Youthful Connections

A little work never hurt

 | July 17, 2012

No matter what a person’s circumstance, whether they’re a parent of five, or single, everyone’s found themselves wishing for a little extra time every once and a while. Most people would even pay a few bucks for the coveted commodity.

So, with summer upon us, it’s the perfect time to delegate some of the chores that have been pecking away at our time resources. And, who better to contract than that wave of kids, always in need of a dollar, who’ve just been let loose for two months?

Don’t think that advocating putting kids to work in the summer strips them of their well-earned break; summer employment isn’t meant to follow banker’s hours. A few projects help kids feel industrious and from that, satisfied. When kids are given tasks to perform, and are praised or rewarded for their efforts, they’re more likely to want to perform more tasks. This cycle of effort, completion and praise leads kids to want to be more industrious, and ingrains the values of perseverance and responsibility.

As an example, if a kid is tasked to wash the vegetables when they’re four, put the salad ingredients together when they’re five, and do simple cutting when they’re six, they’ll have a skill set by the time they’re seven. In contrast, if a child hasn’t been introduced to tasks over time, and is then expected to make a salad when they’re seven, they aren’t likely to succeed because they have no foundation of knowledge, nor any practice, as to how it’s done. The poor job they’re likely to perform will result in criticism or dishonest praise. Criticisms over time can lead to a sense of inferiority and a distaste for making the effort for fear of being ridiculed or punished for a job poorly done.

So, what is there to lose? The neighbourhood kids can be put to work doing all sorts of things that will build their skills and confidence, take a job or two off your hands, and earn them a few bucks as well.
One of the easiest and most popular student employment sites is the yard.

Younger kids can be put to work pulling weeds, watering, or even raking. Or, with orientation to the tools, older kids can do some mowing and trimming. Working in the yard is great exercise in the fresh air, and yard tasks are easily broken down into manageable time chunks.

Instead of asking a kid to “pull the weeds,” get them to focus on one small area at a time so that they can feel accomplishment in completions. The same holds true for mowing; depending on the age and ability of the youth, have them mow the front yard one day, the back yard the second, and the boulevard on the third.

There are a million tasks kids can pull off, and they’ll be surprisingly willing to do them if they see a genuine request and a payoff at the end. Just be cautious to orient your young helpers to the tools they’ll be using, and choose tasks that are achievable for them. That way your jobs will be taken care of, and your helper’s confidence, skills and resume will be bolstered.