You can't assume child labor laws are always enforced. The parent is the ultimate authority. Prepare yourself with a look at what the U.S. Department of Labor says tweens and teens can do and when.13 and under
When they can work: At the discretion of parents, for neighbors and friends' parents they know well and trust.
Good options: Babysitting, delivering newspapers, petsitting, and collecting mail for vacationing neighbors, shoveling snow or doing yard work (but no power equipment), performing and assisting in businesses owned by their parents.
When they can work: Cannot coincide with school hours, and must be between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (hours are extended to 9 p.m. in the summer); up to 3 hours on a school day; up to 18 hours in a school week; up to 8 hours on a non-school day; up to 40 hours during a non-school week.
Good options: Jobs that don't require your teen to make major decisions, like clerking in retail stores, assisting in a library, or filing papers in an office.
When they can work: Any time of day, for any number of hours.
Good options: All positions except those declared hazardous by the Department of Labor (working with explosives, driving, mining, logging, roofing, excavating, demolition, anything that uses power-driven machines). Ideal jobs are those related to a teen's possible career choice.
Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the May 2008 issue of Family Circle magazine.