My wife and I have a 16 week old, and it's definitely a bit early for it to matter, but we were discussing recently how we find the balance between teach/setting a good example of being thorough and taking pride in your work (e.g. cleaning up the kitchen after making dinner) and not letting yourself spend your entire life cleaning the house and not balancing other life needs like going for a hike, reading a book, etc.

How do others set a good example of good "life balance" and at the same time teach your kids to be thorough and take pride in things they do?

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    If you find the answer to this, please let me know! :-D
    – Meg Coates
    Apr 29, 2013 at 17:15

2 Answers 2


While setting examples for both work ethic and life balance, you should think out loud, because you also need to set the example of how to make decisions that weigh one against the other. Present it not as a lecture, but just a musing on your choices. This works for all sorts of decision-making, like how to spend/save money, how to tell someone something but not hurt their feelings, how to prioritize your chores for the day... Examples:

"I usually clean the kitchen right after dinner, but it is so nice out this evening, I think I will sit out on the deck, and do the dishes in the morning."

"As much as I would like to earn an A on this paper, our family needs a vacation this weekend, so I will just do the best I can in the time I have, and if I don't get an A, that's okay."

"I really need to get the bugs cleaned off the car, but I am so tired from a busy week that I think I will pay to have it done at the car wash, and take my lunch to work this week to save money."


I try to remind myself and often speak aloud the proverb:

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy

When working I try to work hard and express a desire to do a good job. At other times I express the fact that everyone needs to: take a break from work, relax, and practice good self care (whether that is stress management, exercise, recreation, meditation, etc.)

How much a child understand their various "needs" will increase with age, but i don't think it's ever too early to start.

Many adults dont understand self care at all, so if you can get your children to even to understand the importance of balancing stress management, work ethic, and healthy eating they will be years ahead of most people.

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