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How to Not Raise a Lazy Child

by Chelsea Fitzgerald, studioD

A lazy child often turns into a lazy adult. This translates into poor work ethics, battles over responsibilities in a marriage and lack of pride in their homes. Laziness can also turn the child into an overweight couch potato who rarely engages in exercise or outdoor activities. Raising a child who isn't lazy is often difficult for parents. They might feel that the child has enough responsibilities with schoolwork and other extracurricular activities.

Acknowledge that the reason your child resist responsibilities might be a matter of control, according to the Empowering Parents website. A child may feel that if she neglects to do what you want, she has the power. Don’t make the mistake of giving in, doing the child’s work yourself, arguing or yelling. All these things reward her with the control she is seeking. Stipulate consequences that will occur if she doesn’t meet her responsibilities and have the courage to apply them. Often, natural consequences, such as failing a test because she doesn’t study, help the child learn about cause and effect better than long lectures from a parent.

Talk to your child about how laziness is detrimental to her well-being and might result in her being irresponsible in high school, college and later on in her career. Tell her that everyone has a boss and there will always be people in her life who expect her to perform duties in a timely and efficient manner. State that everyone has chores or jobs they must do to be a functioning and well-adjusted member of a family, school group or workplace.

Point out benefits of living in your home. She has a roof over her head, food in her stomach and clothing for her body. Tell her that as a member of your family, she also has responsibilities and cannot shirk them without reaping consequences.

List on a dry erase or bulletin board all the household chores and who is responsible for each one, according to the Focus on the Family website. This chore list might rotate on a daily, weekly or monthly basis according to each person’s capabilities. For instance, a 5-year-old child is quite capable of putting his dirty clothes into his hamper and picking up his toys, while an 11-year-old is capable of unloading the dishwasher correctly.

Hang the board on the kitchen wall, the den, utility room or somewhere else where it is highly visible. List the times that the chores must be completed and the consequences for not doing them. This visible reminder prevents the child from saying she didn’t know what she was supposed to do. If the child is too young to read well, post pictures of the chores to prevent confusion.

Reward your child for doing her chores in a timely and efficient manner. This can be a monetary award, such as a weekly allowance or even a colorful sticker for younger children.

Model solid work ethics for your child by watching what you say and do. If your child sees you go to work even though you are not feeling well, she is less likely to play “sick” when she needs to go to school. When you return home in the evenings, say something such as, “Wow, I’m really tired after a long day at work. I can’t wait to get my chores done so I can sit down and relax.” Actions like that show the youngster that even though circumstances aren’t always ideal, taking care of your responsibilities is essential.

Participate in physical activity as a family such as playing volleyball, roller skating or going for bicycle rides around the lake or to a nearby park. This is an effective way to teach the youngster that physical activity is enjoyable and a wise way to stay healthy.

Volunteer as a family to improve your community or to help others. Say, “Today we are going to pick up trash in the park to make it a beautiful area for us and others to enjoy.” Another idea is to donate used clothing and toys or food to a community food bank. After the job is done, talk about the good feeling you get knowing you helped others or made a difference in your community.

Items you will need
  •  Dry erase or bulletin board
  •  Mounting tools, such as a picture hanger, hammer and nail
  •  Small rewards, such as colorful stickers


  • Don’t confuse relaxation with laziness. Allow time during the week for your child to relax and do whatever he desires, within reason. Teach your child that there is an appropriate time for everything. Another idea is to declare a “lazy day” -- such as a Sunday -- for everyone to relax and enjoy each other. Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous. For instance, if it is storming outside, pop a big bowl of popcorn and invite everyone to snuggle on the couch for a rainy day, movie marathon. These times will make your child less likely to be lazy when it is time for her to take care of her responsibilities.

About the Author

Chelsea Fitzgerald covers topics related to family, health, green living and travel. Before her writing career, she worked in the medical field for 21 years. Fitzgerald studied education at the University of Arkansas and University of Memphis.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images