Why is it so difficult to deal with kids and chores! I mean, back in the day kids literally woke up at dawn to feed the chickens. Why now does it seem like a form of punishment to have our children do a couple of routine everyday tasks?!
Chores are a hard thing to be consistent with. We live busy, hectic, eat on your way out the door kind of lives. And let’s face it, it’s way easier and faster for us just to do the jobs ourselves than to have a painful conversation convincing our kids to make their bed or fold the laundry.
The problem, though, is that chores are important! Having kids help around the house needs to be something that starts to just become natural for them. We are teaching our kids nothing if we “make life easier” for them by taking work out of their days.
And you may be reading this and disagree in having your kids do chores at all… aren’t kids already busy enough? Let them be kids! Well, a recent study collected data from over 25 years and discovered that chores instilled in children the importance of contributing to their families and gave them a sense of empathy as adults. Those who had done chores as young children were more likely to be well-adjusted, have better relationships with friends and family and were more successful in their careers. I mean, who wouldn’t want that for our kids!
I am going to break up my thoughts on this subject just a little. This post is the “why” behind why we choose to have a daily routine that includes chores. In the next post, I will share how we go about implementing it in our home with some helpful tips on how to make a program stick.
If you are on the fence about starting your kids with chores around the house, consider these benefits… (and I’m not even going to include the obvious which is that you get a little help around the house!)
1. Chores help teach life skills. They’re little now, but eventually, they will grow up and move out. (Sob!) Laundry, cooking, and cleaning are just some of the life skills your kids will need once they are out of the nest. The earlier they start, the more adept and confident they will be when they are finally on their own.
2. Chores help kids learn responsibility and time-management. If your kiddo has a certain amount of tasks they have to do, and a series of things they want to do, they will figure out how to get it all done. For example, we have a rule that device time can never happen until after the daily chores are complete. We would all agree that time-management is an essential life skill that is better learned before they head to high school. And when you have a list of daily things you ask them to do, over time you will find they just take over and do it… without you asking repetitively! Making their bed, folding their clothes, and being more responsible in the daily tasks will just become a natural way of life.
3. Chores help teach teamwork. Several of the jobs I have my kids do are just individual tasks such as cleaning up their room or making their bed. But, they also have group tasks such as picking up the playroom or family room. I put those items on every kid’s daily chore sheet, and it has been fun to see how they end up working together to get the jobs done. It takes communication and some strategy to work together to finish a task, which is another perk of chores for their personal development.
4. Chores help build grit and a strong work ethic. A strong work ethic is valued by teachers, coaches, and eventually bosses, so why not instill a strong work ethic in your kids from a young age? Chores are found by studies to be an integral part of how kids develop a solid work ethic. A perfect example of this in our house is the playroom – sometimes it is just a pure disaster! Cleaning it up takes a long time; starting a task like this and seeing it through to the end develops grit. “Over time, grit is what separates fruitful lives from aimlessness.” — John Ortberg
5. Chores help eliminate entitlement. One thing that we desperately want our kids to know is that the world does not revolve around them. But as parents, we often lovingly fall into the trap of doing everything for our kids, which in turn curves thankfulness and creates entitled children. When they help out around the house and are held to family expectations, entitlement diminishes and gratitude grows.
Chores and kids. It’s something to think about. Summer is a great time to start chores because our kids have more free time. It’s an easier time to start a routine and learn together as a family. If you want some ideas on how to get started, check out my next post!