Ministry of Education, Guyana

How to Teach Children Work Ethic

Children are unmatched in their enthusiasm for life. Ask your child to wash the floor and he'll happily set to work. A few minutes later, however, he's nowhere to be found. Teaching your kids to take pride and responsibility in their work will take time. Give your child plenty of opportunities to engage in meaningful tasks and praise him for a job well done.

Teach your child the language of perseverance. An individual with a strong work ethic will stick to a task until it is completed. Ask your child what such an individual might say to keep going. Phrases such as, "I can do this!" or "Just keep going!" are some examples. Write words of perseverance on card stock in brightly colored letters and post the signs around the house.

Assign chores. Even kids as young as three or four can contribute to the running of the household. Don't over-burden your child, but make him feel valuable. Make a list of helpful jobs not busy work and ask your child to complete several each day.

Praise effort not perfection. Anytime you see your child working hard on a household chore or homework, praise his diligence. For example, the kitchen may not be swept as neatly as you might wish or your child may consistently bring home B's instead of A's, but his perseverance is what matters.

Discuss the value of work. Your kids already know that the work you do brings home money. Talk about other fruits of hard work such as invention, beauty and service to others. Help your child understand the meaning of his household chores. For example, explain that even if washing dishes or folding clothes is boring, it brings joy to other members of the family and keeps the household running smoothly.

Model a strong work ethic yourself. Let your children "catch" you struggling but persevering through a difficult task. For example, if you are not particularly handy, repair something around the house and let your kids watch you work until you achieve your goal.


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