Work: Getting Your Kids to Do It


One of the greatest opportunities parents have is to teach their children strong character traits as well as the skills necessary for success in life. Working at home gives children very positive experiences. While every child is different and will need individual attention, some of the following ideas should help you in getting your children to do work.


  • 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 throughout life. 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.

  • 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 overwhelmingly large or difficult can discourage a child from learning. Be aware of your children's abilities and what tasks are compatible with their development. 

Do organize your family’s work. 

Organization is a key to making work easier and habitual. There are several things you can do to organize your home and family work.

  • Keep cleaning supplies and work tools in specific places. 

  • Establish deadlines for when the work must be completed. 

  • Make lists of jobs for each family member. 

  • Be consistent: It is extremely important that your children understand what you expect of them and that they will not be able to change your mind. They will learn that arguing is futile if you are firm in your decision to have them work. An important part of this is that you have determined in your own mind what you want for your children. If you are unsure, your children will learn this very quickly and find ways to avoid doing their work. Soon you will find the family has established a routine.

  • Try encouraging with an incentive: Young children especially need incentives because they cannot see the immediate value of work. Use a wide variety of enjoyable rewards, such as going outside to play, inviting a friend over, or going out for ice cream. 

  • Make the work fun, and check your own attitude toward work: If you view work as a chore and express that view often, your children will quickly adopt a similar attitude. On the other hand, if work is looked at in a positive light and made fun, children will learn to view work positively.

  • Let your children know you appreciate their work: Be very positive about their efforts. Pay close attention to the extra things they do, especially when it is voluntary. Speak more positively than negatively about their work, even if you are frustrated. Help them feel good about their work and the finished products.