Question: How do I teach my children to work? Your children always seem busy and yet happy. My children complain and fight every time we have a job for them to do and the more critical it is for that job to get done the more fighting they do. Any suggestions?
Answer: First of all, please know that my children are human too. They have their moments when they work begrudgingly, argue and slack off. It seems like I do get asked this question quite often. Maybe we make work look fun, I don’t know. :-)
Stress can make anyone more irritable and that might be why you see more complaining or arguing when you have a deadline for a project. We teach our children that it is in those moments that we need to come together as a team the most! We talk about being on a team and helping one another in such a way that we consider others before ourselves. Children are not allowed to not help someone they know needs help just because their job is done or it’s not their responsibility. We also spend a great deal of time working along side them. We don’t just have the children working and then us, as parents, off doing what we want. We help them clean their room, feed the animals, mow the yard or whatever it is they are doing. We sing, share stories and listen to the radio or story tapes as we work.
Also, we look at the heart not necessarily the results. There are times when I have asked a child to wash windows and they have done the best job a person their age can. I cheer for them and thank them for their work even though I will have to go back and fix it once they are asleep. Next time, I will remember that they may be too little for that job or they need me to give them a few more hands on lessons.
Another thing to keep in mind is that sometimes we, as moms, have “off” days. Days when we just don’t feel like doing anything, days when we just aren’t in our normal grove. I try to remember that my children can have “off” days too. We talk about reasons why they may not feel 100%. Perhaps they’ve been going all week long and need some extra rest or maybe they have a lot on their plate. Kids get overwhelmed too! I try to remember that as their momma and lovingly help them in those times.
Bottom line is that I have found my children work well because we are working right along with them. We treat them as we want to be treated and patiently train them to do the best they can.
Keep creating fun ways for your children to work as part of the family. Everyone will be better for it! I believe children are happy to have an important job in the home that everyone appreciates them doing! Pray about it… I know God will lead you perfectly!
With much love,
Mrs. Joseph Wood