16 Dec Should My Kids Do Chores? The Answer is YES!
“With great power, comes great responsibility.” Do you recognize this saying? If you are a parent to a superhero fan (or one yourself) you may know it from the 2002 Spiderman movie. Parents have the enormous responsibility of navigating the childhood of their children, providing guidance and support, and raising them to be successful adults. Parenting is a great (super) power, and it does come with A LOT of responsibility. Day-to-day parenting can be overwhelming with the amount of tasks that need to be accomplished each day. Here is good news parents: you don’t have to do it all! When your kids do chores, they are helping! Not only are children developmentally capable of pitching in with chores around the house, chores give children the opportunity to learn to take care of themselves and others.
By giving your children chores it instills self-efficacy, teaches work ethic, responsibility, life skills, and contributes to self-esteem. The best news is there isn’t just one right age for chores in order to reap these benefits.
When Kids Do Chores, it builds self-efficacy
Self-efficacy is the belief that one’s own actions can lead to successful outcomes. In other words, children trust their own ability and believe they are capable of accomplishing tasks and achieving goals. That’s what we want, right? Chores are a fundamental way to instill self-efficacy and raise happy adults. This TED Talk by Julie Lythcott-Haims, “How to Raise Successful Kids Without Over Parenting” gives a great overview of the connection between self-efficacy, chores, and happiness.
Chores allow children to test-drive their own abilities. This gives them the opportunity to know what they can do, and to learn the skills they don’t. Parents’ role in creating self-efficacy is to allow for this learning to happen. Children may need to be taught how to do a chore, (i.e. laundry, how to load the dishwasher) but afterward, it’s time to let them work. This means, that once chores are assigned, parents need to take a step back and allow their children to complete them independently.
What are the benefits when kids do chores?
So, we know that chores are important. Along with self-efficacy, chores teach work ethic, responsibility, life skills, and contribute to healthy self-esteem. One of the goals of parenting is to raise children into successful adults. Work ethic, responsibility, life skills, and healthy self-esteem are all qualities present in successful adults.
Work Ethic & Responsibility
Chores help develop work ethic and responsibility because it teaches discipline, accountability, and hard work. In order to complete chores, children will need to manage their time to ensure they can get them done. This may mean getting off the Xbox ten minutes earlier! Now, this will not seem like a benefit to most kids, but doing something even when we don’t enjoy it, helps create work ethic.
Life Skills & Self-esteem
Along with work ethic and responsibility, chores teach children life skills and contribute to healthy self-esteem. Children’s chores encompass taking care of themselves and their belongings like making their beds, cleaning their rooms, doing laundry, and washing dishes. These are simple tasks that need to be taught before your child moves into the college dorm room. Chores provide the opportunity to teach them. Now how does this instill healthy self-esteem? When children feel competent, trusted, and accomplished, they feel good about themselves!
How do we start chores at home?
Remember when I said there isn’t one right age for chores? Well, that’s true. However, what we do know is that the earlier we start these practices at home, the better. (If your children are already teenagers, it’s not too late to start!) If you are just getting started with chores at home, start with 1-2 tasks for your children to complete daily that contribute to taking care of themselves and their belongings. (i.e. making their own lunch, cleaning their room). As they master these chores, or grow older, the chores can be added to and changed to best suit the needs of the child and family. Below is a list of age-appropriate chores.
Preschool Age Children
- Putting toys away
- Watering plants
- Setting/Clearing the table
- Putting clothes in the hamper
- Dusting furniture
Elementary Age Children
- Feeding family’s pets
- Making bed
- Loading/Unloading dishwasher
- Fold laundry
- Make lunch
- Doing the laundry
- Walking the dog
- Wash the car
- Vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, dusting
- Cleaning the bathroom and/or kitchen
Tip for Parents
Your kids may ask for an allowance for completing chores. I recommend holding off on tying your child’s allowance to chores. The goal is for children to complete chores because it’s the right thing to do for themselves and the family. An allowance changes the motivation. For teenagers, it’s more than appropriate to reward them for completing tasks that are outside of their normal expectations; i.e. pulling weeds in the yard.
As you start to implement chores, do what will work for your family. Things to keep in mind are to be consistent with expectations, give lots of praise, withhold criticism, and don’t expect perfection. Your kids are learning and will need patience and guidance. Visit our blog for more successful parenting tips.
Samantha is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who earned her Master’s degree at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. She is originally from Windsor, Ontario, Canada and has recently moved to the Chicagoland area by way of Detroit, Michigan. She has been providing clinical therapy services for over 3 years in a variety of settings including, home-based, school-based and outpatient settings. Prior to joining North Shore Family Services, Samantha has worked effectively with diverse populations of infants, young children, adolescents, young pregnant mothers and families struggling with ranges of concerns. She has specialized in cognitive, social and emotional development of infants, toddlers and their families in the first 3 years of life, focusing on attachment styles and child-parent relationships. She also has significant experience working with children, adolescents and adults who have experienced varying degrees of trauma, various types of physical and/or sexual abuse, developmental delays, abandonment and/or neglect, dysfunctional family systems, grief and loss, anxiety, self-esteem issues, depression, PTSD, ADHD, and other behavioral concerns. Samantha believes that no two clients are the same and as a mental health clinician, it is important to meet the client where they are at.