A few years ago, I had someone tell me that the biggest challenge that kids face today is learning how to work. I have thought a lot about that conversation and it has played a huge role in my own role as a father of 6 kids. I always knew it was important for kids to learn to work, but until that conversation, I hadn’t been making it a priority to activity teach my kids the value of hard work in their everyday lives.
Over the last several years, I have had the opportunity to work with many amazing young people with a lot of potential. I was caught off guard one day when I asked about after school jobs and was told that none of the teenagers I was working with had ever held a job. Their schedule was filled with activities and clubs, but it left no time to hold down a job.
As a teenager, my after school job taught me more about responsibility and the value of work than any clubs or activities I participated in. I value that time I had to learn how to work and learn how to be responsible and I want the same opportunities for my own kids.
I believe that it is parents responsibility to teach kids how to work and, as a father, I make it a priority to make sure that I’m doing all that I can to teach my kids the importance of doing their best work and understanding the importance of work in their everyday lives.
Here are a few ways I try to teach my kids how to work:
Be an example. This is probably the most important way that kids learn. They watch you and become you. They will do what you do. If they do not see you work, they will never make work a priority. I make an effort to work along side my kids whenever possible and I let them see me working whenever possible so they know it is something I value.
Provide solid directions. I have often heard from my kids, when asked to work, that they do not know what to do. My reaction is that this is a weak excuse for them to not get the job done.
I have been amazed that often if they are given a little direction, they will take off and not only will they finish the task but they will exceed my expectations. Be patient with your kids, especially the younger ones. If they ask for direction, give them as many details as you can and make sure to speak to their level. I still remember a powerful lesson years ago when I got mad at my child for not doing what I had directed them to do. I had asked my son repeatedly to not wrinkle his dress shirt while wearing it, but without fail, within minutes of putting it on it would be wrinkled again. Finally, after weeks of this (and frustration building on my part), my little son came up to me and said, “but Daddy? What are wrinkles?”.
I had been giving him instructions the entire time without him really understanding what I was asking of him. That was a great lesson for me in that I need to make sure I am clearly communicating what I expect of my kids.
Provide opportunities to work. I see many kids who grow up in homes where they are simply not given opportunities to work. This may be a situation where mom simply does everything for them or parents like things done a certain way and get frustrated when kids don’t do the job correctly. I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of this at one point or another — I know I have. Be sure your kids have opportunities to work. Have tasks that are assigned to them and resist the urge to re-do the work they do.
Create incentives. Call it bribery. Call it a reward. Whatever you call it, it works. How many adults would go to work each day if they were not promised a paycheck? Many need that incentive to motivate them. Why should we expect our children to do what we wouldn’t do ourselves?
Now I am not saying that this always has to be cash or that kids need to be rewarded for every little thing but it can certainly help “prime the pump” and get things going.
Recently, I had a conversation with my kids where we discussed them paying for a lot more things such as their own clothes and cell phones. The thought of this literally brought one of my kids to tears until he realized that we were going to provide ways for him to earn the money and would even guide him to opportunities to earn outside our home. Now he is completely driven and can’t wait to pay for Christmas presents for his siblings with his own money.
Make it Fun. Work doesn’t have to be boring. Any job can be enjoyable with the right attitude. Teach your kids to enjoy the work they do, either by finding things they enjoy to work at or by adjusting their attitude to help them find joy in any task.
Allow them to Fail. When we work hard at something, sometimes we fail. It’s a sad fact of life. This is an important lesson to learn too. Sometimes we fail in life. Teaching kids to learn to deal with failure and move past it is important too and helps them not to be afraid to reach for big goals.
Talk while you work. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with my kids are while working with them on a project. Talking while you work together is a great way to get them to open up about the things that are important to them and the things that are going on in their lives. Get the conversation started and it will quickly become a habit while you work.
We always make sure and have a nice treat after working hard. Lately, we have been loving the great varieties from CAPRI SUN. CAPRI SUN continues to innovate and listen to consumers, and knows that parents want to feel good about what they give their kids to eat and drink. I love that they have four new CAPRI SUN drinks with all natural ingredients and no added sugar* with no high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. My kids love that they are delicious.
They come in 4 great new varieties:
- NEW CAPRI SUN Fruit Refreshers: A convenient beverage made with a simple combination of all-natural fruit juice and filtered water that has an awesome taste kids love without the sugar that mom doesn’t want. Fruit Refreshers also have 50% less sugar than the average leading fruit juices**
- CAPRI SUN Organic: Certified USDA Organic fruit drink blend aimed at helping parents strike the right balance between what their kids want to drink and what parents feel good about serving.
- CAPRI SUN 100% Juice: Served in the classic CAPRI SUN pouch, 100% Juice is a refreshing juice drink offering ¾ cup of fruit juice per pouch.
- CAPRI SUN Fruit & Veggie Blends: Previously known as Super V, CAPRI SUN Fruit & Veggie Blends is packed with yummy fruit and veggie juices, giving kids delicious fruit juice with ½ cup of fruit and veggie juice per pouch.
My kids love them all and are always happy to grab a pouch after working hard.
Learn more about by going here.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
*Not a low-calorie beverage
**Per 6oz, this product has 10g of sugar, leading average fruit juice has 20g of sugar