Help your children build a work ethic.


  1. Give your children routine chores.
    Keep these chores age-appropriate. If your child is young, ask them to help stack a set of magazines or help you load the dishwasher. If your child is older, ask them to help you rake the leaves in the yard, clean the inside of the oven/microwave, etc.

  2. Push your children to find initiative.
    As your child grows older, stop telling them what to do. Instead, lead them to discover the tasks they need to complete on their own. For example, instead of telling your child to take out the trash, say, “I want to be sure that the trash doesn’t overflow next time. What can we do about that?”

  3. Model the behavior you want to see in your children.
    Don’t expect your child to work while you relax on the couch!

  4. Expect their help—don’t apologize or over-explain.
    Recognize that your children must pitch in with household duties. You have no reason to apologize to them for giving them reasonable chores. You can explain the rationale behind each chore, but be wary of over-explanations, as they give your child the impression that you are trying to justify an unreasonable chore.

  5. Give clear, straightforward instructions when it comes to new tasks.
    Tell them what to do, then step back and let them do it.

  6. Give appropriate thanks and feedback.
    Be wary of overpraising your child, but be sure to acknowledge their efforts.


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