How to teach your kids to have a work ethic

All Pro Dad

According to the magazine World, skipping work just got a lot easier. “Millions of Americans work dead-end jobs, and sometimes they just need a day off,” said John Liddell, who helped found Vision Matters, which sells notes as part of its Excused Absence Network. “People are going to lie anyway,” said Liddell, who’ll sell a fake jury summons, forged doctor notes, or a funeral program with your name listed among the pallbearers to dishonest employees.

We would count John’s ethical fallacies if we had time. How do we instruct our children to swim upstream against a slacker culture? Here are the 10 ways to teach your children a great work ethic.

1. Understand the fact that you always teach, regardless of intention.

The question isn’t “if” you are teaching but “what” you are teaching. It’s important to understand that home is a natural and continuous learning environment. Everything we do instructs our children. What are your children learning about work by observing you?

2. Example, example, example.

If parents own a positive work ethic, then we’re already halfway there. This is a great opportunity for “do as I do” to support “do as I say.”

3. Balance is job one.

A work ethic that sacrifices family turns out to be all work and no ethic. Every family has its own take on how much work is too much. But it’s essential that we teach our children balance in terms of work. In his book Quiet Strength, Coach Tony Dungy shares how he deliberately taught his coaching staff and players that family time was their priority. A work ethic that sacrifices family turns out to be all work and no ethic.

4. Keep family priorities in order.

The simple phrase “fun after the work is done” associates relaxation with completion rather than relaxation as escape. People experience more satisfaction in their leisure when it is preceded by a satisfactory job performance.

5. Work with your children whenever possible.

How is a guide different from a boss? A boss typically barks out orders and waits for results, whereas a guide is willing to walk alongside. As dads who have to teach our kids a work ethic, our role is that of guide.

6. Take your children with you when you volunteer.

Pick up garbage together on the side of the street. Join a team that fixes things at the park. Hook up with volunteer efforts at church or other community organizations. Work associated with service is a key building block to the value of work across the board.

7. Expose them to stories about heroes who learned the value of work.

There are hundreds of great stories to reinforce this point. Movies, books, articles. Read them together and then live them, day by day.

8. Make chores at home a shared responsibility.

Every member of the family should have assigned chores on a routine basis. Change them around; help each other out; take turns with the ones no one really enjoys. Don’t wimp out on the chores, and don’t let your kids wimp out, either.

9. Don’t pay kids for routine chores.

Compliment. Encourage. Throw in the occasional treat, “because you kids have been so responsible this week!” Admire their good work, but don’t pay them for fulfilling their responsibilities. However, do consider paying your children for jobs that go above and beyond their normal chores. It’s a wonderful way for them to learn the value of a buck.

10. Have a “chore chart” on the refrigerator.

And feel free to use this one.

Sound off: How do you teach your kids to have a good work ethic?

Huddle Up Question

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how hard of a worker do you think you are? Why?”

Teaching a strong work ethic to your child starts with instilling a sense of responsibility. You can help your child take pride in their work and enjoy a job well done with our six tips.

Children, even as young as three or four can learn a positive work ethic. Doing chore such as feeding the pet, watering plants, or emptying the dishwasher are all great ways to start. Parents shouldn’t feel they are burdening kids or robbing them of playtime. Children want to contribute and do things that make them feel valuable. Chores plant the idea that service is expected in the family. If we don’t invite them to help, we miss an opportunity. They want to contribute.

Make Work Fun

If parents can tell or show kids how work contributes to the family’s well-being, children will be more positive about chores. Some parents make a to-do list of daily or weekly household jobs and post it on the refrigerator, offering kids tasks to choose from (putting tasks in a job jar and letting kids pull from the jar also works). Do what works, but don’t let the kids opt out. Giving kids a choice helps make work more tolerable, but adding incentives can sometimes make work actually fun. Contests—say, for Fastest Room-Cleaner or Best Vacuumer—get kids more involved, as do rewards. Going out to a favorite park or restaurant, renting a movie, or inviting friends for sleepovers are just a few ways that parents can reward hard work.

Let Them Learn from Failure

Don’t expect kids to always do their tasks well. What’s important is the effort. Resist the urge to step in and take over. If the child fails to water the plant, let it wilt or die. If teenagers have trouble on a job—or even get fired—because they fail to show up on time or do the job correctly, don’t make excuses for them. Let them learn that their actions or inactions have consequences. Talk about what happened and ask them what they can do to keep from repeating their mistake. Don’t rub it in, but don’t let them shrug off what happened either.

Talk About the “Why” of Work

As children get older, it’s important for parents to discuss the meaning and purpose of work. This is the time to make it clear that jobs are not done for drudgery’s sake but to create value, make products, or serve people or even a greater good. A young person needs to learn that there is a purpose to all of this—that doing a job well makes you a better person and enhances character and self-esteem. One way parents can start this discussion with their kids is by sharing their own work experiences—good and bad—and talking about the lessons they learned and how they were shaped by those experiences.

Teach Patience

In real life, work isn’t always fun—sometimes the boss isn’t fair, customers are rude, and hours at work seem to drag on. Expect teens to complain about their jobs. Let them vent—in fact, encourage it. After all, adults sometimes gripe about their jobs too. But where kids are concerned, parents should be ready to offer encouragement.

Model Good Work Ethics and Values

Kids learn good work habits when their parents walk the walk. That means showing kids that work is important and that it’s part of a balanced life. For example, the three children in the Judge family in Skaneateles, New York, have seen their parents make such choices—doing extra work to get ahead and choosing family over a job. Although Sheila and Joe are now a full-time working couple, Sheila left a job two years ago because it interfered with family life. Joe recently became a principal at a middle school after taking college night classes for nearly 10 years to earn a graduate degree and certification to become an administrator. “We want them to put work in perspective,” Sheila says. “It’s not about earning a lot of money and buying things. It’s about improving your life and doing something you like.”

Another important part of maintaining and sharing a good work ethic is taking responsibility for your health. Ensuring your children attends an annual physical examination is a great way to start teaching them about personal health and hygiene. Additionally, your child’s pediatrician or family doctor can help you answer any health-related questions your older child might have. At your tween’s or teen’s next check-up, discuss with your family practitioner a plan for heading off diabetes, heart disease, human papillomavirus (HPV), and other preventable health issues that can surface later in life.

Research has shown that establishing a strong work ethic early in childhood is a predictor of adult success. We all know someone who only does what they have to or nothing at all, far below of what they are capable. The reasons for that are varied, of course, but the best way to stave that off in adulthood is to establish understanding of work and character in childhood. Working hard may even be more important than intelligence.

But how can parents set their kids up for success as an adult? It’s not as difficult as it might seem, and it might actually benefit you as the parent as well.

Ten Tips to Help You Establish a Strong Work Ethic in Your Child

1. Be a model for them by demonstrating your own work ethic

The best way for kids to learn and to persuade better behavior, is to lead by example. If the kids see you working hard and keeping busy, they will think that is what’s normal. Remember the old saying, “actions speak louder than words.” Even if you don’t work outside the home, you can still model good work habits. Don’t ask anything of your kids that you wouldn’t do yourself.Everything you do is teaching, even when you’re not intending to. It’s important that you do your best to always model your own work ethic and principled behavior. Do the right thing when no one’s looking. Kids, as they say, are “little pitchers with ears.” They absorb everything you say and do. If you think they’re not paying attention, think again.

2. Talk about what your children want to be when they grow up

Of course, this may change a lot, depending on what is interesting to the child at any given time. Some kids decide they are going to be a firefighter at age three, and they never waiver. Others will change their career aspirations weekly. It doesn’t matter. Just start the the conversation, even if it’s something you don’t think the child might be capable of. Encouragement is what matters; urge your children to work hard to reach their dreams. Consult a kid-friendly guide like this one to help start some brainstorming.

3. Give your children age-appropriate chores to do

The earlier you start this habit the better, because work habits are firmly rooted by the third grade. No one is saying a toddler should be mowing the lawn, but there are plenty of things even small children can do: feed a pet, put dishes in the dishwasher, help fold towels, or help with grocery shopping, for example. The task should be attainable for their age and consistently enforced.

4. Offer “extra credit” jobs for a special reward

You can, of course, decide whether your children get a regular allowance in exchange for their normal chores or not. But if there’s a task that needs to be done that’s outside the normal regimen, or if there’s a special reward the child wants, it’s perfectly acceptable to offer up extra credit. Create a chore chart to keep track of regular and special chores. There’s even an app for that.

5. Encourage your children to start their own “business”

We all remember kids who had a lemonade stand, walked dogs or mowed lawns for extra cash. These are still a good idea, assuming that safety is not a concern and the child is old enough to understand the cause and effect of work.

6. Involve your child in volunteer work

Working for the sake of others, for the betterment of the community, instead of compensation, is a valuable tool for establishing a work ethic and understanding the importance of others. Many volunteer programs offer family programs where kids over a certain age can participate. Nursing homes, animal shelters, schools and faith organizations often have separate family volunteer options. But outside of an organized charity, donating old toys or books, or a task like picking up trash along a creek, establish the same value.

7. Make work fun

Kids love to help, and feel like they’re part of what’s going on. So often, adults occupy a world that is of great mystery to children, especially young children. Any opportunity to participate in that world is usually a thrill for them. Turn on the music, make it into a dance, create stories and characters to explain what you’re doing, establish a race to see who finishes first. Get them their own kid-sized gear, let them make their own choices and make a game of it. Most of all, have fun!

8. Praise constantly and boost their confidence

Make it a goal to make praise a 10:1 ration with encouraging improvement, and be specific in your praise. Kids won’t grasp the task as easily as you do, especially the first few times. Patience is key, and the world won’t end if they don’t do it just the way you would want. Avoid pointing out too many things wrong, or the child may get discouraged and want to quit. Younger kids, especially, will thrive with meaningful praise and small rewards. Just as you like to be noticed and appreciated by your boss or customers, so do your children.

9. Build character traits

Work ethic is built on strong character. Demonstrate for your children self-motivation, integrity, determination, consistency, confidence, persistence and judgment. Direct them positively when you see them working toward these, and explain what can be attained with character and hard work.

10. Teach failure

This is probably unexpected, but sometimes all the encouragement and work ethic in the world doesn’t pan out. Maybe your child studied hard every day for the school spelling bee, but still came in third. Or practiced how to insert a drill bit, but just couldn’t get it right. That’s okay. No one who has succeeded at anything will tell you that there wasn’t a measure of failure somewhere along the way. Let your kids know that it’s okay not to be perfect.

Want to Learn More?

Even if you’re past childhood, there are still plenty of ways you can develop soft skills as an adult. Check out the rest of our blog for more helpful tips, and our solutions page to learn more about our ‘Bring Your ‘A’ Game’ curriculum.

Research has shown that establishing a strong work ethic early in childhood is a predictor of adult success. We all know someone who only does what they have to or nothing at all, far below of what they are capable. The reasons for that are varied, of course, but the best way to stave that off in adulthood is to establish understanding of work and character in childhood. Working hard may even be more important than intelligence.

But how can parents set their kids up for success as an adult? It’s not as difficult as it might seem, and it might actually benefit you as the parent as well.

Ten Tips to Help You Establish a Strong Work Ethic in Your Child

1. Be a model for them by demonstrating your own work ethic

The best way for kids to learn and to persuade better behavior, is to lead by example. If the kids see you working hard and keeping busy, they will think that is what’s normal. Remember the old saying, “actions speak louder than words.” Even if you don’t work outside the home, you can still model good work habits. Don’t ask anything of your kids that you wouldn’t do yourself.Everything you do is teaching, even when you’re not intending to. It’s important that you do your best to always model your own work ethic and principled behavior. Do the right thing when no one’s looking. Kids, as they say, are “little pitchers with ears.” They absorb everything you say and do. If you think they’re not paying attention, think again.

2. Talk about what your children want to be when they grow up

Of course, this may change a lot, depending on what is interesting to the child at any given time. Some kids decide they are going to be a firefighter at age three, and they never waiver. Others will change their career aspirations weekly. It doesn’t matter. Just start the the conversation, even if it’s something you don’t think the child might be capable of. Encouragement is what matters; urge your children to work hard to reach their dreams. Consult a kid-friendly guide like this one to help start some brainstorming.

3. Give your children age-appropriate chores to do

The earlier you start this habit the better, because work habits are firmly rooted by the third grade. No one is saying a toddler should be mowing the lawn, but there are plenty of things even small children can do: feed a pet, put dishes in the dishwasher, help fold towels, or help with grocery shopping, for example. The task should be attainable for their age and consistently enforced.

4. Offer “extra credit” jobs for a special reward

You can, of course, decide whether your children get a regular allowance in exchange for their normal chores or not. But if there’s a task that needs to be done that’s outside the normal regimen, or if there’s a special reward the child wants, it’s perfectly acceptable to offer up extra credit. Create a chore chart to keep track of regular and special chores. There’s even an app for that.

5. Encourage your children to start their own “business”

We all remember kids who had a lemonade stand, walked dogs or mowed lawns for extra cash. These are still a good idea, assuming that safety is not a concern and the child is old enough to understand the cause and effect of work.

6. Involve your child in volunteer work

Working for the sake of others, for the betterment of the community, instead of compensation, is a valuable tool for establishing a work ethic and understanding the importance of others. Many volunteer programs offer family programs where kids over a certain age can participate. Nursing homes, animal shelters, schools and faith organizations often have separate family volunteer options. But outside of an organized charity, donating old toys or books, or a task like picking up trash along a creek, establish the same value.

7. Make work fun

Kids love to help, and feel like they’re part of what’s going on. So often, adults occupy a world that is of great mystery to children, especially young children. Any opportunity to participate in that world is usually a thrill for them. Turn on the music, make it into a dance, create stories and characters to explain what you’re doing, establish a race to see who finishes first. Get them their own kid-sized gear, let them make their own choices and make a game of it. Most of all, have fun!

8. Praise constantly and boost their confidence

Make it a goal to make praise a 10:1 ration with encouraging improvement, and be specific in your praise. Kids won’t grasp the task as easily as you do, especially the first few times. Patience is key, and the world won’t end if they don’t do it just the way you would want. Avoid pointing out too many things wrong, or the child may get discouraged and want to quit. Younger kids, especially, will thrive with meaningful praise and small rewards. Just as you like to be noticed and appreciated by your boss or customers, so do your children.

9. Build character traits

Work ethic is built on strong character. Demonstrate for your children self-motivation, integrity, determination, consistency, confidence, persistence and judgment. Direct them positively when you see them working toward these, and explain what can be attained with character and hard work.

10. Teach failure

This is probably unexpected, but sometimes all the encouragement and work ethic in the world doesn’t pan out. Maybe your child studied hard every day for the school spelling bee, but still came in third. Or practiced how to insert a drill bit, but just couldn’t get it right. That’s okay. No one who has succeeded at anything will tell you that there wasn’t a measure of failure somewhere along the way. Let your kids know that it’s okay not to be perfect.

Want to Learn More?

Even if you’re past childhood, there are still plenty of ways you can develop soft skills as an adult. Check out the rest of our blog for more helpful tips, and our solutions page to learn more about our ‘Bring Your ‘A’ Game’ curriculum.

What makes you get up and go to work and do your best each day? Is it the money? Is it the fear of getting fired? In other words, is it the reward/punishment system most managers rely on?

Probably not, says career analyst Daniel Pink, author of the book “Drive,” which delves into the science behind a strong work ethic.

“There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does,” Pink says in a TED talk on motivation . “The secret to high performance isn’t rewards and punishments, but that unseen intrinsic drive — the drive to do things for their own sake. The drive to do thing because they matter.”

It’s pretty much the opposite of what parents throughout the world have been teaching their children for decades: Do your chores, finish your homework, get good grades, work hard and we’ll reward you with an allowance. But can monetary rewards instill a strong work ethic in our children?

In a 2012 article , the Wall Street Journal tackled this very question and asked Jon Gallo, co-founder of the family-focused financial advisory firm Gallo Consulting, to explain his views on allowance and work ethic.

“We want to avoid raising entitled children,” Gallo said. “But we also want our children to develop a work ethic, which is a sense of accountability and a drive to succeed.”

Instead of paying a child a set allowance for doing their regular chores — the types of things that contribute to the family and help keep the household running smoothly — Gallo suggested that parents pay for extra chores.

According to Gallo’s theory, doing regular “family chores” that are not connected to an allowance is a better motivator because “their reward is an internal sense of accomplishment that helps them develop a work ethic.”

To help children learn how to save and spend money, Gallo recommends that parents pay for extra chores and let the child decide if he or she wants to earn money after their regular work is done.

“Extra chores help teach the children to appreciate hard work and to understand that earning money involves work,” Gallo told the Wall Street Journal .

Having a set of regular, unpaid household chores is one way to instill a strong work ethic in our children, but helping a young human learn the value of a hard day’s work is more complicated than this. If you can’t use money as a motivator — as parenting experts have been teaching us for decades — what other methods can you use to teach your child the value of a hard day’s work? Here are a few suggestions:

Show them the way

Children learn from the actions of the adults in their lives. If you shun hard work and consistently take the easy way out — perhaps you pay a housekeeper to come in once a week and deep-clean the kitchen and bathroom instead of cleaning them yourself — your children are going to do the same thing. “Our kids pick up our attitudes [about work] whether we say them or not,” says educator Marie Hartwell-Walker in her essay, Teaching a Work Ethic . “Consider whether you yourself need an attitude transplant before you start working on your kids.”

Give them difficult tasks

It’s easy to forget that our children are not babies anymore, especially when you spent years taking care of their most basic needs and praying to the gods and goddesses that they wouldn’t fall down a flight of stairs or choke on a pea while your back was turned. But the tendency to protect our children — to be a helicopter parent who swoops in at the slightest sign of frustration — is detrimental to your child’s development of a strong work ethic. In fact, research shows that challenging your children builds pride in their work and strengthens their motivation to work even harder.

A series of experiments on human motivation, conducted by Dan Ariely , a professor of behavioral economics at Duke University, and his colleagues, backed the theory that the promise of money has little to do with developing a strong work ethic. In fact, one of the many things to come out of this study was this: The more difficult a job is, the higher our levels of pride at the end of the day and, thus, the more motivated we are to be productive.

Ariely’s research into what motivates people at work uncovered other interesting information. For instance, people who get positive reinforcement during their workday — even something as simple as a smile and a nod — report increased performance. Also, people who felt ignored or unappreciated at work were more likely to want more money.

How can you implement these ideas at home? It’s pretty simple, really: Just acknowledge your child’s hard work and point out how helpful they’ve been. For example, if your son’s main chore is to feed and care for the pets, don’t take his work for granted. Acknowledge that the pets seem content and happy and thank him for his part in making the household run smoothly. Remember how good it feels when your boss or coworkers acknowledge your work and then spread that feeling in your own house. The result will be happier children (which means happier parents) and you can rest easy knowing that a few words of thanks are fortifying your child’s work ethic.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Equipping kids with a good work ethic early on will take them from ordinary to extraordinary, especially when they start looking for their first job. Beginning this process when they are young is the best way to instill this trait strongly within them – we want working hard and well to be like second nature for our kids. Today, with the help of Kronos (our sponsor), we are sharing 7 ways to teach a good work ethic while our kids are still young.

How to teach your kids to have a work ethic

7 Ways to Teach Kids Good Work Ethic

1. Give age appropriate chores. This is a great way to help kids start learning about responsibility, getting tasks done in a timely manner, and working hard. Remember to be patient in the beginning – initially, it can take more time to teach our kids to do the work, rather than just doing it ourselves! By making sure the chores are age appropriate, we can encourage independence and keep our ultimate goal in mind (rather than taking over!).

2. Have extra jobs that they can do for pay. In our house, chores are unpaid. They are done because our kids are an active part of the house and family. However, having extra jobs available to earn extra bucks starts to teach kids the value of money. We always say that chores get done first and then they can go to the work board and choose extra jobs for pay.

3. Model hard work for them. Leading by example is one of the strongest ways we can teach our kids. Actions speak louder than our words. If we expect our kids to make their beds first thing in the morning, let’s make sure ours is made too! Not doing this can create a confusing double standard and lead to resentment and bad attitudes.

4. Talk about what they want to be when they grow up. This can change a million and one times but it brings up good discussion on different types of work. Watch some Kronos videos together and let them see what different kinds of jobs look like and why those individuals choose those jobs. Take time to discuss how this relates to them and their dreams.

5. Boost their confidence. Notice and say something when they do work that is above and beyond. Be specific on the compliments. Occasionally, I like to reward my kids with something special, like an ice cream treat or cupcake, to let them know I’m noticing and really appreciate it. Younger kids especially do well with rewards and meaningful praise.

6. Work on character traits. Good character is the core to a good work ethic. Traits that tie in closely with their work ethic include:

  • Determination — when the going gets, hard we don’t give up.
  • Self-motivation — wanting to do work well because it reflects on me.
  • Confidence — this is a great article on 10 ways to raise confident children.

7. Remember to notice and celebrate today’s workforce with your kids. This helps them to see good examples and create positive role models for themselves.

Each month Kronos comes out with a new video in their American Worker Video Series. “1 in one hundred million” shares personal stories of people in the American workforce with all different jobs, telling their stories. Watch a short video on a firefighter, nurse, teacher, etc. Their latest one is about Justina Pratt, a Safe Start Swimming Instructor at the YMCA, Lake Nona, FL.

Her job is a cool one and her story pretty remarkable. She survived from a near drowning when she was 18 months old, and now at 35 is a kids swim instructor teaching safety. It shows how different things in our lives can shape what we decide to do in the future. The really cool part is that her job is making a difference, showing our kids that although the world is bigger than them, their hard work can still have a major impact. The life-saving stories she has received from the parents of children that were in her specialized program (Safe Start Program through the YMCA of central Florida) is pretty inspiring.

Our kids can start to visualize themselves doing a job like this one day, building off the example of this positive role model.

You can subscribe to Kronos free video series here. Follow the instructions and the subscription will be confirmed through an email.

If you’re looking for more safe swimming info for your infant, check out ISR, Infant Swimming Resource.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kronos.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to connect with our Realistic Mama crew on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and by subscribing to our free email newsletter!

P.S. Are you looking for extra side income? I make full-time income blogging part-time—check out this easy step-by-step tutorial on how start a blog (no tech knowledge required).

Download My Free Family Organizer

How to teach your kids to have a work ethic

Ready to de-stress + spend more time with your kids?

Life gets busy. I hear you. I’m here to show you how to CREATE more time for what matters most. Get a free family organizer as a thank you for joining our newsletter – includes monthly calendars, chore charts, meal planners and more.

Sharing is caring!

One of the most important things we can teach our children is to work hard and have good work ethic. You want your child to learn that you have to work hard to get the things they want, and not that they can just be handed things in life. That’s just how life works. You can teach your child from an early age to have a good work ethic. There are many ways to show and teach them that hard work is a good thing and that it pays off to work hard. Here are 5 ways to show them this principle.

How to teach your kids to have a work ethic

1. Give Them Chores

One of the best ways to teach kids about work ethic is to give them age appropriate chores. It’s important for children to learn the responsibility of having tasks and doing them. Keep it simple in the beginning – let them set the table for dinner, push in the chairs after dinner, etc, then let them slowly do harder chores as they get older and are more able to do them. This will teach them to do the work themselves instead of expecting you or others to do everything for them.

How to teach your kids to have a work ethic

2. Be A Good Example

You know the phrase that people learn most by example. Well, there’s a reason why people say this – because it’s true! If we except our kids to make their beds in the morning when we don’t even make our own bed, what will that teach them? It’s giving them a double standard that will confuse them. We need to show our kids that we work hard too and that we clean and take care of the house and our possessions so they will learn to do the same.

How to teach your kids to have a work ethic

3. Have Extra Jobs For Pay

Usually chores are done because it’s expected of kids, not because they’re being paid to do it. Your kids are part of the family and live in the same house as you. You don’t clean and cook for pay, so why should they? If they have finished all their chores and are interested in working more to earn an extra reward, have some extra jobs available where they’ll be paid. It will teach them the responsibility of earning money and using it wisely.

How to teach your kids to have a work ethic

4. Compliment And Reward Them

There’s no better feeling than knowing that someone is recognizing and appreciating your hard work. It encourages you to work harder. Kids want and needs this same recognition. You can simply say thank you when you see them doing something responsible like cleaning up their toys or putting away their clothes. For bigger jobs, you can treat them to something nice like ice cream or something else they really love.

How to teach your kids to have a work ethic

5. Talk About And Encourage Their Dreams

One of the worst things you can do to your child’s work ethic is to tell them they can’t do something. You should always encourage your child whether it’s telling them that they are the best dish washer there is or telling them that when they grow up they’ll be the best doctor there is. Encourage them to work for their dreams. Help them learn what they need to do to accomplish their dreams.

Today’s Post comes from our Ziglar Family CEO Mark Timm. 🙂

As a small business owner, I’ve done a lot of hiring over the years. In my experience, more and more young people seem to want a high-paying job right from the start, but they don’t have the work ethic required to achieve it. I hear a lot of talk about raising the minimum-wage level but not the minimum-work level.

As someone who truly values my staff, work ethic is one of the things I notice that makes any employee stand out. I can usually tell within the first few days if he or she has a good work ethic. I try to determine that in the interview process, but sometimes it is challenging based on what people say. It’s what people do, not what they say, that reveals their true work ethic.

I don’t define work ethic as what people do when they are around me. The true test of someone’s work ethic is what he or she does when no one is around. How well do you work when you think no one is watching? That’s what reveals your true work ethic because it reveals your true character.

Teaching Children the Value of Work Prepares Them to Live a Valuable Life

Why Work Ethic Matters for Children

Here are 4 tricks that we can do for our children to help them develop a diligent work ethic:

1. We give them a competitive advantage.

When so many of their peers expect to be rewarded simply for showing up at their jobs, our children’s work ethic will immediately separate them from the rest. Want to position your kids for career success? Teach them to work hard.

2. We provide them with the drive to succeed.

Succeeding in business — and life, for that matter — means always trying to improve. A healthy work ethic teaches them to seek opportunities to grow and change, even if no one else seems to care.

3. We encourage them to start something.

A healthy work ethic feeds the entrepreneurial spirit. It moves our children to get up off the couch and do something. If we don’t want our children living in our basement for decades, we should teach them the value of getting to work and making something happen.

4. We empower them to push past failure.

When our children see what can be done if they are willing to work hard, they begin to believe that what most call impossible may, in fact, be pretty doable. Teaching them to work gives them the determination to get back up and press forward when most people choose to quit.

How well you work when you think no one is watching reveals your true work ethic.

The Wisdom of Solomon says, “Those who work hard will prosper.” I’ve certainly found that to be true in business. Because we want our children to be ready to succeed in the real world, we’ve tried to be intentional about instilling a diligent work ethic in each of our kids.

Every business leader knows that you can prepare and plan all you want, but success often hinges on how willing you are to hustle when everyone else is taking it easy. Sometimes what you need to succeed — and what your children will need to succeed — seems to be in rare supply: a diligent work ethic.