Chores & household jobs: Few of us enjoy doing them, but for a household to run smoothly these tedious and time-consuming tasks must get done. It’s a given that the adults will do their part around the house, but when it comes to assigning housework to children, there’s some debate.
Many parents want to preserve childhood for as long as possible, letting the “kids be kids” and enjoy plenty of playtime while they’re still young. Others may see children as less capable, preferring to finish the housework as quickly and efficiently as possible. These arguments make sense, but they also overlook the many positive benefits of giving kids chores.
Consider these reasons why children should help out around the house:
1. Chores help teach life skills. They’re young now, but they won’t be kids forever! Laundry, cooking and budgeting are just some of the skills your kids will need once they finally move out. These are also things that schools do not fully teach, making learning them at home even more important.
2. Chores help kids learn responsibility and self-reliance. Assigning children regular chores helps teach them responsibility. Tasks that personally affect your kids, such as cleaning their room or doing their own laundry, can help them become more self-reliant at the same time. Your kids or grandkids may also take pride in being considered mature enough to take care of themselves.
3. Chores help teach teamwork. Being a productive member of a team can be modelled for children through housework. Members of your family “team” are accountable to each other, and there are consequences when you don’t meet each other’s expectations. Learning these lessons at home, where mistakes are more easily forgiven, can help kids develop strong teamwork skills to use at school or work.
4. Chores help reinforce respect. It takes moving away from home for most of us to fully appreciate all the hard work our parents did around the house. Our children are likely no different, but assigning them chores may help this insight come a little quicker. Kids may become more aware of the messes they make if they’re tasked with cleaning up around the house, and more respectful of the work that goes into maintaining a home.
5. Chores help build a strong work ethic. This trait is valued by bosses, so why not instil a work ethic in your kids from a young age? Chores are commonly tied to a reward, such as pocket money or screen time. Paying children for a job well done can also spark an entrepreneurial spirit, inspiring them to work outside the house once they reach their teens.
6. Chores help improve planning and time management skills. It feels like there are a million things to do in the day, and fitting it all into our diaries is a challenge! Chores can help older kids and teens build good habits early. Juggling schoolwork, housework and their social lives helps them learn to set priorities and manage their time, important skills for the working world.
7. Chores give families a chance to bond. People often lament that chores take up time they could be spending with their kids. But chores can actually create special moments between children and adults. Little ones who always want to help will feel important and receive a self-esteem boost, and moody teens may decide to open up over a shared task.
By fostering the life skills children learn through chores, you are taking advantage of the most formative years in their life. When you help them develop the strong foundation these valuable life skills create, you are giving them the tools they’ll need to grow into well-adjusted and dependable adults.