The Lost Value of Work

Child & BroomRecently at my job, I’ve observed and participated in a few interesting conversations regarding work. There are quite a few fellow employees that think work is standing around at the front desk, talking to each other about the woes of life, or complaining that they are so tired of working. When a person comes to ask a question or check in they of course answer, but other than that…nada. At my job, my main responsibility is housekeeping; I deep clean, spot clean, mop, etc. A few weeks ago, our manager made a cleaning chart indicating areas where each non-housekeeping employee was in charge of cleaning once a week. I couldn’t believe the complaints that came out of their mouths! They said “I need to be getting paid more if he wants me to clean” or “I can’t remember the last time I cleaned – that’s a woman’s job” or “I’m not going to clean – isn’t that what Kellie is for?”.

You’ve got to be joking, kids…all you have to do is make sure the trash isn’t overflowing… come on. Didn’t their moms teach them anything?

What is work? I find it absolutely shocking that this generation, and up-coming generations don’t know what work is!

So, what is work? Here is the Kellie-definition of work:

work: verb

1. Putting forth the effort necessary to [help] accomplish a specific task.

2. A value necessary in every society, home, workplace, and other enviornments.

3. Something that has been totally tossed aside in today’s world.

Remember the time when people had to work for their food? Haul water from the well? Sew and wash their own clothes by hand? Obviously, in these modern times, we are blessed enough to not have to do such “hard” work for life’s necessities.

The kind of work we must do nowadays is no where near the extent of what it was back in the old days. Nonetheless, people have lost this ever-so important value. I’ve been appalled lately at how lazy this generation has become. We live in a world where people want things for free. People want to go to work, do nothing, and get paid for it. Children think that their mom is there to wash their clothes, sweep the floor, cook their food, blah blah blah….

Here’s the thing. I think that people need to work. Young Adults/Adults need to work in their home, at school, at their job. Children need to work and help in the home.  I posted on my personal blog awhile ago asking people’s thoughts and opinions regarding having your toddler/children do chores. The general consensus of those people?

“No, I don’t think it’s that important to make your toddlers/young children do chores.” or “You should wait to have your children do chores until they are older.”


I’m not talking about making your two year old scrub the floor with a toothbrush! I’m talking about simple, age-appropriate tasks to help out around the house; these help build self-reliance, self-confidence, obedience, work-ethic, family unity…the list goes on!

Below, I have compiled a list of my own thoughts, as well as thoughts from other moms on how to give age-appropriate chores and/or assignments to your children.

All of these can be built on each other, i.e. what a younger kid can do, an older kid can do.

 12 Months and under(Draw pictures to depict what you are trying to say. Don’t forget to help them accomplish these tasks!)

  • Take a bath
  • Pick up your toys
  • Brush your teeth
12 Months – 24 months(Still draw pictures, but also write simple words)

  • Pick up books
  • Clean up spills
  • Help set the table (cups or spoons work great)
  • Throw away your dirty diapers
  • Put dirty clothes in laundry basket
  • Do the dusting
  • Put away small, light groceries
2 -4 years(pictures and words)

  • Put dishes in dishwasher or sink
  • Feed the pet
  • Do the sweeping, mopping
  • Fold simple clothes
  • Put own clothes away
  • Match socks
  • Water the plants
  • Get the mail (with you, of course)
  • Make your bed
5 – 7 years(some pictures, more words)

  • Pick up trash
  • Clear off table
  • Take the trash out (may need your help)
  • Clean your room
  • Help prepare meals
  • Pull weeds/gardening
  • Wash windows
  • Wash the car
  • Unload the dishwasher
8-10 years(written words)

  • Clean the bathroom
  • Clean up own stuff around house
  • Clean kitchen
  • Load the dishwasher
11 – 13 years(written words)

  • Mow the lawn
  • Do your laundry (and help with others’)
13+ years(written words)

  • They are pretty much able to do anything you ask them to.


  • Please remember that every child is different. Some kids may be able to do more than others, while others may struggle with simpler tasks.
  • Don’t expect to tell your child to go do a chore without you showing them how and working right along side them. Chores should be a team effort, too!
  • You know your own child. Pick appropriate tasks for them as an individual.
  • It’s okay to offer rewards! Stickers on the chart, allowances, a prize box at the end of the week. For L’s jobs I gave her 5 jobs, and as soon as she got 5 stickers on each one, she got to pick a prize! How fun and exciting for her!
  • Praise and encouragement is the key. Don’t nag. Just remind.
  • Make a job/chore chart for each child. There are also other countless ways to designate chores around the house.

People always comment on how well my little L listens to me and my husband (or anyone else for that matter). I’m positive it’s because I started her doing simple things, age-appropriate, helped her accomplish her tasks, and gave her praise and “rewards”. Now she begs to throw away her dirty diapers – now that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Don’t let your children (or yourself) be lost to the value of work. It’s ever-so important in today’s world.

kellieA Mom Knows Contributor

About Kellie

I am a mom of a spunky 3-year-old little girl and a wife to one hot husband. My daughter is a Pediatric Stroke survivor and has minor cerebral palsy and is classified as a hemiplegic. A lot of my time is spent dealing with the repercussions from her stroke but I also love scrapbooking, reading, spending time with my husband and daughter.

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