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7 Things to Teach Kids Early to Prepare Them For a First Job

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My daughter got her first job about a year ago and recently, I watched her intently watching a video her boss had sent her. In the video, her boss was letting her know that she has been such a great employee who is dependable, hard-working, and always on time. And as a result, she got a raise!

Never in my life did I intentionally think, “How do I prepare my child for a job?” But in her 17 years, my daughter’s learned a lot of skills that have helped her thrive. And now I see that even our younger kids can learn skills today that will give them a good chance of also having a successful first job experience. Here are 7 things you can teach your kids in everyday life that will help prepare them for their first job.

1. Teach them punctuality.

One morning, my middle schooler missed her bus which made her late and she risked getting detention. She was so nervous about it that now she’s always at the bus stop with plenty of time to spare. Teaching kids to be ready on time for school, church, or even a playdate reinforces behavior that will be appreciated in the workforce when they’re older.

2. Teach them to fulfill their commitments.

Letting your kids bail on plans sets a bad precedent, especially when they’re doing it out of selfishness. If we teach them to keep their plans while they’re young, they’ll learn to uphold their serious commitments. If my daughter commits to babysitting but then finds out her friends are going to the movies, she knows she’s not allowed to ditch the family she’s babysitting for.

3. Teach them how to speak to adults respectfully and confidently.

I see this a lot. A small child says something disrespectful but funny, so parents laugh it off, rewarding negative behavior. Or parents don’t use casual interactions like with the bagger at the grocery store or a family friend at church to teach kids how to speak clearly to adults and make eye contact. There are so many great opportunities to teach respect and how to speak with confidence, which will create confident employees and entrepreneurs who can handle themselves in a competitive environment.

4. Teach them to take pride in the things they do.

When I was a kid, if I did something sloppy in my homework, my mom would erase the whole thing and I had to start over. So I learned really fast to do things neatly and with care so that I didn’t have to do it twice. I have used this same technique with my kids and now see work that is neat and tidy more often than not. Get in the habit of asking your kids if they are proud of their work.

Get in the habit of asking your kids if they are proud of their work. Click To Tweet

5. Teach them how to quit a job without burning bridges.

My daughter enjoys her job, but recently she had an opportunity to do something she loves. She was nervous and almost in tears about talking to her boss and we had to coach her on how to approach the situation. Looking back, I realized that if I had pushed her to confidently talk to her teachers about difficult situations when she was younger instead of contacting them myself, or if I had taught her how to confront a friend respectfully, maybe she would’ve been better prepared to talk to her boss now.

6. Teach them the value of money.

I spent my first paycheck in a matter of minutes. A few days later, I got invited to lunch with some friends and had no money. I realized how quickly money goes and learned budgeting the hard way. I am trying to teach my kids how to budget by paying themselves first, giving some to charity, and wisely using the rest of their money.

7. Teach them humility.

Kids can act pretty entitled. Teaching our children to be grateful and respectful by having them do chores, help in the community, and treat others the way they want to be treated are great ways to teach humility. They’ll need it when they encounter a demanding boss or an angry customer. So if you’re wondering “how do I prepare my child for a job?” teach them these things while they’re young.

What skills do you wish you had learned early on in life that you had to learn the hard way once you got your first job?


If you could be anything, what would you like to be when you grow up?

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