I want my kids to grow up to be like oxen. No not in the sense that they are ugly, hairy and big! One goal I have for them is that they grow up to be hard workers like oxen. That they will see any obstacle and know that with hard work they can accomplish it. I want them to be adults that persevere and get things done regardless of how hard it might be.
Parents if you want to raise hard-workers you have to start when they are young. This means that early on you encourage them to be contributors to the family. As parents it is easy to spoil them by doing even the simple tasks for them. Whenever there is a task that can be broken down into easier little tasks then do it and allow your little ones to help. I would also encourage you to hold off a while to give your kids an allowance. Simply teach them that the reason they help is because they are a part of the family.
Remember when you let them get involved it is normal to feel a little stressed or for things to be a little more messy but remember that eventually they will get better. The pay off is totally worth it.
Here are ten ways to encourage your kids to be hard workers from the time they can walk.
1. Let them carry their own diaper bag. I know it may be big and it may drag on the ground but let them help out. Let them carry it. They are tougher than you might think.
2. Buy tools that are sized for kids and then encourage them to help you. If you live more north then a great purchase for your kids is a kid size rake for the fall or shovel for the winter. The funny thing is they will always want to use the big one.
3. Volunteer and take your kids with you. Get involved in a non-profit or church and when you volunteer to help take your kids along with you.
4. When they are younger let them put their clean clothes away. Realize this may make for messy drawers in their rooms but is it more important to have clean drawers or to have your kids involved.
5. When you clean their rooms or the play room have them help. Honestly your kids when they are younger would be totally overwhelmed to clean their room or play room by themselves but when you have them involved it teaches them. As they grow older they will eventually be able to do it all.
6. Let your kids carry in the groceries. This may require you to re-bag some groceries so that they can actually carry the bag. Seriously though why can’t your two year old carry in a box of cereal.
7. Let your kids help you empty the dishwasher. Our kids from a young age wanted to help do this. At first I would tell them no that something might get broken but then I realized that they could do some things. I also just let them move them from the dishwasher to the counter and this satisfied them and let them get involved.
8. When your fixing things in the house let them help. Sure they can’t do some things but let them be there. Do things in a way that makes them feel like they are involved. If your fixing the sink don’t get tools yourself ask them to get the tools for you.
9. Let them help you pack their lunches. They don’t have to do it all but let them do parts. Have them get things out of the cabinets or refrigerator for you.
10. Purchase a little hand broom and dust pan and let them help with spills. Cleaning floors is something that happens all the time so why not let them help. Not to mention they probably make most of the mess.
If you want want your kids to grow up to be like oxen you must continually be teaching them to be a contributing member of the family.
My wife and I are by no means perfect parents but each of our kids are growing into hard workers. The other day when it snowed they came home from school and are kids (ages 2, 5, 8 and 9) went out on their own and shoveled two of our neighbors driveways. As I wrote this post tonight my nine year old came down to inform me that she had cleaned her sister and brother’s rooms. I’m sitting here thankful and amazed.
The secret is that they have always been involved and we have expected them to pitch in!
Your Turn: What things do you do to help your kids grow up to be hard workers?