Don’t read this article alone. Get your children to read it too. If they are not old enough to read by themselves, kindly read aloud for them. Children should do chores because it’s good for them.
Completing chores promotes the development of many basic skills necessary for success in life. For younger children completing simple chores such as folding clothes or help with making their bed can improve coordination and motor skills. Completing chores also enhances a child’s ability to follow directions and helps develop planning and organization skills. Completing chores also helps children develop time management skills. Researchers in the groundbreaking, Learning Habits Study found that children who did household chores also scored high on measures of academic success.
Doing chores also helps children develop a sense of responsibility. They not only engage in self-help skills which fosters a sense of independence but also a sense of shared responsibility and contributing to the well-being of the whole family. Successfully completing chores also promotes feelings of self-worth and belonging. When parents do everything, children may feel either dependent on others or may feel entitled and expect things to be done for them.
When the topic of chores comes up in a family therapy session, I remind kids there is a reason we call chores, chores. Most people, including parents, don’t love doing them, but they need to be done anyway. I may ask about the things their parents do and what the home would be like if they were not completed. I point out that learning to take care of themselves and help around the house helps them to become more independent and ready for the freedom that will come when they get older. I think it is essential to distinguish between self-help and maintaining the household. Some children look a picking up toys, making their bed, or even brushing their teeth as a chore.
The obsession with screen time by many children adds to the problem. They detest any activity that may rob them of a few more minutes on their electronic devices. One rule of thumb should be that activities related to personal care, homework, and helping out the family or the family pet comes first. When responsibilities are met if there is time left, it can be used for recreational activities.
Many parents debate whether children should be paid for chores. The average kid in the U.S. receives an annual allowance of $800. In his book, The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money, Ron Leiber a New York Times personal-finance columnist states, kids should do chores “for the same reason we do – because the chores need to be done, and not with the expectation of compensation”. He suggests that an allowance “ought to stand on its own, not as a wage but as a teaching tool.” For example, allowances can teach kids about the value of saving, how much things cost, budgeting, and giving to others.