Instilling a strong work ethic in our children is one of the best things we parents can do for them. Work can show them they are capable, helpful, and can make an impact on their world. It can illustrate that effort, care, and conscientiousness matter and that results come from hard work.
Here are five simple ways to teach even very young children the value of work.
Give Them a Specific Responsibility
In a family, everyone can work together to stay on top of responsibilities at home. You can give even preschool-aged children their very own responsibilities to manage.
Perhaps they’re in charge of making sure all of the lights are turned out before you leave your house or that all of their stuffed animals are put away each day.
Older children can be put in charge of taking out the garbage or recycling. Perhaps they’re the ones that clear and clean the table after dinner each night. As they grow, they can be put in charge of entire rooms—keeping them clean and organized.
When families operate as a team with everyone doing their part, things run smoothly and children develop the skills and values they’ll need to become self reliant individuals later.
The fundamental concept that it takes work to earn reward is one that kids can miss, surprisingly. When children take on and complete tasks that fall outside of their regular responsibilities, perhaps they should receive payment.
For example, you may require your children to clean up after themselves and to keep their own rooms clean as their regular responsibilities. However, jobs such as pulling weeds in the garden, vacuuming common areas, straightening the garage, dusting, and so on may be categorized as chores that, when completed, are worth money.
Chore charts posted in the home can come in handy to motivate children to work hard for their money. 😉
Take on a Project
Working as a family on a specific project is a great way to illustrate the value of work, and its intricacies. Whether you build or create something, plan a vacation or an event, improve your home in some way, or do something for someone else—a project in which each family member participates will teach children cooperation, goal-setting, patience, attention to detail, and more. If there’s a project you’ve been wanting to tackle, why not make it a family affair?
Lemonade stands, bake sales, car washes, and more are simple, kid-friendly ways to exercise those entrepreneurial muscles. Talk to your kids about the quality of their products or services, the effectiveness of their signs, their pricing strategy, the importance of their location, customer service, and more.
Children will learn the value of initiative and the ways in which their actions and their work can impact others.
Set the Example
Parents often separate their families from their work, but doing so likely robs children of learning opportunities. Share details of your work with your children if possible. Perhaps your children could visit your workplace or learn a skill you use each day. Even if you work at home, you can share problems you’re facing and creative pursuits you’re delving into.
What’s more, in day-to-day life, show your children that honesty, integrity, high standards, and hard work pay off and are key elements of a well-lived life.