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Teaching Kids To Work

This tip will not work for those of you that do not have kids, but for those that do have kids I have an important tip for you. Train your kids to work.

One of the most important things my parents taught me was to work. They instilled in me a work ethic that I will forever be grateful for.

They allowed my sisters and me to be kids. We played, we had friends, we had fun, but we learned that work is part of life and that even children had to participate in the work it took to run a home.

We worked in the garden and helped clean the house. We picked strawberries and mushrooms. We set the table and did dishes. We helped with the meals, and we helped my mom can fruits and vegetables in the summer. My dad even taught all four of his girls to chop wood.

Not only were my parents teaching us valuable skills that we would use for life, they taught us what it meant to be part of a family. They taught us that each member of the family was expected to help.

I am hoping to pass these values to my children.

I have been asked how I do all that I do, and my answer is I don’t. All too often things don’t get done, but more often than not, my kids are helping me get it done.

They have daily and weekly chores. They take turns setting the table, washing and drying dishes, and cleaning up the kitchen. My girls clean the bathrooms, and help with laundry.

Yes, we let them be kids, and they have plenty of time to be kids. But, we are trying to train them that it takes a family to make a household work. They help make the messes, and they can help clean them up.

I will admit that when my kids were younger, this was a little harder than it is now. My kids are 8, 10, and 12. They can do a pretty good job on their chores, but a few years ago teaching them to work often created more work for me. In the process of trying to help, they sometimes made bigger messes. It took time for me to realize that the process of teaching them to do a job right would take a while.

I had the hardest time being patient enough to teach my girls to clean. Let’s face it, most 10 year olds do not clean like you or I would. My thought was that if I was going to have to redo it, then why have them do it at all. What I finally realized was that they were never going to learn if I kept thinking that way.

Yes, it took weeks to teach them, but it has paid off. Now my girls help clean the house and do a good job at it.

There is nothing wrong with delegating jobs. It is not only okay to have kids help. It is important to teach them to help.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you agree that part of managing your time and managing to get everything done in the kitchen and around the house is to teach your kids how to work?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I completely agree with you. I don’t have kids of my own, but I appreciate that my parents taught me a household does not run itself and we all need to pitch in. When kids do chores, they learn the value of cooperation, accountability, and the satisfaction of doing a job so others can enjoy a good living environment. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to transition to married life, with all its responsibilities, if you didn’t already know the value of hard work and doing something selflessly for the greater good of the family/household.

  2. Go you! I think you are doing a great job equipping your children for the real world. So many people nowadays are afraid of hard work. But, we do our children a disservice if they can’t take care of their homes.

    I remember reading in Sidetracked Home Executives about the Slob Sisters — love that book. Their mom had done everything for them and they were a wreck when they became adults.

  3. I don’t look at it so much as ‘learning to work’ but ‘learning that everyone has to share the load.’ I’m from a family of six kids and we all had responsibilities–not ‘chores’ that we were requested to do, but responsibilities that made our family function from day to day. Even though my DD is only 5, she understands that everyone has a role and responsibilities within the family. I am learning (slowly) to let her take on more tasks, it is a pleasure to see her confidence grow.

  4. I also think it is important for children to learn to work. I heard or read once(in my really early years of parenting) that if you let them help when they want to, it is easier when you need them to. I have tried to apply that and my children are much happier if I have something for them to do. They LOVE working with me on projects.
    Thanks for sharing, I am still in the middle of the more difficult years, but someday I will no longer have to do dishes:).

  5. My daughter who is 18 has thanked me more than once for teaching her a good work ethic. She has now graduated and has a job. When she is home she pitches in and helps without me ever asking. I know that when she gets married or moves out she will be ready to run a household.

  6. No kids here, but I can address what my parents did with me. I’m being honest here when I say that I wish my parents had forced me to help out around the house a little more when I was a kid. I was pretty spoiled growing up, and really didn’t have to do much at all around the house. As a result I really didn’t know how to clean, cook, sew, anything. Hubby and I have been learning together.

    To be fair, I understand that I was an annoying kid when it comes to cooking, cleaning, etc. and my parents didn’t exactly have a lot of time to spare to convince me that it was in my best interest (Dad was a preacher and Mom a doctor, both professions that take up incredible amounts of time). Still, I regret not learning more when I was a kid, and I regret not helping my parents more during those tough years when they were both working more than full-time with 3 young kids (I’m the oldest). I’d like to think that I learned from that, and that Hubby and I won’t make the same mistake with our own kids, but I suppose you never know until reality hits.

    • @Rebecca, Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate hearing your perspective. My point was exactly what you are saying. I am not talking about over working your kids, I wanted to show that by teaching kids to work it not only helps them learn the skills it helps the whole family.

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