I’ve been joking since my daughter was born that as soon as she was old enough we’d put her to work around the house so she could earn her keep. Except I wasn’t really joking. I had daily and weekly chores growing up, and I think they’re pretty important to give all kids a dose of reality and responsibility. Now that my daughter is nearing her third birthday, that blessed day has come. She can handle a few relatively easy, and extremely non-physical, household chores : )
She makes her bed every morning, feeds the dogs, and helps unload the dishwasher. I can’t wait until she’s old enough to wield a shovel and help with some of the other dog duties in the backyard – pun very much intended. But in all seriousness, I think all kids should be tasked with a few chores to help around the house. Here’s why:
Teaches important life skills
Cooking, cleaning, and laundry are pretty essential life skills. Why not get your kids learning these while they’re young, as opposed to when they move out of the house and are struggling to make scrambled eggs.
Encourages teamwork and partnership
Being an active member of your family’s team sets your kid up to be a great future team player, co-worker, and eventually life partner.
Boosts their self-esteem
My daughter loves to help out. And even though her version of sweeping the floor usually just means spreading dirt around, it makes her happy to feel like she’s pitching in. Chores can be empowering and a big self-esteem booster for kids.
Creates a sense of responsibility
To steal a famous line from my Dad, “you have to take pride in your belongings and your space”. Although he was usually yelling this at me in disbelief while staring at my disaster of a teenage bedroom, it did actually stick with me. (Thanks Dad!) Getting your kids to clean up their own rooms, or pack their backpacks and lunches for school, helps foster personal responsibility and independence.
Less for Mom and Dad to do!
A little help from the kids means a little less work for you, meaning more time for family fun. It’s a win-win!
So, be realistic about what types of chores your kid is ready for, but don’t be afraid to put them to work. They might just thank you for it one day.