Instilling a Work Ethic from a Young Age

Discussion in 'Family Chat' started by Rachel, May 21, 2015.

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  1. Rachel

    Rachel Libman Family Blogger

    I have three kids under the age of 7 and I know that right now these are their formative years. It's important to teach them their alphabet, numbers, all about sharing, being kind to others, etc. Did you ever think about the importance of instilling a good work ethic at a young age? I like to think about what kind of people I want my kids to grow up to be and I definitely want them to have a good work ethic. Getting your kids to help out around the house and doing chores is a great way to teach your kids about that. Here are a few of my personal tips on how I try to instill a work ethic in my young children.

    1. Keep them Responsible for their Actions - My kids are constantly making messes whether on accident or on purpose. I always have my kids clean it up or at least help me clean it up. This teaches them that they are responsible for their actions so if they do something wrong, they need to fix it. Just tonight my 3 year old decided to pour himself a bowl of cereal while I was putting the baby to bed. He spilled the entire bag all over the floor. He immediately told me what happened and since he was taking responsibility for his actions, I didn't get angry with him. Instead I just reminded him to ask for help next time and then had him clean it up. He swept up some of it (then I did the rest) and then mopped it up since he had spilled the milk as well.

    He didn't get upset at having to do these extra chores and the next time he made a mess, he immediately started to clean it up on his own.

    2. Heap on the Praise - Praise does wonderful things and when we praise our little ones, it really helps build up their confidence. Plus, our kids want to please us so they are more likely to continue to want to work when they are praised for it. My oldest does a great job at scrubbing toilets and I always make sure to praise him whenever he cleans them. It makes him want to do that chore daily and the praise also allows him to take pride in his work.

    3. Find What They Like to Do - Think about your own work ethic. For me, I know that I work better at things that I like to do, so I know I personally would work harder at a job I actually liked. My oldest loves to vacuum and he's really good at it. So I give him the opportunity to vacuum whenever I can. He loves it when I ask him to help me out and vacuum. Encouraging them to continue to do chores they like to do is a great way to help them develop a good work ethic.

    4. Make Work Fun - We often must do things we don't like to do. A good work ethic means you do your best with all jobs, whether you like them or not. Teaching your children to make a job that is not so pleasant more fun is a great way to instill a good work ethic. We do different things to help my kids find doing chores (especially the ones they don't like to do) a lot more fun. For some reason my kids just do not like to clean their rooms. They love to clean the bathrooms, but when it comes to their rooms....that's a whole other story. So when it comes to cleaning their rooms, we make it fun by making it a game. I will ask my kids how long they think it will take them to clean their room (for the younger ones that don't understand time I just come up with a time that I think they can get it done by) and then we set a timer and try to beat that time. If we beat it, then we reward ourselves with a little treat or an extra book at bedtime or something like that. Other ways to make it fun is by competition, we see who can get their room cleaned the fastest. My kids also love it when I add new cleaning products that they can use. Like sponges to wash the walls, new dusters, etc. This is like adding a new toy, they love it and want to use it over and over again!

    5. Be a Good Role Model - If you want your children to grow up with good work ethics, then you need to have them yourself and model that behavior. If I expect my kids to pick up after themselves, then I need to do the same thing. My husband once banned the kids from eating anywhere except in the kitchen, but then he would eat in the family room or even in our room sometimes. So our kids wouldn't follow the rule and I didn't blame them. Once my husband followed his own rule, then my kids had no problem with obeying that rule. I try hard not to complain about cleaning the house or doing certain chores and instead I try to stay positive, even if it's a job I don't like to do. My kids are great cleaners, and all of them started to help at an early age. It's not because I tried to force them to, instead they saw me do it and they wanted to do it, too. I can't tell you how many times I go to clean and at least one child will come and ask if they can help. I love it and even if it's more of a hindrance (a lot of times it's easier to do it myself) I let them help me. It's more important that they get to help than my getting a chore done fast.

    Do you think it's important to instill a work ethic in young children? What things do you do to instill a good work ethic with your kids?
    Libman and gcook like this.
  2. familyfocusblog

    familyfocusblog Libman Family Blogger

    I agree that starting a young age is key to them understanding that helping out and contributing is just part of being a family. It helps make sure they don't develop a since of entitlement.
    gcook likes this.
  3. Yes! I totally agree with you! We especially focus on #1 - it makes such a difference if the kids just learn to clean up after their own messes!