Helping Children Develop a Good Work Ethic

I love the down time that accompanies the summer months. I take advantage of the summer slow down by engaging with my children more. The low-key days of summer give me more time to chat, listen, laugh, and cuddle. As I’m interacting with my children in this way, I am also able to teach valuable lessons to them.

This summer I’ve been teaching my children about the importance of work. I want my children to be dedicated, dependable, and capable workers who please God and thereby bless their families. Thus, helping children develop a good work ethic is important to me. A good work ethic is an essential part of a child’s growth and development because it helps develop good character and helps foster independence.

Are your children satisfied to sit back and watch others take on tasks? Do they moan and groan when asked to do work? Would you like your children to more joyfully complete work at home? If so, these four tips for helping children develop a good work ethic may assist you.

Tips to Help Children Develop a Good Work Ethic

Make sure your children see you working. Our children are always watching us, so it’s important that we set a good example. We should not attempt to take short cuts in our work. We should not attempt to pass tasks off to others just so we can move on to the next thing. We should not complete tasks sloppily in an attempt to be done. Such actions send our children the wrong message about work.

When children see their parents working, they are reminded that work is an important and necessary part of life. In addition, children better understand just how much it takes to keep a household running smoothly. Children who see their parents working fully recognize that laundry doesn’t fold itself, dinner doesn’t just appear on the table, and the lawn isn’t self-cutting!

Work alongside your children when possible. When you do so, you accomplish three things. First, you’re able to show your children exactly how a task ought to be done. Next, you’re able to provide direction or correct your children’s mistakes immediately and in a way that is not critical. Finally, you are able to spend quality time with your children as you work together. Find group tasks whenever possible.

I find the kitchen is a great place for daily group tasks because there’s lots of work to be done there. You can wash the dishes while another child dries them. Another child can be putting dried dishes away as another child wipes down the kitchen countertops. Tasks are accomplished more quickly when done together.

Don’t complain about working. Though very few people enjoy work, it is a part of God’s plan for our lives. We should not complain about the work we have to do because accomplishing the work makes our lives easier to live. In fact, even before the fall, Adam and Eve were expected to work in the Garden of Eden!

If parents complain about work, children will soon see work as drudgery. As a result, children will complain about the tasks you’ve asked them to complete. When you complain about work, it teaches children that work is something to be despised. Children can quickly adopt an anti-work attitude that is extremely hard to change.

Make sure you’ve assigned age appropriate tasks. It’s hard to get children to work when they’re frustrated. Your child will not complete the work you’ve assigned if the task is outside of her ability level. As you assign tasks and chores to your children, consider their age, weight, height, and level of strength. Work can be more easily accomplished when children are physically equipped to complete the tasks assigned.

Hold children accountable for the work they do. After you assign a task, let your child know you will return to inspect his work. Following up on tasks lets your child know the work they’re doing is important and lets him know you care about how the job is done. Inspection of a child’s task also allows you to give corrective tips if necessary. If you fail to hold children accountable for their work, they may get lax about completing tasks or fail to complete tasks at all. Work is important and so a good work ethic is important too.

Helping children develop a good work ethic is crucial to a child’s success at home and abroad. If you take the time to help your child develop a good work ethic now, they’ll be better equipped to find success later on in other areas of life.

How do you help your children develop a good work ethic?

Copyright © Andrea Thorpe, Moms of Faith®, All Rights Reserved

Helping Children Develop a Good Work Ethic


  1. Jennifer Stephens on July 11, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks for writing this. My husband and I both work in the technology industry and we are so busy at times that when we have time with the kids, I hate to work around the house. I just want to play with them! Although fun, this can lead to an imbalance between keeping up our home and playing with the kids. I’d like to find ways to have fun with the kids, make keeping up the house playful and a group effort, and let them see us working. I think it’s hard to show kids hard work when our work involves staring at a computer screen. They think anytime a computer is being used that it’s for work when there are many other uses for it. Doing visible work like sweeping up the kitchen, washing dishes, picking up toys are the kinds of work that my kids can see and we can use to model this work ethic when they can’t see or understand what we’re doing online.

    • Andrea on July 12, 2014 at 11:08 am

      Jennifer, I’m so glad you were encouraged by the post! As you’ve hinted, balance is the key and the real challenge for me is striking the proper balance. Your point about computer work verses computer play is an interesting one. Some children will assume that anytime an adult is on the computer it’s for play. I suppose that’s because that’s what they’re doing when on the computer. When I’m using the computer to blog or pay bills, I sometimes show my children what I’m doing. Once they see that I’m not doing something fun, they better understand.

      In spite of your computer concern, it certainly seems like you’re still modeling a good work ethic as you’re including your children in the work and striving to make it fun. Way to go Mom! Your family is blessed to have you:)

  2. Shannon on July 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    These are all great tips! Thank you for posting this great article.

  3. Andrea on July 13, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    You’re welcome Shannon! I’m glad you found the tips useful. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. May God bless you and your family!

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