Teaching kids to work: a good discussion on Labor Day, don’t you think? As parents, we are reminded on this day that the ability to work is a privilege.
But how do you convince your kids of that?
Teaching kids to work is one of the many challenges of parenting. But with these 10 suggestions, you can get them moving in the right direction.
Teaching kids to work starts at home
- Give them chores and make it fun. It’s never too early to give children simple chores, even if it’s only feeding the dog or picking up a few toys. Make it fun by offering a reward when the work is done or by having a contest to see who can get done quicker or by playing loud music and dancing while you work.
- Distinguish between work as a privilege, not as a punishment. Instead of threatening them that if they don’t get their work done, such and such will happen, say, “You’ve done a great job! Since you’ve been a good helper, I’m going to let you help me cook dinner.”
- Give your kids clear instruction on what you expect. Posting a list or making a chart helps kids see the beginning and the end of their work, which is something we all like seeing.
- Explain the difference between “required” and “hired” jobs. Required jobs are what each child should have as a member of the family, like cleaning their rooms or picking up their toys. Hired job, on the other hand, are extra work around the house and yard that a child can do for pay.
- Be flexible. Keep in mind your child’s plans and commitments as you assign tasks. Does it really matter if Saturday chores are done on Thursday, Friday or Saturday? This is especially true for kids playing Saturday sports.
Teaching Kids to work is about more than tasks
- Teach them how to save money. Give them a special bank or box to save a small percentage of their chore income. When they get older, help them open their first savings account, maybe even contributing to their new fund.
- Don’t give them everything they want. If you give your children money to buy every thing they want, you’re robbing them of the opportunity to learn the true value of things. They have to want things—and then wait for them—for meaning to return. It’s amazing that things they buy with their own money are much more valuable to them than anything that they buy with yours.
- Let Them Learn from Failure. Kids will seldom do their tasks to meet your standards. But that’s okay. It’s more important that they are putting forth the effort. Stop yourself from stepping and doing it yourself. They will never learn to work if you keep doing that. That doesn’t mean, of course that you shouldn’t teach them how to do excellent work. That will come as they get older. There is a time when you can teach them that if a job isn’t done right, they must do it again.
- Model a good work Ethic. Kids will follow your example in just about every area of life and working hard is no exception.
- Show them how to find and get a job. Finding a first job outside of the home can be a daunting task. Show your kids how to read the classified ads and websites like Monster.com and Snagajob.com. Help them put together a resume, role play with them so they know what to say when they approach a business about a job. Make a list of places that they can visit to inquire about hiring.
Teaching kids to work will bear fruit
Today my kids are 20,23, and 26. And they are all working at jobs they found themselves, without any help from us. They have shown persistence in job-hunting, strength in challenging situations, and extreme appreciation for the value of the dollar.
Although teaching kids to work is not the most fun part of parenting, it is definitely worth it when you see your kids start to understand that they are lucky to have jobs and do their best to excel in their job situations.
Football moms: get your survival guide for the fall season! Football Mom’s Survival Guide.
Get my free new report: Sportsparents’ Guide: 55 time & money-saving tips guaranteed to make your life easier. You’ll also get regular sports parenting tips each week and a weekly parenting tip. Sign up here.