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Is Your Child Ready to Get a Job?

Jane Ingram, 10, of New Hope, PA, was determined to earn some spending money. So she handed out flyers marketing herself as a mother's helper and quickly landed a job. "Jane loved it  -- except for the marketing part," says mom Leah.

If your child is clamoring for a job, ask yourself these questions before you give her the go-ahead, says Dave Riley, associate dean of human ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison:

Can she tolerate frustration? Will she mind doing something tedious? And if something goes wrong on the job (she spills water while watering plants, for instance), can she manage?

Will she be able to stick with it? Think about how well she's committed to activities that are tough sometimes, like ballet or music lessons.

How enthusiastic is she? If she gives up after one "no" or doesn't have ideas for what to do, she might not be ready.

If she is ready, here's how to help:

Look for tasks at home. Doing extra chores for cash is a safe way to learn the value of work and responsibility. Point out what she's done well and what she could improve upon, to show her what an employer might expect.

Tell friends and neighbors. Bring her along when you let them know she's up for things like pet-sitting, light yard work, or assisting at a party.

Help her brainstorm. See if your child can figure out a way to combine business with pleasure. Dave Weaver of Eden Prairie, MN, an avid soccer player, began earning money at age 10 as a referee at kid soccer games.

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