I had a dinner at a friend’s house the other night with my daughter and I was shocked to see that my friend’s daughter never lifted a finger. Not once the entire time we were there. My friend made up her daughter’s plate, poured her milk, even cut up her food for her. Her daughter is 11. After dinner my friend cleared all the plates and rinsed them and put them in the dishwasher while starting a load of laundry and apologizing to me for running around the house instead of sitting to have coffee with me. I asked her why her daughter wasn’t doing of the chores and she told me that her daughter doesn’t do chores. She doesn’t even brush her own hair.
I’m not sure at what point it became normal for parents to do everything for their kids, but parents your kids should absolutely be doing chores around the house. Even younger kids can help with small tasks that are appropriate for chubby fingers and poor coordination. At the very least kids should be picking up their toys and cleaning up after themselves. And that’s not just my opinion. Child development experts agree that chores are necessary for kids.
Chores Teach Responsibility
Kids who are expected to do chores learn responsibility and they learn how to be independent. Both of those things are critical life skills that kids should be learning from the time that they can first start helping with chores. Even a small child can learn to make their bed or get their own cup of juice. But doing chores teaches kids other skills too.
Chores teach kids how to solve problems and how to negotiate the world on their own. When they aren’t expected to do chores they don’t learn how to get themselves out of everyday situations. I wish that this was a made up example but it really happened:
A new recruit in my husband’s command in the military who was 20 years old showed up for physical training without his physical training uniform. When he was asked why he said that all his physical training uniforms were dirty and his mom wasn’t allowed to visit so he had no way to do laundry. Parents is it not ok to do that to your kids. Teach them how to do laundry. And how to do the dishes. Make coffee. Cook basic meals. Vacuum the house. Pick up their clothes. You are not helping them when you deny them the chance to learn responsibility, independence, and basic self-care.
If you haven’t expected your kids to do chores before there is no better time to start than tomorrow. Make up a chore chart and start using it. Your kids can start with basic chores and keep moving up until they can manage complex chores all by themselves like shopping or running errands. Reduce your stress and improve the lives of your children by expecting them to do some chores.