Developing Your Child’s Work Ethic


As parents, you pass on a lot to your children. One of the most important things that you can pass on to them is your work ethic. It is not enough to tell them to work hard or hope that it comes naturally. It is your responsibility to ensure that your child develops their own strong work ethic.

The University of Michigan published a study in 2013 that shows a strong correlation between a parent’s work ethic and their child’s. You might think that you have time to foster their developing work ethic later, but it is important to remember that they are learning from you right now.


What is even more important is the sense of urgency to develop that work ethic in your child. As Generation Z is increasingly entering the work force, jobs and careers are becoming more competitive. To make things worse, the type of jobs available are changing due to the increasingly frequent changes in technology.


It is no longer sufficient for youth and children to have a can-do attitude and a commitment to work. Instead, they need a solid foundation to support their work ethic. That foundation comes from you.


So how exactly can you help your child develop a strong work ethic? There are a handful of principles that you can incorporate into your daily life to help you child thrive when they enter the work force.


Don’t reward every chore. Jon Gallo, a financial advisor who specializes in family finances, believes that rewarding every single chore with an allowance causes children to appreciate their earnings less and expect a reward for every action. Instead, Gallo suggests making ‘family chores’ - that is, everyday tasks that you do together to benefit everyone in the family. If you want to reward your child with an allowance, Gallo suggests letting them do extra chores in order to earn an allowance.


Show them role models. We already discussed the importance of reading with your children. Use that time to read stories of women and men who portray positive, hard-working qualities in their tales. The same goes for movies and other forms of entertainment. By showing heroes and heroines who carry the traits that you want to pass on, they will adopt them into their own developing work ethic.


Be a role model. The most important thing you can do to instil a good work ethic in your children is to show one yourself. Your children learn from you more than any other source and there are no shortcuts. If you are a workaholic and put your job before your kids, they will likely grow up to be the same. If you value purpose above reward, then they will adopt that admirable quality. Be mindful of how you display your own work ethic and be open with your child about it.


It is not enough to say that children need a strong work ethic. They don’t just need it for when they enter the workforce, but to develop a strong routine and sense of discipline. As a parent, you should know that your child’s work ethic starts with you.