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How to parent smarter not harder.

6 Reasons Your Children Should Do Chores

The main reason parents don’t make their children do chores is because, frankly, it’s just easier and quicker if we do things ourselves. We know that children should do chores but it takes so much time to teach them how to clean and use the washing machine. And then they don’t hang the clothes out properly, so everything is creased!

However, if we don’t make a concerted effort to engage young children in helping out around the house, it’s not long before we find ourselves running around picking things up after children who are more than old enough to do it for themselves. By trying to save minutes in the short term, we make years more work for ourselves. And that ‘learned helplessness’ can be hard to change.

Children should do chores for many reasons – it’s good for them, it’s good for us and it’s good for the whole family. Yes, you will need to invest a little time in teaching them (try using the principle of minimal assistance to get them started). And, yes, you may have to lower your standards while they learn. But it’s worth the effort.

Still reluctant? Here are six really good reasons children should do chores:

1. It’s good for their self-esteem

Helping out around the house provides opportunities for children to develop new skills, experience success and build good self-esteem. Self-esteem doesn’t just come from big successes. Simple everyday activities (from feeding themselves to making their own beds) provide opportunities for children to make a contribution, feel capable and valued and experience a moment to shine.

2. If they do chores, you don’t have to

The fact is, you have enough to do as it is – without taking on unnecessary extras. If your workload is lightened by the kids helping out more, that frees you up to be a bit less frazzled and a bit more available to connect with your children. Or just to relax and spend time for yourself doing something you enjoy more than laundry.

3. It will improve your relationship with them

I don’t know about you but, for me, doing endless repetitive chores for young people who aren’t at all grateful can make me feel quite resentful! It tends to bring out the worst in me (eg snappiness and impatience) which impacts how I interact with my children. I end up nagging and complaining (to no avail) and my stress levels shoot up. None of which is conducive for good family relationships or enjoying warm fuzzy feelings about one’s kids.

4. Chores help children learn to take responsibility

One of the simplest ways that children learn is through actions and consequences. If there is never a consequence for making a mess, they won’t learn to take responsibility for their actions around the house (or the impacts on other people). When children learn how long it takes to do basic chores, they are more likely to adapt their own actions accordingly!

5. Chores are basic life skills

We are not talking about sending children down mines or up chimneys. Learning how to clean a basin, use a vacuum cleaner, load a dishwasher, choose a program on a washing machine, iron shirts and cook meals are all skills that children are going to need as adults. Sending our children out into the world as young adults who are competent at looking after themselves is one of our key aims as parents. Getting them to do chores from a young age is a great way to achieve this.

6. Shared chores build family teamwork

Sharing the workload and making a contribution to household functioning can help to build a stronger family team. A sense of shared family identity and a good family team spirit can help create a sense of belonging and smooth out the tougher bits of being part of a family.

These aren’t the only reasons children should do chores but I am hoping that these will inspire you to insist that your kids help out a bit more. Need more convincing? Read Are you over-parenting and doing too much for your children? Do let me know how you get on!

Photo of young girl mopping kitchen floor to illustrate article on the reasons children should do chores

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The Work/Parent Switch.

By Anita Cleare

Not sure where to start?

Practical tips on how to be the parent your child needs and create happy family dynamics (but still do your job!)

2 responses to “6 Reasons Your Children Should Do Chores”

  1. Jo Lilford says:

    This resonates 100% for me. I have two teens who contribute almost nothing, and the fight to get them to is so exhausting I just end up doing it myself. Definitely time to recalibrate.

    • AnitaCleare says:

      The breakthrough moment for me, Jo, was realising that I needed to change first. Once I stopped doing their laundry for them and changing their sheets and ironing their shirts and hoovering their rooms and making their sandwiches and scraping their plates, they started doing some of that for themselves – and that was a great step forward!

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