Let’s talk chores…
I’ve polled this. I’ve asked other parents. I’ve googled the heck out of it…and it boils down to 50/50. I’ll start by saying my kids do chores. My (almost) 4 yr old dusted my cold-air intake the other day. It looked like garbage when he was done, and I re-did it, but he was so damn excited about it.
Parents who are for it said things like:
“It teaches them to work in a family”
“Chores raise kids to be better adults”
“Chores help kids understand important life skills”
“Children gain a sense of accomplishment”
“Don’t you have kids for free labor?”
“You have to teach them responsibility”
Now flip the tables:
“Chores annoy me as an adult, so I’m sure my kids would be annoyed and that’s emotionally damaging”
“They already have enough to do between sleepovers, playing outside with friends and homework”
“Kids aren’t adults. Housework is for adults”
“Kids need fun and fresh air. Not housework”
“Chores should be considered child cruelty”
“If kids do chores in their free time, all they will do it grow up to be housekeepers”
You ready for these two? These are by far the
best most ridiculous answers…. brace yourselves:
“Parents who have their children do chores are just lazy and shouldn’t have to rely on their kids to do their jobs”
“Forcing someone to do work is considered slavery. Individuals should be allowed to choose what they do in life for their own gain. Kids are kids. Not slaves”
I can’t. I just can’t even entertain those.
Alright. So like I said, it’s clearly an equally debatable topic between us lazy slave drivers and the others. Just kidding. We’re not lazy slave drivers and I’m still baffled that someone even used that as a comparison.
Studies has shown and proven that children need chores. A professor from University of Minnesota, Dr. Rossmann, did a pretty extensive study on this whole topic. “Giving children household chores at an early age helps to build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance…”
She “analyzed data from a longitudinal study that followed 84 children across four periods in their lives—in preschool, around ages 10 and 15, and in their mid-20s. She found that young adults who began chores at ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have good relationships with family and friends, to achieve academic and early career success and to be self-sufficient, as compared with those who didn’t have chores or who started them as teens”.
So it seems that her study was pretty conclusive to the fact that us who enforce chores are in fact not slave drivers, we’re just raising a generation more likely to be responsible and successful. Now, I’m not saying that kids that don’t do chores aren’t responsible and won’t be successful…what I am saying… well not even what I am saying…what the studies are saying is there is a correlation between success and chores.
Now, no one is saying to make your toddler scrub toilets and go outside and clean up dog poop… the key here is age-appropriate chores. This list is all
of the things that your child within that age range should be perfectly capable of doing… will it be perfect? no. will you probably have to re-do it the first few times? yes. Is it for their own good? Absolutely.
So trust me. You’re not a slave driver and your kids won’t be emotionally scarred from having to put their laundry in the hamper by themselves. Handling spoons and forks won’t kill them and dumping dog food into a bowl isn’t the end of the world.
Teach your kids to contribute. Studies have shown, it’s worth it in the end.