As moms, we’re the hardest working people on the planet – amiright?! And within that, we have so many opportunities to help shape our kids’ work ethic.
Saying that, I want to clarify that this post isn’t about creating little doers! Kids should be kids. Their job is to play. Even through play, we can cultivate, encourage and instill life skills. And a work ethic is just that – it’s a life skill.
Having a strong work ethic makes our children trustworthy. It makes them dependable. It makes them creative. It allows them to walk out their calling and purpose.
Walking in their calling and purpose requires action. And action requires work ethic. A work ethic is an element of their character and identity.
Like most other parts of their character and identity, a work ethic is learned. Some kids are probably more industrious than others, but as parents, we play a huge role in our kids’ work ethic. This is a work in progress that can be strengthened with training. So here are 3 ways we can start teaching our children a great work ethic.
1. Be a coach, not a boss
Life doesn’t happen in an isolated bubble. So this is all about developing a work ethic by working with our kids. Think of this as the difference between having a coach and a boss. A boss delegates and barks orders and probably isn’t as involved, whereas a coach is in it. That’s our role as the coach – we can make work collaborative!
I encourage you to broaden your vision of teaching a work ethic, inviting your kids to get dirty with you, and growing your work ethic together. You can work together in the garden, do a project around the house, bake cookies, or organize a community service project.
Simply inviting them to join you in something that requires sustained effort to achieve a result grows their work ethic. It’s the practice of delaying gratification, showing up consistently, being resilient, and experiencing sacrifice!
2. Make Chores a Shared Responsibility
Chores are so important but getting our kids to do them can be exhausting! The teaching underlying getting our kids to do chores is just the idea that everyone’s gotta do their part. If you’re a part of this family, you help it to operate! We are a team.
If you’re not sure where to get started with your kids, you can Google age-appropriate chores and get tons of ideas. Even your really young kids – early toddlers can help. It’s so much easier to introduce a good habit with a preschooler than to break a bad habit with a tween. When teaching young children to work, you’ll find they typically need a lot of practice before they get it. Show them how to do a chore a few times and then work alongside them and help them do the chore.
And it’s not that it necessarily requires a ton of work, but we want them to build consistency, right? A work ethic isn’t about just doing the work. It’s doing it well, doing it with a good attitude, and doing it consistently.
If you want to try to be more consistent in getting your kids to do chores or start tracking who’s doing what, we created a really simple and practical chore chart for you all. Download it here:
The chart has space for your child’s name, the chores they’re responsible for, and then a way to check off and track the chores they’ve done throughout the week. You can print it out and tape it to your fridge or put it in a place where your children will see it. So go ahead and download it and give it a shot this week!
3. Model work ethic
And then finally, we want to model a good work ethic for our kids. And this is more than them just watching us leave the house from 9-5 or sitting behind a computer all Saturday.
We want them to see us problem-solving, doing things around the house, and consistently working on home projects or hobbies to completion – maybe even inviting them to join us!
Let them see our effort. Let them see us failing and trying again. Let them see us being resourceful.
And it’s also how we talk about work – is it an opportunity or something we’re constantly complaining about?
Our work ethic today is their work ethic tomorrow, so what are we modeling for them?
Finally, let’s not forget the ethic part. I alluded to it earlier, but all work and no play, no family time, no fun – is all work and no ethic! So yes, let’s let them see us hustling, but also see us putting it away to prioritize them.
How do you encourage a strong work ethic in your kiddos? Let us know in the comments below!