When I was growing up, I always had chores. At a young age, I was taught to make my bed and clear my own plate. In junior high and high school, I had to clean the bathrooms and wash the mirrors once a week. Nowadays, though, it seems like kids don’t have as many household responsibilities—and this isn’t a good thing for anyone. Fatherly is reporting on new research that shows doing chores “instills a sense of mastery, self-reliance, responsibility, empathy, and respect for others—and the sooner you start, the better.”
The study looked at 84 kids at different stages in their life and found that the ones who started doing chores at ages 3 and 4 were more likely to achieve academic success, be self-sufficient, and have positive relationships. According to Richard Rende, a developmental psychologist, doing chores is a better strategy for achieving long-term positive academic and social results than participating in extracurricular activities are. “Parents today want their kids spending time on things that can bring them success, but ironically, we’ve stopped doing one thing that’s actually been a proven predictor of success—and that’s household chores,” Rende says.
While it might take some effort to get your children to take out the trash, mow the lawn, toss out old flowers, and empty the dishwasher on a regular basis, it’s worth the effort. Encourage your kids to be a helper, focus on the family and how their efforts benefit everyone, and turn the chores into a game. Rende recommends leaving money out of it, as “financially incentivizing kids for being a helpful member of the family sends the wrong message.”
Learn how to give your children the tools to thrive in the world by reading Rende’s book, Raising Can-Do Kids.
What chores did you have to do as a child? Tell us in the comments!