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Chores: Good for Kids, Good for You

March 22, 2015
Plain English Version

choresA recent study showed that most adults did household chores when they were young. The same study showed that most kids today do not do household chores.

Kids nowadays spend a good deal of their time on homework and after-school activities.

An expert said, “Parents today want their kids spending time on things that can bring them respect. We have stopped doing the one thing that has proven to bring success. That is doing household chores.”

One study found that young adults who began chores at ages 3 and 4 were more likely to succeed. They were compared to no-chore kids. They had better family relations, did better in school, did better at work and were more self-sufficient.

Personal happiness is said to come from strong relationships. It begins by learning to be kind and helpful at home.

If your kids say they have to skip chores to do homework, experts say do not let them off the hook. That tells your child that grades are more important than caring about others. “What may seem like small messages at the moment,” an expert says, “add up to big messages over time.”

Here are some important ideas from experts:

Watch your language.  Thank young children for being a “helper,” not just “helping.” It creates a positive identity.

Schedule chore time. Write chores on a calendar that everyone can see (for example, posted in the kitchen).

Game it. Start small and have young children earn new “levels” of responsibilities, such as going from sorting clothes to earning the right to use the washing machine.

Keep allowances and chores separate. Do not make chores a business transaction.

The types of tasks matter.  Chores should be routine, focused on taking care of the family and not focused solely on self-care.

Talk about chores as shared tasks.  Instead of saying, “Do your chores,” say, “let’s do our chores.”

Give chores a PR (public relations) boost. Do not tie chores to punishments. If you complain about doing the dishes, so will your children.

Source: The Wall Street Journal March 13, 2015

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