Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It's Off to Work We Go!

Jason and I have always said to our kids, "Humrichous kids are hard workers". We have also taught them that after we work is when we play. They often hear us say, "if you don't work, you don't eat". Lastly, during the remodel of our house, we continued to tell the kids that last year was the year to work (and we sure did) and this was our year to play (and oh, boy are we!!!). This summer I am convinced more than ever that teaching our children to work is HUGE in our parenting. In a culture that has so many conveniences, I am reminded at how we have to look for opportunities to teach our kids to complete "tasks". I am amazed at how many parents do so much work while children watch countless hours of television or play video games. have I done this? First, from a small age, I have taught our children to throw their own diaper away or to get trash bags out to put in the trash can. They learn early and I love their faces when they feel a sense of accomplishment. Second, we are very measurable in our "work time". The older children (7,5 and 4 years old) work with me in the morning primarily. I tell them how long we will work, what their jobs will be, and what we will do when we are done. This really helps them see the "light at the end". Lastly, an invaluable resource that has helped me find age appropriate jobs is this great book. It is called What Every Child Should Know Along the Way by Gail Martin. It is available at You might check it out. It also contains some great information on manners, character and other teaching tools.

We have a friend that visits our home in the morning. Often she asks to take a couple of our kids home with her. In the hour she is here, Benjamin has vacuumed the floors, Lynnea emptied the dishwasher and baskets of their own laundry are on their way up the stairs. Our home can stay neat (most of the time) and our kids take ownership as well!


Detroit said...

I love all of your ideas and will certainly be hitting you up for advice some day! Love Tiff

jillybean said...

I love this concept/principle and Greg and I have started with the diaper thing and picking up toys. I really need to get that book though...soon.

Also, could you come to my house um, tomorrow maybe? Lauren is being really fussy and whiny and I'm about to lose my mind. If you could just come and be the "nanny", I'm sure you could straighten her out. :) I try to keep replaying different things we've talked about to figure out an answer, but there just isn't always one right answer for everything - especially when the fussing is happening out in public or when you aren't in your own normal surroundings. ugh...parenting is hard work! :)

Gretchen said...

Great post. You are doing so well to teach them to embrace work, and to enjoy working hard together. My dad was great at that, and I really appreciate it now.

That book recommendation sounds terrific! I'll have to check it out someday -- maybe when 8 is enough for me. :)