A job well done

December 30, 2021

We’ve all been there. The kids rush to tidy their room so they can watch that movie, and you find they’ve just stuffed everything under the bed. It’ll take twice as long to really clean up, but at least they did it, right?

There’s doing a job, and there’s doing it well. So how do we get kids to do these tasks to a high standard? Well, like all good things, it takes a bit of time and effort, but it can totally pay off. Kids are different too, right? Your first-born might be a perfectionist but take forever, while your second might not even notice the top drawer in the dishwasher. Here’s what we’ve found can help:

100% Attention

When talking about a job, we like to get our kids' attention 100%. Eye contact, repeating back instructions - no other distractions.


Then we discuss what the benefits of completing the job will be. What will life be like in this clean and beautiful room of yours? What does it feel like to be satisfied with your work?


When we’re starting out, we work alongside our kids, and teach them the right way to do something. We look at a job and work out how we’re going to tackle it, before we get started. We get their input about the best way to get it done, not in the fastest time, but in the way that gets the best result.

Trial and Error

Then we turn it over to them, and allow a bit of ‘give it a go’ and see what happens. Check in and see how they’re doing. Crank some music on and make it fun! And let them fail a bit and reflect on it. No one’s perfect.


Once they’re away and laughing, they’re in charge of the outcome. They’re in control. They own the blame if it doesn’t work out, and the reward if it's done well. They’re responsible for the quality of the outcome, and that’s empowering. 💪


We think you can go a couple of ways with this. Praise is great. And it’s really effective when it’s about the effort and quality of their work, not the completion of the task (“I love the way you lined up your cool Lego creations on the shelf like that”). Sometimes we might add an extra amount onto the money they make, based on how well they did the task (“$5 for washing the car with me, and an extra $3 for being a fun team mate and really scrubbing those wheel arches”). We want them to want to do a good job, so it’s a good idea to focus on the feeling of doing a good job

So those are just a few tips that we’ve found can work… If you’ve got some of your own to share, there are thousands of parents who’ll be grateful over on our facebook and insta pages!

Dan Russell
SquareOne Academy + Research lead.