“Moooooom… you’re always on the computer!”
“Mooooom… I’m bored. I want to play on the laptop like you do.”
“Mom, you don’t work… you don’t go to an office like Sean’s mom does?”
Yes, as a Work at Hom mom myself and a coach for other working moms, I often hear things like these. It’s not that our kids don’t value what we do. It’s that they don’t understand it.
Here is how Work at Home mothers can help children understand what we do and develop a good work ethic of their own:
1. Have a Take Your Kids to Work Day
To help kids understand what you do, “take them to work” with you once a month. This is easiest during school holidays , but I also do it one Saturday a month during school season. Let your kids see what you do and explain your work. Whether it is writing an article or managing a client’s page on Facebook or replying to emails, I tell my daughter everything that I do and how it helps other mamas and papas with their work.
She sits with me with her notebook or toy laptop and cellphone and enjoys being “me”. Sometimes she does coloring or reading to herself but seeing my work and going to work with me has really helped her understand that being on the laptop doesn’t mean that I’m playing. Well, not always! 😉
2. Discuss Your Work Day
At the end of the day, when your spouse, kids and you discuss your days make sure you talk about what you did as well so that everyone understands how hard you work and what you do. It doesn’t always have to be dry talk. You can share news about clients, a team member, a fun article you came across in your research.
Treat your work like work and your family will too.
3. Encourage Children to “Work”
For children to learn work ethic, just seeing you work is not enough. It is definitely important and integral to their learning but it is merely the first step. The next steps involve encouraging children as young as toddlers, to “work”. Whether it is something as simple as setting the table or tidying up or mowing the lawn, assign “jobs” to kids and where possible work as a team and do so happily! Let them see that you enjoy working and value what you do, regardless of what the “job” is.
Once kids are working and showing responsibility, remember to praise and reward them for their efforts. You may or may not want to give money for chores but you could think of other rewards like, a mother-son date or a movie of choice.
Showing your kids what you do and that you value and respect it, and encouraging them to be responsible, happy workers will go a long way in raising adults who aren’t afraid of rolling up their sleeves and getting to work with a smile!
Written By: Parenting Contributor, Prerna Malik, themomwrites.com