As parents, we want to raise a confident child with a good work ethic. Here we teach you how to encourage your child to work hard and encourage work ethic as well.
How to Raise a Confident Child with Good Work Ethic
The 80’s were a magical time because I was a kid and didn’t have to worry about adult problems. I remember quickly walking home from school each day so I could accomplish my chores and practice piano. The faster I accomplished these tasks, the sooner I could run outside to play with my friends.
As soon as my daily tasks were finished, I was allowed to run outside to play until it started to get dark. Some days my friends and I played a game of kickball, while other days we spied on the neighbors or made up silly dances. It was very rare that one of my friends had to leave our fun activities in order to have a parent drive them to an organized physical activity.
What Parents Are Up Against
My children are growing up without a concept of the world I experienced as a kid before constant technology, competitive sports leagues, and helicopter moms became the norm.
Today’s kids don’t often walk home from school; instead, we pick them up so we can always keep a close eye on them. Then we rush home to grab any gear required for their various sporting activities before we rush out the door again. If there is any time before the activities begin, the kids want to look through social media on their phone or unwind with a video game. We push them to join sports teams so they won’t spend their lives sitting and staring at a screen.
What happened to the days when parents sent their kids outside after school to use their imagination or play unorganized sports with neighborhood friends?
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How do Chores Teach Responsibility?
Where do chores fit into the after-school race? Well, oftentimes they don’t, and when kids are given chores today, they are rarely required to perform any tasks outside of their own personal messes.
Most of my children’s friends are required to keep their rooms clean and rinse off their plate when they are done eating. This means the majority of the household work is left to the parents. Or worse yet, it is hired out because no one in the house seems to have the time.
When parents today are asked to share the hopes and dreams they have for their kids, some of the first answers given are usually “to be responsible” or “to be a hard worker.” Yet, how can our children develop the ability to be confident with good work ethic if they aren’t given responsibilities that require hard work?
How do chores teach responsibility?
My four children hate household chores with a burning passion. They whine and procrastinate and emotionally fall apart when I tell them to do chores. But I make them do chores anyway. Do I want to give in when I’m tired of hearing their complaints some days? Absolutely.
But then I remind myself that I’m raising adults who need to function in the world without me. I’m in charge of raising confident children with good work ethic. My job as their mom is not to always make them happy in the short-term; I care more about the long-term. I frequently remind them that I’m assigning chores because I love them and want to be a good mom. Good moms assign household chores.
Don’t get caught up in excuses such as, “I feel guilty making my child do chores because they are so busy with school and activities” or “my kids are too young to do chores.” These are common thoughts for parents in this generation. It may take more time and effort while in the moment, but remember that you are teaching your children, not nagging them!
Let’s look at the advantages of having our kids fulfill household responsibilities.
Benefits in Childhood of Household Chores
When your child throws a fit about having to mow the lawn or vacuum the stairs, know that you are teaching them a valuable lesson for this stage of life as well as later in life.
Research shows that kids who are given daily responsibilities around the house are more happy and successful.
Let me repeat that because I believe this is vitally important: one way you can help your children be happy and successful while growing up is to assign them daily household chores around the house and ensure that they are accomplished correctly.
They will learn patience in delaying instant gratification.
In a world that is saturated with media, our children rarely have to cultivate patience. Chores help them delay fun activities until they have accomplished more important duties.
Relationships are strengthened when kids do activities along with a parent.
Working alongside a parent in the kitchen or yard provides a perfect opportunity to casually discuss their thoughts and life challenges.
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Kids learn that they are part of something bigger.
Family life provides opportunities for them to learn that their life has meaning and purpose outside of fulfilling their own desires.
They develop more empathy.
They notice the service given to them because they have given the same service at times and begin to develop an awareness of the needs of others.
Self-esteem is developed.
Hard work provides a constant way to develop confidence. They may feel unsuccessful at times in school or on their soccer team, but they can always be successful in working hard to accomplish a chore.
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They are literally smarter.
Young children develop motor skills by performing household skills. They learn valuable lessons that will help them in school. For example, math skills when following recipes, sensory-motor skills when assembling items (which helps with the concepts of reading and writing), or science skills when they watch a garden grow after they put in the work to plant seeds and cultivate the ground.
Chores will help them learn how to manage their time better.
This concept seems lost on many youths today because they are allowed to waste hours on useless activities.
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Benefits During Adult Years
The short-term benefits might not be enough to help you push through those tough moments when the kids push back, so keep these long-term benefits in mind as well.
Children are More Successful
Marty Rossmann, emeritus associate professor of family education at the University of Minnesota, conducted extensive research spanning many years in order to show that children who are involved in household tasks at an early age are positively impacted later on. Rossman’s research shows that children are more successful as 20-year-olds (success being defined as finishing their education, being on a career path, having a higher IQ, having better relationships with family and friends, and not using drugs) if they started doing household chores around the age of 3-4.
By involving children in tasks, parents teach their children life skills such as responsibility, competence, self-reliance, and self-worth.
Day-to-Day Life Success
Managing the household is a major cause of strain on a marriage, so children who learn to pitch in whenever something needs to be done become adults with strong work ethics that are more successful in marriage.
Children who have responsibilities at home are better employees in their future careers because they can work through challenges, take on responsibilities without always having to be asked or monitored, and get along better with co-workers.
Hard working children also become adults who are more empathetic to people in need because they know how it feels to struggle in life.
Responsibilities of a Child at Home
Even when you understand the benefits of raising a confident child with good work ethic, you may not know which jobs are best to assign at various ages of your child’s development.
Here’s a chore list I’ve used as my kids have gotten older. You should never set your child up for failure by assigning a task that is above their ability, but you should also make sure your child learns necessary skills by challenging them with new tasks that are age-appropriate.
2-3 Year Olds
- Put dirty clothes in the hamper
- Help make their bed
- Fill pet bowl
- Put toys in the bucket (setting a timer for a few minutes can help with motivation)
- Wipe down counters in kitchen and bathroom
- Set the table for dinner
- Arrange shoes in the closet
4-5 Year Olds
- Rinse off dirty dishes
- Make simple lunch
- Hang up towel after bath
- Make bed by themself
- Put away clean silverware and plastic items
- Sweep dirty piles with a dustpan and small broom
- Water plants
- Match clean socks
6-7 Year Olds
- Put away all clean clothes on their own
- Clean their bedroom
- Clean out car
- Simple cooking steps
- Help clean bathroom
- Take out garbage
- Unload dishwasher
- Pick fresh vegetables and fruit from the garden with the help
8-9 Year Olds
- Sweep and mop floors
- Clean bathroom
- Straightening entire rooms, such as playroom or family room
- Put away all laundry
- Load dishwasher
- Help cook/prepare meals
- Take care of all pet needs
More Responsibilities of a Child at Home
- Yard work: weeding, mowing, planting
- Cook complete, easy dinner
- Wash the car inside and out
- Responsible for doing own laundry
- Watch younger siblings for short periods of time
- Thoroughly clean bathroom
- Cook more complex dinners
- Watch younger siblings for extended periods of time
- Thoroughly clean entire kitchen
- Large household projects
- Most adult household chores
As you try to patiently teach your children how to work, remember all the benefits!
What chores do you have your kids help with around the house?
What is your biggest struggle when it comes to teaching your kids to work?
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Michele Tripple is a renowned author and expert in the fields of parenting, relationships, and personal development. With her degree in marriage and family studies, her experience as a Family Life Educator, and over a decade of experience as a professional writer, Michele has authored books that provide practical advice and insights into improving family dynamics and personal growth. Her work is celebrated for its blend of research-driven information and relatable, real-world applications. Michele has been a keynote speaker at conferences and has contributed to numerous publications and media outlets, solidifying her reputation as an authoritative voice in her field and helping families build relationships.