The other day, we had a get together with old friends. There was this friend’s daughter, a thirteen year old, who had her birthday on the same day. She lived abroad with her parents since her birth, and recently moved back to India. I had always known her as a sweet kid who loved to interact, and make friends easily. She was having her fun time with the gang of kids. And then she came to the kitchen for a glass of water, and observed me arranging dinner. “Auntie do you need help?” I was spell-bound! This kid is good in mixing with people, good in academics, and even had the empathy and manners to offer me help with my chores. These days, most parents want their kids to concentrate on things that will bring them success – good academic scores, brilliance in performing arts, and excellence in sports etc. Her parents must have been training her in life skills as well!
Why must kids do household chores? I found an interesting article published in the Wall Street Journal. It mentions that decades of research shows the benefits of chores—academically, emotionally and even professionally. Involving children in household chores at an early age helps build a lasting sense of responsibility and self-reliance. By taking active role in household tasks, kids begin to take care of themselves and learn skills that comes in handy as they grow up. A child may not always be the star student or athlete, but they get to realize that they can contribute to the family. This sense of self-worth alone is reason enough why kids must do household chores.
What are some of the tasks where you could involve your child? Start with some very simple habits – arranging toys, bringing back their plates and bowls to the kitchen after a meal etc. Gradually, you get them to make their bed, tidying up the study table etc. With time, kids learn to do these tasks well. And as kids grow up, one can introduce few more like watering plants, and helping with dishes. All you need to do is stick to chores that are age-appropriate. Here are a good set of guidelines for age-appropriate chores.
Here are 5-reasons why kids must do household chores:
1.Responsibility: Kids need to understand that housework and chores are a part of life. They must learn that after playing, its their responsibility to rearrange the toys back to their respective places. To switch off the lights and fans when not required, to put their clothes for laundry etc. Life does not treat us same always. They have their parents to help them now, but in future they will need to take responsibility of their chores.
2. Self-sufficiency: As society changes, one needs to adopt and survive well. When kids learn to do things for themselves, they develop a positive self identity, and it makes them feel competent and worthy. A kid who learns to help himself with meals as a tween, will definitely be able to prepare a meal as an adult.
3. Empathy: Kids who take part in chores become more empathic. They learn the importance of contributing to family. This in turn gets ingrained in them. They later understand the needs of others, and contribute to the society, . They are more likely to be well-adjusted, have better relationships with friends and family and be more successful in their careers as adults.
4. Confidence: As kids grow up helping with household chores, they gain confidence in their own abilities. Taking up a task, finishing it and doing it well to the satisfaction of adults boost the confidence of kids. They realize that they can actually accomplish tasks like adults. Initially, the joy the kids get out of this is tremendous. More importantly, it subconsciously fills kids with confidence – something that helps in academics, sports and other tasks kids take up.
5. Better team-players: When you get your child to participate in household chores, it is teamwork. The family is the team! Every member of the family, including the children, does his or her bit. Still, does it really help the child in any way, you wonder. The answer is a resounding yes. Participating in household chores along with the rest of the family makes kids better team players. And teamwork is fundamental to success in life. Whether it doing a science project in school, participating in school cultural events, or sports – teamwork becomes the name of the game. And beyond school and college, teamwork is supremely important for success in one’s professional life.
Why must kids do household chores? Participation, following instructions, ownership are some of the aspects that are naturally ingrained when kids help with household chores. When you tell your child to water the plants everyday, the child owns the task. For some, it brings immediate sense of responsibility. For others, it may take a few days to get into a habit. Yet, at some point, ownership kicks in. Likewise, other traits such as tendency to volunteer, follow and execute instructions, and taking a lead – all get gradually ingrained in them. They eventually start enjoying their part of work. They develop into responsible, self sufficient, empathic, confident adults who are better team-players- traits that are very much required for overall success in life!