There is something about this picture that gets me thinking about Tom Sawyer. Okay, so this is a boy – my son to be exact – painting a wall and not a fence. Regardless, I love this picture. My son loves to work and do productive tasks around our house. Based on conversations I have had with other moms, I have realized that many moms today do not allow or expect their children to perform real chores around their homes. I do not understand this way of thinking. Why should children be excluded from contributing to the upkeep of the household? How are parents preparing their children for adult life if they are not equipping them with basic household skills?
This is something each family has to work out for itself, but I thought I would share several reasons why I think your children should be doing chores.
- Doing chores teaches valuable skills. A mom recently told me that she does not allow her school-aged children to help fold the laundry because they will not do it right and the laundry will be a mess. My reply to her is that they have to learn to do it right, which can only be done by trying. Allowing them to do a chore allows them to master that chore.
- Doing chores teaches responsibility. Requiring your children to do chores allows them to develop responsibility that they will take into adulthood. Children learn that they are responsible for certain tasks and that they must complete those tasks. After a while responsibility becomes a habit.
- Doing chores instills the values of cleanliness, hard work, and order. Expecting and teaching these values will likely develop them in your children.
- Doing chores can build self-esteem. Think of how you feel when you accomplish a task. Completing tasks can give your child a tremendous sense of accomplishment that they will likely want to repeat.
- Doing chores teaches time management and self-discipline. This is quite important as many adults have not mastered these skills yet. Being able to plan the time to complete chores and follow through on their completion is a valuable life skill.
- When children do chores, parents do less chores. On its surface this sounds like a benefit for parents only. However, parents with more time and well run houses are generally less stressed and have more time for the important things in life. As the old saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”