Tidy time Tidy time

Tidy time

Youth September 1, 2017 Tiffany 0

Tidy time

A few ways to develop good work ethic in your child

By Nichole Marcell


Each week day about 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., when my children were younger, you could hear, “Tidy time, tidy time, it’s tidy time!” A cheerful carol I sang as we transitioned into our routine “pick up your stuff” moment. Playtime for four kids under eight years old left stuffed animals, gadgets, art supplies, dolls, and cars scattered over every inch of the house.

I assisted with cleaning by handing them one item at a time, reminding them where it belonged as needed—sometimes walking them to the area. This “pick up your stuff” process would have been shorter if I cleaned up by myself, but my goal was to have a spotless house AND instill work ethic.

We had a time to play and a time to put away. This is important because nurturing a good work ethic in our children amid a culture of entitlement is essential in raising godly kids.

Here are a few ways to begin to develop good work ethic in your child:

  1. Read Genesis chapters one and two with your child. Discuss how God worked and rested. Teach them that work existed before the fall. It is a blessing, not a punishment. Through their creative labors, the body of Christ and this earth will be blessed.
  2. Assign age appropriate chores. Reinforce that in a family we all contribute and share responsibilities. For young children create a picture list to help them remember their task. In our home our children are responsible for their own space: bedroom and bathroom. No allowance is given for this. We also rotate additional chores such as cleaning the kitchen.
  3. Allow your children to work alongside you. Our children have assisted my husband and I in facilitating retreats, planning parties, building decks, running plumbing, cooking, lawn care, tending to animals, and hundreds of other jobs. Some things are taught, some things are caught. Modeling a good work ethic in front of your child is one of the greatest tools you have in developing your child’s work ethic. Your actions speak louder than your words.

Nichole Marcell has been married to Shawn for 25 years, and they are blessed with four amazing children. Nichole has a passion for the Word of God, discipleship and missional living. 

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