In Parenting

Raising Children to Work Hard Play Hard

What makes the difference between a hard working child and one who’s lazy and irresponsible? Good work ethic. Instilling good work ethic in your children will help them grow up with the right attitude towards work. Children who develop a “work hard play hard” mindset will be wholehearted in all they do. A good work ethic will teach children to be creative, industrious and productive.

Work Ethic – Inherited or Developed?

Although some kids have a knack for working hard, most need to develop this trait. There are various ways you can help your kids do simple tasks to help around the home.

Giving older kids home responsibilities, talking to them about the importance of work and setting a good example are also good ways of teaching your children to do their part.

Smart parents will begin instilling a good work ethic in their kids from the time they are small. This helps to ingrain good work habits that will benefit them for years to come. Teaching your kids to do a job right takes patience, stamina and time. You may need to have your kids do a job again and again before they get it right. There’s always the temptation of giving up and doing the job yourself. Doing all the work yourself robs your kids of the opportunity to contribute, mature and grow.

Children who help around the home learn the importance of being diligent, responsible and useful. These traits will benefit them academically during their school years and professionally, once they begin to establish a career. In contrast, children who are pampered and given few responsibilities in childhood grow to be lazy and spoiled. Many continue their spoiled lifestyle well into their 20’s and 30’s, as evidenced by their still living at home and being cared for by indulging parents.

Some children have a built-in desire to work, and work hard, without being threatened or prodded. They’re naturally industrious and helpful. As a parent, you can easily build on these traits to develop your kids’ talents and skills. The ability to work hard and be nice to people can help children in every aspect of their lives. Such children will find it easier to make friends, perform well at school and work together with others to accomplish their goals.

Although talent can be extremely useful when it comes to getting things done, it can only take a person so far. Your children may be very talented, but lack the desire to work and put that talent to good use. Under such circumstances, hard work beats talent as it enables a person to be more productive in getting things done.

Tips for Teaching Children Work Ethic

Like many other values in life, work ethic can be taught to children through a concerted effort. Your example will play a big role in your kids learning this trait. You can show your children how hard work pays off in their life and provide opportunities for them to reap the rewards of their efforts. The earlier you begin, the better. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

TIP #1: Assign Children Home Chores

By assigning home chores, you give kids a chance to learn new tasks and contribute in a positive way to the home environment. Young children are capable of learning a wide variety of jobs, including:

  • Cleaning their room
  • Making their bed
  • Feeding pets
  • Setting and clearing the table
  • Putting away clean laundry
  • Picking up their toys
  • Watering plants, etc.

Home tasks teach children responsibility and help them feel useful to the family. If children do not contribute to household chores, they don’t appreciate the hard work involved in maintaining a nice, comfortable home.

TIP #2: Establish Routines

Make sure everyone knows what their responsibilities are and how and when they are to be done. This eliminates confusion and double standards. Routines are helpful in getting your kids to complete tasks. They also enable kids to establish good work habits.

TIP #3: Enact a Reward System

Children love being rewarded for a job well done. Rewards offer great incentives for working hard and sharing the load. Although monetary rewards such as an allowance are most common, you can also consider such rewards as special snacks, a fun outing, extra movie night or surprising your kids with a new toy or gadget that they’ve been wanting for a while.

TIP #4: Set the Example

Children learn a great deal by copying their parents’ example. Having a good work ethic yourself is key to teaching your kids the same. Your attitude toward work will rub off on your kids. If you have a positive “I can” type of attitude and look for ways to make work enjoyable, your kids will more than likely follow your example.

Working together gives you the opportunity to teach your kids new abilities and skills they may not learn otherwise. If you’re an avid gardener, teach your kids about gardening so they’ll learn how to care for your plants and yard. Older children can learn painting, handyman skills, cooking, sewing and other useful tasks that will benefit them now and later on in life. Your kids will treasure the time you spend together and learn how to work smart and hard from your example.

TIP #5: Make Work Fun

There’s great joy to be felt in working side by side with your family. Parents who make work fun help bring out the best in their children by encouraging them to do a great job. Giving out rewards is one way of providing incentive for kids to do their jobs. Having weekly contests where everyone wins is another. You can give prizes for the neatest room, fastest vacuuming, cleanest closet, most cheerful worker, etc.

Playing “guardian angel” is another fun way to encourage kids to do a good job. Have everyone write anonymous notes giving positive feedback to home members on a job well done. These can be secretly placed around the house where others can find them to encourage their efforts. Appreciation is a great way to show children how their contributions make a difference in creating a happy, loving home.

Making Mistakes is Part of Learning

As children take on more responsibility, there will be times of success and failure. If your kids forget to water the garden, plants may die. If they don’t keep their rooms neat, they may forfeit a sleepover or other special activity.

Teens who have poor work ethic may experience more serious consequences for their lacks. They may get fired from a job for being late one too many times or lose driving privileges for not taking care of the car. Rather than bailing them out, let them learn by accepting the consequences of their actions.

Most all jobs serve a specific purpose and value. By discussing the value and purpose of home jobs with your kids, they are more likely to catch the vision for developing good work habits. Good work ethics also help to develop a person’s skills and character – important traits that will help them in the future.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Having a good work ethic is not synonymous with “all work and no play.” You should teach your kids to have a balanced life that includes times of work and relaxation. Although the phrase “work hard, play hard” has bad connotations, it can also be applied in a positive way, i.e. you can teach your kids to apply themselves wholeheartedly during work time so they can enjoy their times of relaxation to the full. Hard work can help your kids appreciate their “play times” even more.

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