school is in session, you’ll be limited in the time you’ll be able to walk dogs.
Jobs Around Town
Opportunities in your town or city abound, no matter how big or how small the area in which you live.
Acting or Modeling
- How much you can earn: Depending on your talent and ability to book jobs, you can earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars per gig. Amounts will vary by the company who hires you. Keep in mind that a talent agency will take a percent of your earnings, and remember that it’s not easy to get this type of job — acting and modeling are both extremely competitive industries.
- How to find these jobs: If you live near a major city (New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, etc.), research local talent agencies. Many agencies hire young people for modeling and commercials.
- Age requirements or other limitations: Since you’re under 14, you’re going to need a parent or guardian to accompany you to each casting call and job. In the competitive modeling and acting industry, prepare for many “no’s” before you finally receive a “yes, you’re hired.”
- How much you can earn: Depending on the number of subscribers to the newspaper, you could potentially earn $10 to $12 an hour.
- How to find these jobs: Contact your local newspaper and ask if they are hiring.
- Age requirements or other limitations: Some newspapers may require its couriers to own a properly registered and insured vehicle. Riding a bicycle to deliver newspapers isn’t as fast or efficient as using a vehicle. Therefore, you may need to have your parents or older sibling take you on your paper route.
- How much you can earn: If you’re extremely smart and have a talent for teaching other kids, you could command $10 to $15 an hour.
- How to find these jobs: Inquire with the school you attend and the elementary schools in your area for tutoring jobs. You could also post an ad on Craigslist.
- Age requirements or other limitations: The only limitation is that parents may be hesitant to hire a very young tutor for their child. You’ll need to overcome this by proving how smart you are in the subject you are offering to tutor. Be prepared to show off your recent report cards, and consider getting letters of recommendation from your current teacher(s).
Jobs for 11 Year Olds, 12 Year Olds, 13 Year Olds: Conclusion
Because of state and federal restrictions on the jobs for young employees, there are limits to the types of jobs those under the age of 14 can perform. However, for those who are motivated and persistent, young people can earn money by cashing in on your skills, no matter their age.