Tackling chores is not at the top of my favourite-things-to-do list. I’m pretty sure it’s not at the top of any kid’s list either.
While researching this topic I read an article by a mother who does not give her kids chores because she wants them to have a happy childhood.
Her reasoning is that life is going to be full of chores once they reach adulthood and why should her kids endure the hardship of chores before then?
Is this mom doing a good thing by not expecting her kids to do chores?
No. Studies[i] prove that professional success in life comes from two things – love and work ethic (or having done chores as a kid).
In her TED Talk, How To Raise Successful Adults, Julie Lythcott-Haims says,
“If kids aren’t doing the dishes, it means someone else is doing that for them, and so they’re absolved of not only the work, but of learning that work has to be done and that each one of us must contribute for the betterment of the whole.”
Learning to contribute is an important life skill, but there are more reasons you should be giving your kids chores. Here are 12:
“It is good for a man that he
Work has been said to be the most dramatic and consistent cure for
Giving your kids authority to manage your home to the extent that they can handle the responsibility will make them mature rapidly and naturally.
Work develops life skills necessary for success later in life – perseverance, thoroughness, diligence, neatness, order, and efficiency.
The sense of satisfaction and self-respect gained by accomplishing a task is one of the biggest benefits of work. Feeling needed also boosts self-esteem. Whether it’s making their beds or sweeping the floors, helping out around the house gives kids a sense of accomplishment.
An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Useful occupation protects kids from many evils, keeping them occupied so that there is no time to think up mischief or be bored.
“Dealing with ‘external tasks’ helps children to organize their ‘internal processes’. Even growth in logical thinking is aided by learning the ‘logic’ of ordinary household procedures such as putting toys away or cleaning one’s room. Furthermore, being required to do chores helps children learn to deal with frustration and ambiguity. Children who do chores regularly become better problem solvers.”[ii]
Everyone has to live somewhere and knowing how to take care of that somewhere is a good idea. Cleaning, shopping, cooking, and budgeting are all important skills needed in adulthood.
I once met a chic-looking young woman at the tomato stand in the grocery store. She asked me how to pick a good tomato. She was holding down a job but didn’t know a good tomato from a bad one.
Knowing they are expected to keep certain areas clean will build a sense of responsibility in your kids. It requires
Knowing how to do things themselves will make your kids less dependent on you and give them confidence.
Being part of a family means you are automatically a team. Working together as a team involves listening to others, depending on others, working together, helping others who struggle – all things necessary later in life.
Having a good attitude toward work will make your kid’s lives so much easier. There is always going to be work to do and having a good attitude makes the doing of it much more pleasant.
More and more millennials are embracing socialism. The idea of getting everything for free, without having to work or pay for it, is appealing. But in reality, nothing comes for free. Somewhere, someone is paying for it.
The sooner kids learn that they are not entitled to the fruits of someone else’s labour, the better.
The Harvard Grant Study found that the earlier kids started with chores, the better.
Most of us balk at this because kids don’t sweep or wash the dishes as well as we can.
But, sometimes, even if you can do a job perfectly, you have to let someone else do it just-barely-passably, if you want the other person to learn from the experience.
You will be doing your kids a favour in the long run.
For more, read how to teach your kids to work.
Are you allowing your kids to learn important life skills from doing chores?
[i] The Harvard Grant Study, the longest running longitudinal study in history (running since 1938 and still going).
[ii] How to Teach Children Responsibility, Harris Clemes, Ph.D., Reynold Bean, E.M.