Applied Theology
by WordExplain

A Potpourri of Biblical and Practical Perspectives
on a Variety of Topics . . .

For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.
 2 Thessalonians 3:10

Parenting Q&A
Teaching Children to Work

by Christa Bartsch

November, 2007

Q:  What is a good age to start teaching children to do work around the house?  What rewards, if any, are appropriate?

A:    We believe that you start teaching children to work as soon as they can follow instructions!  When they are toddlers they can bring you their shoes or coat or help you put the blocks in the toy box.  As they get a bit older, they can bring you diapers for baby sister/brother, take their sippy cup to the counter, put their shoes away.  All of these things are considered “training” in these younger years.   As they approach 5 years old or so, you can make up a simple chore list for them consisting of making their bed,  putting their clothes away,  helping feed the family pet, putting the trash from small trash cans into the bigger trash can.  At around 8 years of age, they’re capable of doing a great many tasks.  They can take clean laundry piles to each person’s room, set or clear the table, get the mail, take out the trash, make lemonade for supper, make ice for the drinks, clean their room, sweep the sidewalk,  possibly mow the yard .  All of these various chores teach them that all of us in the family have to contribute and share the load to make a home function properly.   All children at appropriate ages are working around the home both to help out and to learn responsibility.   It’s important that they learn how to do all these tasks as they get older and, whether they admit it or not, it gives them a sense of pride knowing what they’re capable of.   

As for the rewards, allowances are often given to children.  You and your spouse will need to decide what you feel is appropriate for your family because you’ll find that each family does allowances differently, if at all.  Some give allowances for doing chores.  We give our children a very modest allowance as a way to teach them the use of money, not as a reward for chores.  We want them to understand that working around the house is just part of being a member of a family unit.   Whatever you decide, I do not recommend using treats, candy or rewards to “bribe” children to do anything.  They ought to learn to obey you for the sake of learning obedience, not for the treat or reward that they think they have coming to them.   So be encouraged and be bold in assigning tasks knowing you are training the next generation and molding in them a work ethic they will carry all through their lives!

by Christa Bartsch

November, 2007

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About the Author:  Christa Bartsch is a stay-at-home mom who lives in the Midwest.  She has led seminar workshops for women on marriage and parenting.  She has been happily married for twenty years and is the mother of five children.  

WordExplain by James T. Bartsch

(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.  Used by Permission.)

Updated March 30, 2014

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