We recently posted a video on our Facebook page, and it ignited a conversation. So today, we’ll be revisiting the topic: Should children do chores?
Last year, Whirlpool commissioned a Braun research poll of 1,001 parents. They asked parents if they regularly assign chores to their children. Only 28 percent said they did, even though 82 percent said they grew up doing chores themselves. Which parents are right? Those who assign chores say that it’s the first step to building responsibility and a strong work ethic. On the other hand, some parents want to let their kids be kids and have a carefree childhood. How do parents make the best decisions for their own children regarding childhood chores?
The case against chores
There are many reasons parents choose not to assign chores. Some think childhood is a sacred time for kids to catch lightning bugs to house in mayonnaise-jar homes. Childhood is a time to ride bikes, play in the sprinkler, have lemonade stands, and daydream. Some parents don’t want to disrupt this magical time by having their kids come inside to empty the dishwasher or fold towels.
Other parents worry that children who are not assigned chores as children won’t be able to function as an adult. I hear parents of older children bemoan the fact that their children are not prepared to live on their own because they don’t know how to do their own laundry or make simple meals.
But with the invention of Google, is that lack of houseworking knowledge really that important? There are YouTube videos explaining how to do anything. Didn’t we all have to figure out how to “adult?” Blogger Lana Hirsachowitz said it best. “Like drinking, dating, voting and driving a car, there are some things you only take up in adulthood but you get really good at really fast.”
kids are so busy with school and extracurricular activities that they don’t seem to have time for household chores. Children and teens today are busy. They have music lessons, sports practice, and tutoring sessions. Teens may have part-time jobs. And of course, all age groups have homework. Do today’s kids really have the time to dust the furniture or weed the garden? Isn’t their time better spent focusing on schoolwork?
The case for chores
But on the other hand, our job as parents is to raise responsible and productive adults. Some feel that assigning chores helps promote responsibility and a strong work ethic. Many studies say the same. A 75-year Harvard study looked at parenting techniques that could predict happy, healthy adults. Researchers found that children who were given chores became more independent adults. In an era when adult children are returning to the nest in droves, fostering a sense of independence is important for children. Earning their own money empowers kids. Look at 5 Fun Ways To Teach Your Kids About Money to see at what ages kids have an understanding about money.
Other research backs the case for assigning chores for children. Research indicates that those children who are assigned chores have a higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification. These skills make them better students as well as future employees.
When it comes down to it, every family situation is unique, and what works for one family may not for another. But in most situations, chores can help children feel a sense of responsibility. Chores build life skills and thus can build a child’s self esteem. Chores can teach children to deal with frustration. Even super busy children can find 10 minutes a day to vacuum a room or get the mail.
What do you think? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.
Not sure how to get started assigning chores for your children? Find age-appropriate chores for your six year old in last month’s article on our Facebook page. To help them get motivated, check out our chore charts. Your kids can track their own progress and learn responsibility with the Cadily system.