The Importance of Getting 'Someone' Else to do Your Chores, Like Your Kids

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Sometimes parents wonder if they should really give their kids chores. After all, isn't it the parents responsibility to manage the household? And don't kids need an opportunity to 'just be kids?'

Of course, today's kids have really busy schedules too. Many of them rush around from one activity to the next with little time to clean the house or mow the lawn.

Despite those concerns, however, giving your child chores may be one of the most important things you'll ever do.

Kids who do chores learn responsibility and gain important life skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Benefits Kids Gain from Doing Chores

Kids feel competent when they do their chores. Whether they're making their bed or they're sweeping the floor, helping out around the house gives them a sense of accomplishment.

Doing chores also helps kids feel like they're part of the team. Pitching in and helping family members is good for them and it encourages them to be good citizens.

Research from a well-known 75-year Harvard study examined what psychosocial variables and biological processes from earlier in life predict health and well-being later in life. Researchers found that children who were given chores became more independent adults. 

Chores for Preschoolers

Preschool children can be given simple chores that involve picking up after themselves. Chores should include picking up their toys each day.

They can also begin to learn how to pick up their room and put their dishes away after a meal. These sorts of chores teach them that they need to be responsible for their own messes.

Young children can respond well to a sticker chart to help remind them to do their chores. Since preschoolers usually can’t read, a chart with pictures of each chore can be a reminder to them.

Then once they’ve completed each chore, they can earn a sticker. A sticker can be enough of an incentive for young children while older children will need more of a reward to motivate them.

Chores for School Age Children

When children begin attending school, their responsibility with chores should increase as well. School age children should continue with chores that relate to picking up after themselves. For example, teach children to put their shoes and backpacks away when they get home from school.

As chores become more complex, teach them in a step-by-step manner how to do each task. For example, if a child is expected to put his own clothes away, teach him where to put the clothes and discuss your expectations. Praise them for their efforts and encourage them to keep practicing. Don’t expect perfection.

Chores for Tweens

There's no need to reward a tween for every task he completes. Picking up after himself and cleaning his room, for example, are part of pitching in and helping the family.

But, paying your tween an allowance for doing extra chores can be a good way to start teaching your child financial responsibility. If you don't want to pay your tween real money, create a token economy system.

Chores for Teenagers

Teenagers need chores that will prepare them for the real world. Assign chores such as meal preparation, cleaning the bathroom, mowing the lawn, or doing the laundry. These life skills will be important after high school so your teen can live independently.

Giving your teen an allowance can motivate him to do chores. It can also serve as a way to teach your teen about how to manage money.

Make an allowance system similar to the way your teen will earn money at a job. Provide payment one time per week.

Don't give out any loans and don't hand out money if your teen hasn't earned it.


Harvard Medical News: Sparing chores spoils children and their future selves, study says.

Michigan State University Extension: Benefits of Kids Doing Chores.

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