6 Ways to Teach Your Kids a Good Work Ethic
On more than one occasion in my childhood, my father leveled his eyes at my brothers and me and said, “If you kids want to make me proud, you only have to do two things in life: honor God, and work hard…in that order.” As an adult with two kids of my own, I’ve begun to appreciate the wisdom of that request.
In the years since, I found spiritual guidance by going to church, but getting guidance on how to teach a work ethic has been a little harder to come by. Thankfully, there is some wisdom out there, starting with these 6 Ways to Teach Your Kids a Good Work Ethic.
1. Create opportunities for them to work young, and often. Start with small chores for little ones and more up to more demanding responsibilities as they grow.
2. Don't hire away all the tough jobs. The trend in suburban America to hire housekeepers, yardmen, etc., may be robbing our kids of all the traditional opportunities to learn to work. Don't fool yourself into thinking that the actual skills they're using (cutting grass) won't benefit them later (after all, he's going to be a surgeon, right?). Learning to get up and do what needs doing, no matter what it is, is important to their future success.
3. Treat their studies as a key work ethic training ground: consistent completion of homework, getting the study hours in for a big exam. Basically, school is your children's job. It is an excellent environment for developing a work ethic that will serve them well in later life.
4. Let them suffer the consequences of failing to work hard. The earlier you do this, the less painful and the more productive it will be. If the penalty for not doing your chores is not getting an allowance or not having friends over—don't cave in. If the penalty for not turning your book report in on time is a bad grade, let them suffer the consequence.
5. Model a consistent work ethic in your own life.
6. Treat having a work ethic as an element of character, which it is.
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