Cultivating children’s work ethics through daily chores matters.
On the job work ethics is a thing of the past , yet, it is the very thing that all companies are seeking when they hire a new employee. In a job market where most find it extremely difficult to find a job, it is beneficial for young people (or anyone for that matter) to have work ethics that outshine the majority.
As a mother, it was my intention to teach my children work ethics through daily chores. I knew that someday they would need to find a job or would be a mother needing those same skills in the home.
My disclaimer is that children don’t always ‘take’ to the lessons applied at home through their parents. I am thrilled when I see fruit in my children that shows they learned work ethics while growing up and when they don’t, hopefully they will return to the values that they were taught.
Starting with Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers
Why wait?! A youngster who is two or three is eager to work. They love helping mama and feel so ‘big’ to be doing little tasks around the home. The home is the place where little ones can begin to learn work ethics they will need later.
If you are a tired mama, you won’t have to look far to get some ideas for your little one’s chores. Make it fun and they will want to help.
Take advantage of these tasks being fun while they haven’t yet experienced the monotony that brings on the complaints. Hopefully you’ll have children that won’t think to ever murmur!!
In case you don’t know where to start:
- Make their Bed (OK…help mama make their bed…they can help put their pillow in the right spot, or arrange the stuffed animals…gradually as you ‘do’ it for them and they are urged to help a little more they will ‘own’ the job).
- Pick Up Toys – Even a child younger than 2 years old can start learning to put their toys back on the shelf or into the bin once they are walking. They can begin to learn…’If you take it out/put it back’. Before meals is a good motivator for this task.
- Empty Waste Baskets – If you have waste baskets with just papers in them, it is helpful and probably even fun for your child to toddle to the kitchen garbage and throw it away. OK, so they leave a trail and they have to learn to pick it up…but what you’re probably not thinking is how helpful they will be as they get older.
- Wash Benches & Chairs around Table – Do you have jelly and unnameable stickiness stuck to your kitchen chairs and benches? Did you know that your toddler can be given a nice wet wash cloth to wash up (play?) the chairs around your table? Yes!! Good bye extreme stickiness!!
About 5 tasks seems to be a doable amount for a child this old. You’ll know what’s best for your child. Each child is different as you may have already found.
When my oldest son was 4 years old, I wrote out 5 things each morning on a piece of paper. He couldn’t even read but he loved the importance of having a list.
Young School Age Children
This is where children can really begin to learn the work ethics that you started to teach when they were toddlers. Yes, by now they are likely to complain but that is all part of learning to be diligent.
There are a myriad of methods for children’s chores. How much you are able to get them involved with chores will depend on whether they spend a couple hours on the school bus each day. My children were homeschooled so had time to devote to learning to work.
- Make a list of all the chores needing to be done in your home that your children can learn to do.
- Make a list of all your children.
- Divide the chores up between your children.
- Make a chore list/chart for each of your children.
- It is wise to also have a master chore chart that you can see at a glance.
- Make a ‘Master Chore Chart’ on the computer which includes all of your children.
- Make a ‘Chore Chart’ for each of your children.
- Post it in their binders and on a bulletin board or fridge, somewhere that it can be seen and followed. (I had children who said I never ‘gave’ them their chore chart when it was in their binder AND on the fridge for ALL to see!!)
On a school day our children got up about 6am so it was easy for chores to mostly be done before breakfast. For some reason, this was a motivator. Of course, if we had a work day or extended cleaning to do, we broke things up with breakfast.
Recently, my youngest was reminiscing about the chores we used to do. He was saying how much he learned through daily chores. He remembered being given a consequence of having to clean the WHOLE rabbitry (which had to be practically spotless to keep the rabbits healthy) for some sort of infraction or laziness. He is 19 and had reached the point where his reminiscing was a high compliment for me.
Teenagers and Chores
By the time that some of our children were young adults (aka teenagers) I found the blessings of having help that I never dreamed possible. I had taught my children to work when they were little without knowing to look ahead. What a blessing to have older children helping with chores when you have babies and toddlers!!
Startup Business Ideas for Children who have Good Work Ethics
- Cottage Industries: My children tried earning money through different avenues as they got a bit older.
- Cookie Business – They sold cookies at my husband’s job.
- Lawn Mowing Business – Mowing to help elderly neighbors turned into a small mowing business for other neighbors who saw my son’s industriousness.
- Dog Sitting Business – Caring for neighbor’s dogs when they went on vacation.
- Sewing Doll Clothes – One daughter sewed beautiful clothes for American Dolls.
- Sewing Business – Another daughter had a sewing business as a teenager which turned into a full blown business as an adult.
- Firewood Business – My oldest and youngest son had a firewood business where they would cut, split, and deliver the wood.
The ideas are endless but all come out of an industrious work ethic that is rare today!!
Cultivating work ethics in children, all starts through daily chores. Instilling diligence in our children is best done through the years as they grow up.
Do your children have daily chores? Are you diligently working on cultivating their work ethics?