When you grow up poor like I did, you learn a few lessons in life. As a Latino male, I watched my family work day in and day out to provide food and shelter for my family. When I began a family of my own, I wanted to teach my children the values I learned, such as being frugal and a strong work ethic. But how do I do this?
At first, it was hard for me to figure out how to teach my children hard work. As a child, I lived very poorly, so I wanted a better life for my children. I gave them everything and as they grew from toddlers to young children, I felt they were not as appreciative as they should be. I had to think of unique yet fun ways to teach them how to work hard.
Clean the Room Game
The main area of the home that a child must take care of is their room. My kids hate cleaning their room so I had to make it a game of sorts. I told each child they had a certain time frame to clean their room, about 30-minutes. The child whose room is the cleanest would win a prize. So of course, my kids jumped at the chance to win something. After the 30 -minute time frame, I deemed the rooms a tie and told the kiddos they each won. I presented them with one dollar. They felt this was unfair. One dollar? I did all that hard work for one dollar?
Exactly! I pointed out that they did work hard and they deserved a decent ‘prize’ comparing it to a wage when working. I used this analogy to show my kids that when you work hard, you want to be rewarded. It takes time to earn the amount you wish and you must work hard to do so.
To get the kids to be more active in house work, I have created a chore jar. Slips of paper have been placed in the jar that have a job as well as price listed. If the job is completed properly, the wage is provided. The kids love this game and try to find the harder jobs to earn more money. I feel this will teach them how to work hard to earn what they wish.
Let’s Go Shopping
With all this money the kids are earning, they eventually want to go shopping. We go shopping at their favorite store and they begin to see how much they have and what they could buy. I have noticed that my children are way more careful with their own money than mine! Sometimes they do not buy anything and save it for another time. I feel this is an additional way to explain about hard work and why you do not want to spend frivolously based on the work you put in. I hope my kiddos are on the right path to becoming hard working individuals as they grow older.