Growth Trends for Related Jobs
In centuries past, there were plenty of jobs for 10-year-olds, in factories, mines, warehouses and other settings that we now consider far too dangerous for kids of any age. The introduction of child labor protections eliminated those jobs, protecting kids from harm and freeing them up to spend their days in school. That's a win all around, unless you're a broke 10-year-old looking to earn some cash. There are still plenty of legal ways for kids to make money, and they're far easier than scrubbing toilets or sweeping chimneys.
Legal Restrictions Affecting Child Labor
In the U.S., the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) strictly regulates employment of minors. Under the FLSA, it's legal for employers to hire workers as young as 14, assuming those employers follow certain FLSA restrictions that protect workers under 18. Each state also has its own child labor laws.
Because of the FLSA, 10-year-olds can't legally work in stores, offices, restaurants and other businesses where employees are protected by minimum wage law, with one possible exception. A minor of any age may work unrestricted hours in a business that is solely owned and operated by his or her parents, provided the work isn't manufacturing, mining or another type of work deemed hazardous by the Department of Labor.
Pet and Child Care
A 10-year-old who has grown up with pets and younger siblings may have enough experience and maturity to help neighbors or relatives with pet or child care. A child this age can check in on a neighboring pet while its owners are away, playing with and feeding the animal. In certain situations, like if the home has a fenced yard or if the child will be accompanied by a parent, a 10-year-old child, who is dog sitting, might also be able to take the dog for a walk.
Ten is also an appropriate age a child to start working as a parent's helper, provided that the 10-year-old has good judgment. In these jobs, young sitters entertain younger kids while their parents are at home and therefore available in case of emergency.
Yard Work and Cleanup
As long as the work doesn't involve power tools, motorized gadgets, chemicals or busy roads, a 10-year-old should be able to safely do paying work in neighborhood yards. Shoveling snow, raking leaves, watering plants and helping with weeding and planting are all tasks that a child this age can do with minimal supervision. However, a 10-year-old should hold off on offering lawn-mowing services, even with a push mower. Each year more than 9,000 kids go to American ERs because of lawn mower-related injuries, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, so the group recommends kids younger than 12, avoid using mowers of all types.
Does your 10-year-old have any special creative skills or artistic gifts? If so, she could turn selling them into a viable after-school job. A 10-year-old can create jewelry, accessories, paintings, birdhouses, illustrations, ornaments and other decorative objects and offer them for sale at local craft shows and in online marketplaces (with a parent's help).
More Summer Jobs for Kids
Never underestimate the earning power of a classic roadside stand. With an eye-catching sign and a good product, like cold lemonade on a hot day, a charming 10-year-old can turn quite a profit in a few hours. Encourage kids to think beyond just lemonade, however. Kids this age could sell cups of apple cider and painted gourds in autumn, or small bouquets of flowers around spring holidays like Easter and Mother's Day.
An energetic 10-year-old may also be able to do short-term work picking fruit on a local farm. Each state is allowed to set its own minimum age for agricultural workers. Most states set the minimum age somewhere between 12 and 16, but several states have no minimum age for workers who are scheduled outside of school hours. Hawaii specifically allows 10-year-olds to help with coffee harvesting outside of school hours.
Kathryn has been a lifestyle writer for more than a decade. Her work has appeared on USAToday.com and Indeed.com.