Teaching Kids the Value of Hard Work


Here’s a quick run down if you don’t want to read the details since I tend to be wordy sometimes:)

  1. Give your kids tasks that take awhile to complete.  Decide what is appropriate for their age but give them jobs to do that take time and aren’t easy to complete (I give some suggestions in the post); this helps them to learn that some things are hard and they have to stick with it for a good chunk of time to get it completed. It also gives them a sense of accomplishment when they are done and helps them realize they can do hard things.  This will help them in so many aspects of their life.
  2. If its helpful, use a job chart (I included some links here, here and here, or you can make your own).
  3. Keeping kids busy while doing productive things (working) really helps encourage good behavior.  This is totally in my opinion (I am not an expert), but I see it happen with all my kids so there must be at least some truth to it.
  4. Give them verbal praise and acknowledge their work; this means so much to kids when what they accomplish meets their parents approval.  Positive praise means so much to kids too.
  5. Reward your kids after a period of time if they do a good job completing the tasks (this helps keep them motivated).
  6. When you can, work alongside your kids.  This means so much to them and teaches them you are willing to do hard things too. It sets a great example to them and you are their role model.
  7. Giving your kids jobs to complete within a family gives them a sense of belonging and purpose to why they are working hard.
  8. Play hard with your kids too (I’ll post more about this another day) but it is so important to play hard with your kids too.

It was spring break a couple of weeks ago at our house and because of the new construction of our home, our getting chickens soon, planting a large garden and with our small farm there was so much work to be done so we decided to stay here and get some work done. A big reason we moved out here was to teach our kids the value of hard work which is so important to both my husband and I. I feel like if they learn to work really hard they come to find something in themselves that gives them the confidence and knowledge that they can accomplish really hard things and that anything is possible if they are willing to work hard for it. I think it also helps foster an understanding that sometimes there are trials and situations in life that are difficult and maybe even really hard to endure. Knowing they have done hard things before will, I hope, help them get through some of the hard things in life so they can find joy. There are so many lessons to be learned from true hard work. I am so grateful to my parents for teaching me how to work really hard; it has stayed with me all my life and has given me the confidence that I can do just about anything if I am willing to work for it. Hopefully my kids will be grateful for this knowledge too someday. When our daughter Kayelee was in the hospital a few years ago, I went through some of the most difficult trials and hard moments I have ever endured. I was so grateful at that point in my life for my strong faith, my family, and my knowledge and confidence that I could go through hard things. It really helped me on those especially hard days when she was very sick and there was no sign of things looking up. We made it through and I was reminded that I can endure really hard things. I know learning the value of hard work at a young age really helped me through this and because it has helped me in so many other aspects of my life it is very important for me to teach it to my children.

One other thing I feel like work does, is it helps with behavior.  There isn’t a lot of time to get in trouble when you are working hard plus it pulls the selfishness away
from kids because they are focusing on accomplishing something. If they are working with other siblings there is a teamwork approach while they work together which I think is important as well. Physical work is the best because their hands and feet are engaged making it more difficult to mess around – although I am sure they still will:).

Even if you live right in the city or a subdivision or a very small place there are still opportunities to teach kids to work hard – we recently moved from a subdivision and our lot was no bigger than a postage stamp and we found ways to give them a lot of jobs to accomplish:). I think it’s important to give kids tasks that they can’t complete in 20 minutes.  Have them fold a few loads of laundry and put it away, dishes, washing walls, you can plant a garden in small pots and have them be responsible for watering and care; it is so rewarding seeing things grow. If they are old enough they can be in charge of vacuuming or bathrooms; these are just a few suggestions. Think outside of the box and create work opportunities for them.  You know your situation and kids best, (getting them busy and having them stay busy will take some time and effort on your part). There are lots of ways to accomplish teaching kids how to work hard work. I would love to hear any of your suggestions as well. When we lived in our old house I had a job chart; the tasks were: laundry, kitchen, cooking, living room, family room, bathrooms and vacuuming (see chart at the top of the post). They were all jobs that took a little more time than just a few minutes. If you are a chart person I suggest something like this where the jobs take a little more time to accomplish (age is obviously a huge factor, so gauge the task according to their age but don’t be afraid to make them do something hard or have them do jobs or chores that will stretch them a little bit). Kids love rewards too so if you want to have a chart and reward them after a week or a month of completing their jobs I think this is a great way to motivate them and keep them excited about it (plus I am all about rewarding them for a job well done). Positive words and comments after they complete a job is so important as well; when they know they have pleased you it says so much to them.  Your satisfaction is something your kids value so much. I actually looked up a few links to job charts that actually look like pretty good ones if you want something like that to help you get you started (I don’t think you have to use a job chart, it’s just a suggestion – do what works best for your kids). I like that on this one it just has the days of the week and then you get to fill in the jobs and choose what you want the jobs to be. I also liked this Melissa and Doug one, but the jobs are picked for you; they have a lot to choose from though and you can choose which ones you want to use which I like; this one does seem a bit more for younger kids but I liked the concept. I also like this one, it’s cheap and the kids can keep a checklist as they go, but again the jobs are picked for you and some jobs may not work for your family but you could cross those out and there is space at the bottom to add jobs and I like that. I have never tried any of these charts. I just looked them up for you so you could have some options if you want to use a job chart and don’t want to make/use your own. The one we used at our old house was the one on the top of this post. We probably won’t use this anymore because we have so many outside jobs we need to add to it so our needs have changed. Right now we have our routine of daily jobs for our kids.  On Saturday they have bigger jobs to complete and then they often work outside on large outside tasks on Saturdays as well. During the summer I will probably come up with a chart that fits our family, my kids like following a chart.

When you can work alongside your kids this means so much to them and teaches them you are willing to do hard things too. It sets a great example to them and you are their role model, (even though you work all the time they see if firsthand when you work alongside them).

Also give your kids jobs to complete within a family; this gives them a sense of belonging and purpose to why they are working hard.

I am totally here to cheer you on (because I need a lot of cheering when my kids are whining at me).  You are the parent so you decide what works best for you and your child/children. I just know teaching kids how to work hard is a value that they will be grateful for, for the rest of their lives and it is a very big favorite of mine.

Here’s a picture of one of the tasks the kids did over spring break.

kids stacking wood

A tree had fallen on our farm and my husband couldn’t water until it was all cleared off so he took a chainsaw and cut up the tree.  My kids gathered all the logs, loaded them on our trailer and then we hauled them over to our house where they unloaded them. This took a good chunk of time for three days in a row (it was a big tree). When it was finished my kids were so proud of themselves. Take time to admire their work too, it’s a huge confidence booster for them.

*I also believe in playing hard with your kids too.  Play with your kids, it is so important, but that is another post for another day – I just didn’t want to make it sound like all we do is work around here:).  We play hard together as a family and that is also one of my very favorite things that I will post about at a different time.