Work (Part 2): Three Things to Avoid When Teaching Kids Healthy Work Habits

 

Single ParentsSchool is out and Summer break begins! And so do the long days of kids sleeping in, staying out late, running around the house, lying around the house, doing nothing all day, or doing everything, right next to you, in your ear...all day long.

School is great for establishing routines for kids. Routines are great becomes they provide a predictable environment for kids. One where they understand what to do to become competent and confident. "Hey, I turned my homework in on time and completed, and the teacher complimented me! I feel confident, today." Where school is very structured, Summer vacation, often, is not. This break from the school routine is OK, but before you know it the kids will be board because "there's nothing to do!" And when there's nothing to do, kids turn to you.

So, how do you create routines during the Summer? Routines that are healthy for kids and good for your nerves? Work. Helping kids to work, work well and responsibly, can be a great tool. When kids work, not only does the yard look better and the house cleaner, (and your nerves less strained) but kids are preparing for success in the future. Being able to work, and view work in positive ways, is a very powerful tool toward future success in school, professions, and in relationships. Work has tremendous impact on perspective and how we respond to challenges.

"But it is more work trying to get my kids to do work!" Does this sound like you? If so, you may want to review number four in How to Get Kids to Do Chores. It is definitely worth a look. Attitude about work, both yours and your children's, goes a long way. Attitude, in fact, is one of the biggest differences in motivated people who work on a challenge, or work for something they want, compared to unmotivated people who shy away when effort is required.

It is true; teaching kids to work can be...work. But if you know what to do and what pitfalls to avoid, this process can be much easier and rewarding for everyone.

Following are three things to avoid when approaching your children about work. Combine this knowledge with the five things to do and start creating your work routines for the Summer. Your yard will look better, and the house won't have as many strange smells. But most importantly, you'll have peace of mind knowing what you are teaching your kids is a great tool for their success in the future. Because if you don't work with them when they are young, it could lead to a lot more work when they're older.

 

1. Don't use work as a punishment.

Your goal is to make work a learning experience for your children so they will gain positive abilities and characteristics. If work is always associated with punishment, it will take on a negative association. Work will become something to avoid, which will affect the child's perspective toward something necessary throughout life. This does not mean that you should not be strict about getting work done. You can have consequences for failure to complete a task, such as not letting your child go outside and play. But the job should never be used as a means of punishing bad behavior.


2. Don't expect more than children are able to do.

Children of all ages are able to complete certain levels of responsibility. However, making a job too overwhelmingly large or difficult can discourage a child from learning. You need to be aware of the abilities of your children and what tasks are compatible with their development. Be patient with them as you teach them how to do various tasks. Help them when they are young so they develop habits at older ages. Understand that it takes time, practice, and assistance to learn how to work. Make the work as easy as possible without giving up the requirements for a job well done.


3. Don't label your children as lazy.

If you tell your children they are lazy, chances are they will become so. Instead, try giving your children fun names that encourage industry and action, such as "Busy Beth" or "Quick Keith." They will learn to live up to your characterization of them.


What other routines have you found helpful during the summer?

 

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