Work Ethics in Children

Published 06 Mar 2017

Teaching a work ethic is very important. We have a lot of adults, who do not exhibit a strong sense of responsibility, which is the basis for a good working attitude. Expectations that are developmentally suitable give children the sense of achievement, which is the basis to build self-esteem. When we fail to provide opportunities for real work, we are depriving children of the opportunity to grow which is a very important aspect in ones life.

Kids (and even grownups) tend to manage responsibilities better when there is a schedule. When everyone knows what should be done before they leave the house in the morning, what happens at dinnertime, what has to be done before the end of the day on Saturday, it is all much more possible to happen. If, for example, you institutionalize the idea that beds are to be made before everybody goes out on their daily chores, you don’t have to talk about it anymore. It’s just a part of the pattern of the day. If everyone knows beforehand what his or her Saturday morning task is, you don’t have to go through a weekly squabble about who is going to do what.

Parents should remember not to make the mistake of relieving kids of all chores because they have homework, tennis, and dance practice. There will always be other things that seem to be more important to do than the housework. Teach the children how to balance their time, build in routines, and how to be contributing members of the family.

It will be better to know about the consequences before hand, perhaps at the same meeting where you have delegated who was going to do what. Ask the kids what they think would be a reasonable way to deal with people who doesn’t complete their share of work. Generally, when actually asked, children come up with far tougher consequences than the parents would. Bring them down to something practical and fair. If you find that the consequence you all have set doesn’t work, don’t get mad. Call another meeting, and make a review of how the family wants to handle the problem. Sharing work also means sharing the work of figuring out how the work best gets done.

When everyone willingly participates in household chores, the work gets done without overburdening any one member of the family, and has everyone feeling good about themselves.

For children and teens, school is their main job. Families have a great influence on how students feel about schoolwork, attendance and performance. Adults who take their work seriously by daily attendance, promptness, and follow-through on job responsibilities will find it easier to make an impression upon students the significance of their schoolwork. It’s never too early to create a positive outlook towards school and the work that comes with it.

Creating a Schoolwork Ethic:

Speak often to children about the importance of school. Impress upon them that it is a main concern and that, while fun and amusement are important, they must wait until school responsibilities are met. While no child should ever go to school ill, parents should set the expectation that children have to go to school every scheduled day unless they are truly ill or an emergency arises. Allowing students to skip school for a slight ailments, for routine appointments, or for shopping or other activities sends the message that school is not a job to be taken seriously. Enforcing a reasonable routine bedtime ensures that the children will be well rested for the next day’s “job.” Show interest in your child’s school experience. Parents should attend all school meetings, get to know the teachers, and frequently ask about school activities, friends and studies. Let the kids know that you care and that you expect them to do their best. If they are having any difficulties, offer to help them or to find others who can help. While there’s no guarantee that your children will see school as important just because you want them to, the chances that they will develop a positive schoolwork ethic are increased if your words and actions support school as a priority.

Inculcating work ethics in children:

Parents should strive hard to give children many varied opportunities to learn about their world. Parents can use conversation, speech, film, and books to communicate frequently and at length with children.
Design and implement an appropriate curriculum for the children, to help children learn all the time and everywhere.
Highlight and model the behavior you want children to exhibit. Teach values practically and show behaviors that are important to children.

Parents should take a look at their own attitudes about household tasks.
Make sure that adults and kids alike, does a fair share of work. Whenever possible, do chores together.
Chores should be made routine and regular.
Make consequences a lesson in reciprocity. When everyone at home helps, there will be time to do things that people want to do.
Parents should try hard to instill some essential work ethics in children, for example, Punctuality, teamwork, attitude, cooperation, character, appearance, productivity, proper communication, respect and other skills.

Employing these character qualities in your children throughout his childhood, improves the self-esteem of the child, and will help him in the long run. Rewarding children for telling the truth, setting high standards for schoolwork, demanding punctuality and correct attendance, and requiring them to follow through on commitments, make the children more aware of their responsibilities. Each moment you spend training your child in these qualities literally pays off in the future.

In a world that gets ahead through situational ethics, parents should help their child stand out by teaching them to live a hard-working life. Show the child that developing a reputation for honesty and reliability with employers as well as fellow employees is how to become a true success. ( ‘Teaching work ethics’,


  • ‘What if a Work ethic begins very early’, December 12, 2006, Exchange Everyday,
  • Marie Hartwell-Walker, December 12, 2006, ‘Teaching a work ethic’, Psych Central,
  • Betty Lou Barsley-Marra, ‘Parenting Again’,
  • September 2006, ‘Teaching work ethics’, Home School View.
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