“Teaching Children to Work,” Ensign, June 2001, 68
Helping children develop good work habits while they are young is essential to their progression and happiness. The following are suggestions that may help this learning process.
Teach children the principles of work at a young age. By age three children can do simple household chores such as making their beds and picking up their toys. Often a notoriously mundane task, such as matching socks, can be a time of enjoyment for parents and young children. We call it a “laundry party,” and our little ones come and help fold and put away the clothes. Even our teens still help and join in the fun.
Teach children to understand the value of money and how it results from work. We paid our children a nominal allowance at an early age to help introduce the work-money relationship. By age eight they were shoveling neighbors’ walks or caring for pets of vacationing owners. As our children grew, they were ready for additional responsibilities inside and outside the home. As teens they now baby-sit and do yard work and other jobs. These skills, their forthcoming self-confidence, and a little financial incentive combined to make it easier for our children to learn more advanced jobs as they matured.
Teach children to pay tithing. The blessings of paying tithing can be recognized at an early age and can help develop faith.
Teach children to budget an income. Our philosophy has been to pay for our children’s basic needs and necessities. One thing that has worked well for us is allowing them to pay the difference when they have wanted a more costly name-brand item. They understand we have a limited budget, and they can earn and spend their money as they want, once tithing and savings are paid.
We have learned that making an effort to inspire good work habits in our children’s lives, while incorporating gospel principles, richly blesses the lives of our children and ourselves.—Alison Affeltranger, Sego Lily Ward, Sandy Utah Granite South Stake