In today’s society, it is very easy for the younger ones to get wrapped up in smart devices and if I am completely honest, sometimes, I allow my little guy to have too much IPad time because it gives me more time to get things done. Shame on me…I know….but remember the whole transparent post I did? I am being transparent and honest here. As a business owner, I interview and work with a lot of our younger generation and future leaders in my shops. I am so thankful to have such lovely, wonderful employees, but, in my 9 years of business, I have experienced team members that are lacking in the “grind” department, if you know what I mean. Maybe it is because I am a business owner, but making sure that Jack has extraordinary work ethic is extremely important to me. Here are 3 encouragements that have worked for us in promoting a “work for what you want” attitude.
DISCLAIMER: I am by no means a child therapist or psychologist, I just wanted to share my parenting style on the topic with you!
The Treasure Chest
One Sunday afternoon, Ben, Jack, and I went on over to Michael’s and began gathering the pieces to craft Jack’s treasure chest. We purchased a wooden box, some paint, and brushes and headed home to create a special pirate chest that would ultimately grant the pirate treasure whenever he completed his work tasks for the day.
This was such a fun activity. Jack picked the colors of his chest and helped me get it all ready for the magical treasure that would “appear” inside.
Ben and I decided on about 3 tasks that would become his daily duties. It is very important to choose chores and not items that would be necessary for good hygiene or survival. For example, he is to pick up his toys around the house and put them in his room versus eating dinner. We expect him to do things like eat dinner, brush his teeth, take a bath…these things would not be considered work. Cleaning up, feeding Harley (the dog) and Nemo (the fish), etc would be considered daily chores. Some days we will change it up, but he always has at least 3 chores.
At the end of the day, once he gets home from daycare and has completed all of his tasks, he gets to choose 1 item from the chest. At first, this will be a struggle for the parents. There are so many goodies that your little one may want more than one thing. We are very strict on the one item rule. It took about 2 or 3 times for Jack to understand that he does not get to indulge, but has to work hard to receive his next treasure. The treasures do not have to cost a fortune. We pick up the little surprise packs from the grocery store for about $0.75 and then add some Spiderman suckers to the mix. This has really helped Jack to learn concepts such as, being rewarded for hard work and that over-indulgence and over-rewarding is not encouraged or realistic in a work setting.
Asking for Help
Yes, it is hard to consider help from a 2 year old, but showing your child that helping others is self rewarding helps to encourage that behavior as they grow older. I feel like many people today expect a return for lending a helping hand. I have experienced this in the past when asking an employee to do something out of their daily scope during their work shift, such as, putting together an idea for an event or helping with marketing signage, and the employee asks how much extra they will be paid for this. The way I see it is you are on the clock and being paid, asking for extra help during a work shift should not warrant a “well what am I going to get for it” kind of attitude. My team is so wonderful now that they always offer to lend a helping hand outside of work shifts and whenever they can. I am truly blessed and lucky. This kind of behavior makes me want to reward them in any way that I can and in bigger ways as the company grows. I want Jack’s boss one day to feel this way about him.
I believe that asking, not telling, Jack for help on things such as, carrying a grocery inside or throwing something away for me, and then showing him gratitude and telling him that he really really helped me, gives him a sense of satisfaction for lending a hand. I never ask him to do something for me and then tell him that if he does, I will get him a toy. This encourages a “what’s in it for me” attitude. With the treasure chest activity, he has a choice to do a job (which consists of several tasks). If he does, he gets rewarded, if he chooses not to do his job, then the treasure chest goes away for a few days. He will usually ask where it is and that is when I explain to him that the pirate must complete a job to get the magic pirate treasure.
I want to rest assured, knowing that one day, Jack will be happy to go above and beyond for his employers and other people in general, with or without being asked, with no expectations of an instant reward other than self satisfaction of a job that exceeded expectations. (He may be too young to grasp it now, but eventually I believe that it will set in)
There is DEFINITELY not enough of this in the world today. People are afraid to be themselves or do anything without approval or first asking other’s opinions. I am not saying that question asking is wrong or that seeking approval is a bad move, but employers definitely prefer an employee that can figure something out on their own, and only when they have tried every option and cannot figure out a solution, to come to them. I feel like the best way to encourage independence is to do a lot less “hand holding.” Now, I don’t mean this literally. I dread the day that my sweet little love is too old to hold mommy’s hand. What I mean by this, is allow your child to figure things out on his own. Sometimes this is hard. I used to watch him with his block game and he would struggle to figure out which block fit into which hole. Often times, I would just want to immediately show him where the block fit. REFRAIN. Let your little one use their brain…let them struggle a little bit for the answer. Not saying that you can’t help them, but I always ASK Jack if he needs help before just running to the rescue and make everything right. As moms, that is what we want to do but trust me, you will be doing your child a favor to give them the room to learn on their own. This learning style will help them become better problem solvers which is an invaluable skill for the work place.