Parents with children under 18 are some of the busiest and most stressed-out people on the planet. Balancing the heavy demands of work and family life is becoming increasingly difficult, and many parents make it much harder on themselves than it has to be. The bottom line is that all kids, no matter what their age, can (and should!) be doing regular household chores to help out at home.
Why Kids Doing Household Chores Is Important
Why Parents Let Kids off Easy
In a majority of households both parents have to work outside the home. This leads to less time with children and a heavy sense of guilt for parents. During the few precious weekday hours they have with their children, they don’t enjoy being the bad guy and enforcing household chores.
Parents with young children also may prefer to do household chores themselves, because enlisting the help of a toddler often makes tasks longer, messier, and more stressful.
But in both cases, depriving children of the chance to do their fair share of the work at home is not doing them any favors.
Did you know that it is okay for kids to be bored? See why here!
Benefits of Household Chores for Children
Children who help out regularly at home learn to be proud of the chores they complete, especially if they receive ample praise for a job well done. Higher self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment and work ethic are found in children with responsibilities at home.
When household chores are delegated to every member of the family, children feel more a part of the family and develop an increased sense of family and personal responsibility.
Children who are responsible for their own belongings are more likely to feel a sense of ownership in them, causing them to take better care of their things and not take them for granted. They will also realize that things like clean, folded clothes do not just magically appear – someone has to wash and fold them.
Encouraging Kids to Do Chores Alone
Always remember that the goal of parenting is to encourage children to become capable, self-sufficient adults. A parent’s role, then, is to help children help themselves, including with household chores. Parents can do this by:
teaching younger children how to dress themselves, including socks, shoes, and coat
putting coat racks and storage bins low enough for children to reach them
providing stools for handwashing and reaching light switches
making sure that children know where to put away their own clothes and toys
creating charts (with pictures, if a child cannot read) to remind children of their daily responsibilities
Chores for Young Children
No matter what the age of the child, there are many age-appropriate household jobs for them to do. Even very young children can:
set the table
help with meal preparation
clear their places after meals
load the dishwasher
put clothes in the washer/dryer
put their folded clothes away
hang up their own coats when coming in the house
vacuum and dust (or at least help move things out of the way)
help clean mirrors and windows (toddlers can “clean” with a spray bottle of water and a rag)
make their beds
pick up their rooms
Children as young as one year old can begin to help with household chores. In fact, most toddlers enjoy helping out so parents should capitalize on that. If children get in the habit of helping out around the house in toddlerhood, getting them to pitch in as older children and teenagers will be much less of a struggle.
We love our Printable Visual Chore Chart!
Home can be the training ground for kids to learn life skills and self-reliance, but only if parents encourage it during childhood by enlisting their help in household chores.