Twelve year olds are too young to hold full time jobs, but are perfectly capable of doing small jobs to earn some money and gain some lessons about what work and money are about. Many young teenagers are just entering a phase of self-questioning and uncertainty, and doing useful work and getting paid for it can help them to build a healthy sense of usefulness and self-esteem.
Many dog owners don't have the time or inclination to walk their dogs every day, but a daily walk is part of the responsibility of having a dog. A 12 year old can offer a solution by walking dogs for neighbors and friends. The benefits to this arrangement are numerous. Most importantly, the dog gets the exercise it needs. Also, the 12 year old can earn some money, get some exercise himself, get to know his neighbors, and begin to learn about responsibility in an easy way that doesn't ask too much of him at too young an age.
In areas that get a lot of snowfall, cleaning off driveways and walks is a winter long chore. Many elderly people find this job excessively taxing, and are happy to pay a young person to do the shoveling for them. An ambitious 12 year old can agree to shovel walks and driveways around the neighborhood all winter long in exchange for money. She can make a deal that is based on the number of times she shovels, or agree on a set rate to keep walks and drives clear all winter, however much it snows. This job helps to build young muscles as well as bank accounts.
Winter snow shovelers can transform themselves into summer lawn mowers and continue bringing in money. Kids can cut grass for their parents, friends, relatives and neighbors using their clients' mowers, and when they save enough money can buy their own mower and start a little business. Lawn mowing is a good job for kids because it is relatively easy but takes some attention to do well. This kind of job can leave a child with the satisfaction of a job well done. Kids can be encouraged to bank part of their small job earnings as a lesson in the importance of money management. Kids who use power mowers need to get permission from their parents, and be trained in the proper and safe use of potentially dangerous machines.
Having a paper route is a time-tested way for kids to make some pocket money. Delivering papers provides a number of benefits to a 12 year old besides the money he can make. It's good physical exercise, it provides lessons in dealing with people and it teaches him about money management and financial responsibility. The duty of delivering papers every day can build a sense of order and accomplishment into a 12 year old's day, and help him to move from childhood into adulthood.