It is legal in the US for kids under the age of 14 to work if it is for the family business. Even when they’re older, it is legal for them to work for less than minimum wage if it is for the family business. Labor laws don’t apply the same way when your employer is a parent. (Note and disclaimer: consult a lawyer/do your own research before making employment decisions.)
When I was younger (including when I was on break from college and an experienced grader!) I used to offer to help grade my mom’s stacks of homeworks for free. She would never let me, even when it was just multiple choice and required no specialized knowledge to mark. I was never really sure why she wouldn’t.
I have friends whose parents are famous economists who learned Stata practically in the cradle. These skills came in handy when they were old enough for paying work as students and then later when their humanities degrees didn’t really pan out and they needed to change fields. Data analysis is a valuable skill.
DC1 has played around with programming in Python and likes building things in minecraft. Zie has also done some Scratch and some lego-robot programming. This summer I suggested zie might like to try a little Stata and zie said that sounded fun. We’ve done about three hours now (1 hour of showing how excel works using our mortgage spreadsheet and 2 hours of creating a numeric variable from a text variable from an incomplete but already created .do file) and zie seems to be enjoying it. Once we’re done with the variable generation (that I actually do need for my work and would normally have an RA do but they’re all off for a week), we’ll start going through A Gentle Introduction to Stata. Right now I’m paying $7.50/hour which is much more than zie gets for hir allowance.
Zie is mostly booked all summer with summer camps and a keyboarding class and books and sleepovers and games and traveling and so on. But there are a few days free here and there, so we’ll put in a little Stata training on those days, and if I have scut work to do and no RA to do them, zie will be able to help out if zie stays interested. Especially if I’m out of Here to Make Friends podcasts to listen to while copy/pasting.
Did you ever help your parents with their work? Did they pay you? Would you let your children help? Why or why not?