Paper Route Jobs Pros and Cons for Kids

Paper Routes Are Still a Great First Job for Kids

Yellow Dog Productions / Getty Images

Movies, television shows, and Broadway plays have made them popular. But are your children ready for a newspaper route job?

If your son or daughter wants to get a part-time job to earn some extra cash above and beyond his or her allowance, then a paper route might be a great opportunity. Delivering newspapers is one of the most common tried and true ways to earn money, and has been the first job for many kids over decades.

It's important to know, however, that such jobs are increasingly scarce. Many newspapers have closed down or reduced the number of editions they sell. Some papers, too, are relying on adult paper delivery services rather than hiring youngsters as they used to do.

First, Let's Weigh the Pros

  • Great Exercise: If your child gets a route where he can ride his bicycle every morning during deliveries, he will be getting a great workout while he is earning money.
  • Builds Self-Confidence: Knowing he is doing a great job at something that people appreciate can show your child how capable he is, and that is a great confidence booster.
  • Freedom: One of the best things about having a paper route is that other than having papers delivered by a certain time, paper deliverers have the freedom to do their route as quickly as they want, in the order that they want; and they don’t have to dress up to do it!
  • Routes Can Be Shared: If you have two or three family members that want to share a route so they don’t have to work as many days, this is usually just fine. Another idea: have one person prepare the papers and have someone else manage deliveries.
  • Earning Tips: Paper delivery routes often have customers that tip, whether it is weekly or just at Christmas time. Better service often results in more generous tips!

Now, Let's Take a Look at the Cons

  • Unpredictable Weather: Just like the mail, snow, sleet, and rain cannot stop the newspaper delivery person; your child will be facing adverse weather conditions and might need to be driven when the weather gets too fierce.
  • Early Morning Hours: Newspapers have to arrive early, many times by 5:00 in the morning. Keep in mind, your child will have to prepare the papers first, which means they might have to be up as early as 2:00 AM to get the papers out on time.
  • Collecting Money: Some paper routes include collections, and it can be intimidating for some children to ask strangers for money. Keep your child’s personality in mind if his route includes collecting money. Depending upon the neighborhood, a kid with cash in his pocket can become a target for crime.

What Kids Learn About Money

  • Unexpected Extra Income: Extra tips can teach your child a valuable lesson about how to handle extra money that he wasn't expecting.
  • Punctuality: Paper routes depend on punctuality of the paper delivery. Your child will learn to deliver the papers by a specified time each morning.
  • Collecting Money: If your child’s route includes collections, asking for payment is a great money skill to master. He will learn to handle money responsibly that isn’t his, and it will help him become more assertive when dealing with others.

More Great Jobs and Tips for Your Kids