With long hours at school each day and an endless amount of homework and afterschool activities, many parents give their kids a pass when it comes to mundane tasks such as chores. But chores are important for kids and growing families. Here are 5 reasons your child needs chores, and ASAP!!
Sense of Community
Your children are part of the family. And to work as a strong family unit, all members should contribute to the working of the family. After all, it takes a lot to keep a family going. There is food prep and kitchen cleanup and near endless amounts of laundry.
When we trust our kiddos with chores, we tell them that they are valuable members of our family and that they have an important role in the working of the family. And when children feel valued, it naturally boosts their self-confidence.
Self discipline is learned when we show up and participate even when we don’t want to or don’t feel like it. Chores are an ideal way to practice this very important skill. I don’t know about the rest of you, but Mt. Laundry is never something I look forward to climbing.
So start now. Assign your kiddos age-appropriate chores and insist that they get done. Set a time to get the work done. Sunday is chore day at my house. For us, it is a way to reset and start out the week on the right foot. Complete with a clean kitchen and folded and put away. The kids are responsible for getting their rooms straight. They also pick up the main areas of the house and help vacuum. When we started, it would take all day and endless complaints. Now that they know the drill, we can get everything done in a couple of hours.
Consistency means they know what to expect and know that we will insist on it happening. It does not mean that they like it. Although I like it. Because it is really nice to start the week off with a clean home.
Valuable practice with motor skills
Chores involve repetitive movements that work large muscle groups. Did you know that vacuuming can burn up to 90 calories in 15 minutes? And chores that involve more detail utilize fine motor skills. Teach your children how to clean a toilet and to dust around the knickknacks. Find ways to make it fun, but do it. It’s good for the body.
Even if you don’t do an allowance for chores (which is an entirely different subject), chores give us an opportunity to work on delayed gratification. Because chores are rarely on our kids’ “would rather do” list, they have to wait on what they want to do and do what they have to do instead. For parents who provide a weekly allowance for completion of chores, kids must wait till the specified allowance time to reap their reward.
More independent adults
If none of the rest of the other advantages of chores have spoken to you yet, remember that learning how to do chores as a child will serve them well as an adult. We all have heard stories of young adults who move into their own place and have no idea how to cook or do their own laundry.
Kids are ready for more involved chores much sooner than we give them credit for. Your preschooler is completely capable of moving laundry from the washer to the dryer. Your elementary school kid can learn to fold and can most certainly put away their own clothes. Your middle schooler is more than capable of doing their own laundry in entirety.
In the same token, it’s never too early to start introducing your kids to cooking. Food prep can be done even with very young children. Practice meal-planning, menu making, and food preparation with your kids. This is a chore that they may actually start looking forward to!
And in case you need further motivation to dig in an enforce chores in your family, you can check out this 2015 article from Harvard on how Sparing Chores Spoils Children and Their Future Selves.