Summer's almost here and school will be over soon. Many parents have already figured out summer plans for their kiddos or are currently scrambling to do so if they can't stay home with them.

Mine are still little, but it got me wondering what parents of tweens and young teens do. Grandparents, camps, leaving them home alone...these are some of the answers I got from people.

Then I thought, Oh! When the time comes, I'll make 'em get a job. That'll keep them out of trouble.

I got my first jobs around 12 helping a neighboring ranch in the summertime and doing a little babysitting.

Turns out, state law generally prohibits employers from hiring anyone under 14 during the summer. During school hours, the state's labor laws forbid anyone under 16 to be employed.

Further, the law prohibits minors under 16 working in certain trades or jobs deemed hazardous, and requires anyone who employs a minor under the age of 16 to obtain proof of their age.

There is nothing wrong, however, with making your kids work on a farm, legally speaking.

Children of any age may be employed in agriculture in the State of Wyoming.

There is no minimum age threshold applicable for farm work, either.

It should be said that farm work for minors under 16 is not permitted when school is in session.

Well there you have it. Moms, Dads, and guardians scratching their heads to find a place for your not little, but not big kids: Voilà!

Youth under the age of 12 may be employed in the summer on a farm with written parental consent in nonhazardous jobs (I'm guessing that means no tractor driving).

Minors of any age can work for their parents at any time if it is their parents' farm.

Seventeen states have cleared farm work for children—Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.

There are exceptions. 12-year-olds can hand-harvest berries, bulbs, cucumbers and spinach when they're not in school in Washington. In Hawaii, 10-year-olds can harvest coffee.

The U.S. Department of Labor can issue a fine of $11,000 to any employer who violates a child labor law.

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Gallery Credit: Billy Jenkins

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