I am the oldest of 4 girls raised by a single mother, who worked 2 and sometimes even 3 jobs at the same time. We all took on chores early on, and learned to help mom in any way we could at a very young age. There was no way our household would have survived, and that mom would have kept her sanity if some of the daily responsibilities had not been taken on by us.
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1. Chores allow kids to see themselves as important contributors to the family.
A few weeks ago, I overheard my son jokingly telling the girls that mom and dad had done it the right way, by giving themselves ‘six-built-in-slaves’, referring to himself and his sisters. When he noticed I had walked in the kitchen, he smiled and said he was grateful we had taught him and his sisters to contribute and not to be lazy. This was a big win for me.
My kids understand that every time they sweep the kitchen, clean the bathrooms and take out the trash, they are taking part in the running of this household. They understand that these trivial tasks keep our home clean, comfortable and pleasant.
2. Chores equip kids with skills to function outside of their parents home later in life.
If you get a chance, head to twitter and search #adulting. These are some of the tweets I saw today:
- I had to iron my own clothes
- I made myself tea
- today I learned to make spaghetti in the microwave
Though the intention of the hashtag is to be cute and comical, we should also consider its reality. By not teaching our kids simple tasks like ironing, cooking and the use of common household appliances we are stunting their growth into adulthood.
As a mother of 2 adult children, I can say that household chores have taught my kids leadership, teamwork, and time management skills to name a few. These skills have already proven beneficial at their jobs, and at school.
Check out this post from The End in Mind for more life skills learned through chores.
3. Family responsibilities teach kids basic discipline.
When we make our kids responsible for daily household tasks, and later hold them accountable we teach them to build a strong work ethic.
As a teen I would occasionally try to exempt myself from household chores because I had a paper to write, or a longer shift at work. Sometimes mom would comply, however most of the time, I was still required to pull my own weight.
I am grateful she pushed me. This taught me that my family depended on my contribution, and I learned to manage household, school and work responsibilities at the same time.
4. Chores can help a child build a sense of self-reliance.
When my kids were younger, I was one of those mothers that never wanted her kids to grow up and move away. I was determined to do absolutely everything for them, and to keep them safe at home, with me forever. Thankfully, as they got older, and my husband and I were quickly outnumbered, I came to my senses and realized that it was more important for them to be self-reliant, than for me to hold on to their hands for the rest of their lives.
When we choose to do everything for our children, we rob them of the learning experience. Learning to cook, to change a tire, and balance checkbook will be easier later on, if we start with basic skills like making their own bed, putting away their toys, and dusting. These are things I taught my kids as early as 2 years old.
If you need chore ideas based on age check out this article from Focus on the Family.
5. Household responsibilities teach kids to be more responsive to the needs of others.
Besides managing our homes and families; we homeschool moms have something extra on our plates. Some of us are running a business and/or keeping a full-time job at the same time. We need the help.
Just like my mom enlisted my sisters and I to help with a few things around the house, I enlisted my six kids.
As they’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed I don’t have to remind them as much as I once did. I often catch one them making dinner, washing dishes or folding my laundry. They’ve learned to respond to my needs, before I even communicate them.
Chores have even taught my kids to be more compassionate towards each other as they help one another finish their assigned tasks.
What have your children learned through chores?