Consider yourself fortunate if your child voluntarily does chores around the house. Most kids will do or say anything just to get out of them. If you have a child who doesn’t like doing chores, you’re probably heard every single excuse in the book by now, from the very predictable “I’m sick” to “I shouldn’t do housework, I’m a kid!”. However, it’s absolutely important that your kids help out at home, for the following reasons:
Chores teach kids important life skills
As a parent, you need to make them understand that doing the dishes, sweeping the floor or just making their bed are training exercises for real life. Doing these household chores on a regular basis teach them what they need to become industrious and responsible adults.
Doing household chores can help build their self-esteem
When you assign your child a chore and he/she completes it, it gives him/her a major sense of accomplishment, which, in turn, helps build self-esteem. I myself have a child who I designated as the one responsible for drying the dishes from the dishwasher. It’s amusing how she gets that look of impatience on her face when the dishwasher takes too long to finish, then that look of satisfaction when she’s done wiping the dishes.
Chores instil the value of keeping everything clean and orderly
If you just allow your child to make a mess and not do anything about it afterwards, that will give them the impression that being messy and disorganised is okay. Kids being kids, they are entitled to make a mess, but they should also be taught to clean things up and return things to their proper places afterwards. Cleaning up after making a mess is a household chore they should develop as a habit into adulthood.
Chores teach kids how important routine and consistency are
Let’s say that you’ve given your child the responsibility of feeding the dog or watering the plants around the house. Before anything else, you should impress upon him/her the importance of doing it consistently, and what the consequences will be if they fail at their job. Tell them how miserable the dog would be if he/she misses a feeding, or how house plants will wilt and die if he/she fails to water them. An understanding of these consequences is likely to prompt the child to follow a routine and stick to it faithfully, and that is one thing that they can carry with them throughout their lives.
Chores teach time management skills
Chores help children gain precious time management experience that is absolutely essential in adulthood. Your kid has homework and extracurricular activities. Put household chores into the equation, and that will teach them how to manage their time better so they could do all of the things they have to do within any given day.
Chores make your child feel like part of the team
Personally, this is what I think is the most important reason to have your child help out at home. If your child asks why he/she has to do chores, this is the one thing that you should make them understand first, that they, being a part of the household “team”, have parts to play just like everyone else. When kids are working alongside parents and siblings, it gives them a powerful lesson in working as a member of a team. It also helps strengthen bonds between the members of that team, especially when parents find ways to make household chores fun, and therefore something to look forward to.
If there’s one thing that you should never do when getting your kids to help out at home, it’s paying them for their efforts. Doing household chores is not a job. Helping each other out at home when it comes to chores is about supporting one another and being a family team, and your child should totally understand that.