Rediscovered Families

14 Ways Chores Will Benefit Your Children

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Household work can empower children if implemented in the right spirit. Your kids may complain, but chores will actually benefit them. Just don't tell them we told you so! I really like this list of benefits, but number 13 is definitely my favorite!

Today I am delighted to welcome Kelvin Belfon from Going Uncomplicated. Kelvin writes about simple living and encourages his readers to focus on the things that really matter like family and health. I would strongly recommend you visit his awesome blog.

Over to Kelvin….

Did your parents make you do chores? If so, do you remember shedding those long crocodile tears before doing them? Oh, those dreaded chores! I remember mine as though it were yesterday.

Before school, I’d have to help feed the animals. We generally had chickens, sheep, goats, rabbits and pigs. Then I sweep the leaves from the yard.

In the evenings, it was my responsibility to wash the dishes since there was no dishwasher. And, in my culture, you weren’t finished washing dishes until you swept the floor, wiped down the cabinets and counters and scrubbed the sink!

On the weekends we cleaned the house, sometimes literally from top-to-bottom, and did laundry. Because I was older, I would iron all the kids’ school uniforms on Sunday nights – over 20 white shirts, khaki pants, and skirts. I seemed like an eternity getting it done.

The truth is, I had it easy compared to others. Yet I still complained. I thought all those chores would have killed me. So, I vowed to never make my children do any if ever I became a parent.

Then I grew up and got married.

To my surprise, I actually had picked up a few skills from doing all those mundane household activities! Those years taught me discipline. I learned to take pride in my work. And, in many ways, chores helped character development.

I can’t believe I just said that!

But it’s true.

Household work can empower children if implemented in the right spirit. This has become clearer to me now that I am a parent.

14 Ways Chores Can Benefit Your Children

  1. They teach responsibility
  2. They teach discipline
  3. They teach good work ethics
  4. They teach teamwork
  5. They teach grit, which helps children learn to finish what they’ve started
  6. They teach problem solving skills
  7. They teach independence
  8. They teach ownership and caring for things
  9. They teach the value of contributing to the family
  10. They help children discover their purpose
  11. They help children take pride in their accomplishments
  12. They create teachable moments
  13. They create opportunities for parents and children to bond
  14. They create opportunities to fail and succeed in a safe environment

Resist the urge

Yes, chores have received a bad rap. They’ve been abused and used to mistreat and punish children. And if your childhood experience with chores links to any of these, the very thought of them most likely still conjures up painful memories.

I must admit, getting my children to do chores is a labor-intensive activity. It would be much easier to do them myself. And that would require no supervision, no frustration, no emotion… and definitely, it would be done much faster!

But what would that teach my child?

Today, I give my children chores without shame. But that’s not to say that I don’t struggle with this issue. How much housework do you give a 7 and 4 year old? In our home our little ones regularly contribute in the following ways:

  • Helping sort laundry
  • Setting the table before meals
  • Vacuuming, dusting and polishing the furniture
  • Emptying the dishwasher and putting things away that are within their reach
  • Helping to put away groceries by washing the fruits and veggies and organizing cans in the pantry
  • Cleaning their room (this includes putting away toys, clothes, etc.)
  • Emptying the smaller trash cans around the house into the larger kitchen garbage can
  • Raking the leaves in the backyard

We have normal children. Like many others, they are not always pretty playful and jolly, and occasionally, shed tears.

But that’s ok.

Focus on the bigger goal

Household chores need to get done. Period. That said, doing chores is more than just having our children clean their room or taking out the trash. There is a bigger goal.

Doing chores creates opportunity for parents to connect with their children. Informal yet deep and meaningful conversations spontaneously spark while working together in the same space. This healthy interaction is priceless, especially as children grow up and become more expressive and self-reflective.

In the same manner, household chores affirm children as vital members of the family. Children learn that they have a valuable role and their contribution is appreciated. This further tethers children to the family as it fosters a sense of belonging.

Also chores prepare children for adulthood, a major function of family life. The ability to begin and finish something, doing it in a focused manner, and even doing it correctly, builds character. Even more, chores help children become better partners or spouses because it helps them understand what’s involved in caring for a house.

Let’s resist the urge to throw away this valuable concept altogether on account of past hurts. Work together with you child. Laugh and make it fun! Treasure these memorable moments. In the process, you will be molding men and women who can do for themselves in years to come.

  • What chores did you do as a child?
  • What helpful tips do you have to help children do their chores?

Kelvin-Web-1Kelvin Belfon is a native of the island nation of Grenada. He and his wife and 4 children live in Denver, Colorado. Kelvin is the author of the blog Going Uncomplicated  where he writes about the art of simple living and focusing on the things that matters most such as family, relationships and health. You can connect with him via Twitter  and Facebook

19 thoughts on “14 Ways Chores Will Benefit Your Children”

  1. I grew up on a ranch, so of course we had chores! Every Saturday my sisters and I helped Mom clean the house. When I was in high school, I took over the laundry. All three of us helped with dishes. And some days we had to go move cows with Dad.

    My eight year old has both paid and unpaid chores. We want her to learn that money comes from work. To get paid each week, she has to pick up and vacuum her bedroom, make sure recyclables make it into the bag during the week and take it out when it gets full, and clean her bathroom sink and counter. Unpaid chores include unloading the dishwasher and putting away her clean clothes. Sometimes I need help with things above and beyond the regular. I often give her a bonus for those job, but not always. Another rule for getting paid is to do her work cheerfully. She doesn’t have to sing and dance like Cinderella, but there can’t be eye rolling and sass.

    Woah, my comment was a blog post! Hot topic for me! 🙂

    1. Hi Kayla!
      Yeh, it’s hard to be raised on a farm and not have chores!
      About your 8 year old you said, “We want her to learn that money comes from work.” Some parents choose to pay for chores while others don’t. But I think the principle you’ve highlighted remains the same. If you want money, then you must work for it, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
      Thanks for sharing!

    2. Sharon Harding

      It is a great way to teach children the value of money. When they see how much work goes into earning those precious coins they are less likely to fritter the money away.

  2. Such a great article Kelvin and it’s an issue I think on often, with three young children.

    This is at the heart of it, “I must admit, getting my children to do chores is a labor-intensive activity. It would be much easier to do them myself.” So true, it requires commitment to establish a chore routine and not buckle under the groans and complaints of young children.

    1. Thank you Liz!

      Yes, getting our children to do chores isn’t easy. I can be easily swayed by the sad faces of my little ones. Yes, sometimes I’m weak. But the long term benefits keeps me going. As you said, it requires commitment to stay the course.

  3. I am visiting from The Hip Homeschool Hop. My daughter has been protesting chores here lately so this post was a wonderful and timely read. I actually enjoyed it so much that I plan to share it on my blog’s Facebook page.

    1. I’m glad it help Stephanie. We all struggle with our children’s resistance from time to time. Thank you for sharing! Sharon and I appreciate it very much.

  4. I believe children should help out with some chores. My children help set the table and my son helps out with breakfasts, but I should set up some official chores I think. It can be tough encouraging them to do chores but they actually like it when they do.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

    1. Sometimes calling a family meeting can help make it official. Tell them how important their contribution is to the family. Get their input, decide on the frequency, reward (should you choose pay them), and make it fun! You said that they actually do like it already. So you are on your way!

  5. Our kids do the dishes every night among other things.
    Some days I feel I ask too much, but I think I just need to divide the labour differently. My older girls do a lot more than my younger two.

    1. Like I said to Karen, call a family meeting to discuss your household chores. Sometimes getting our children input can help. Then divide the work accordingly. Thanks for sharing Jess!

  6. I’m lucky that my kids see the benefits of chores.We have a schedule and all muck in, even my 6 year old.Thanks for taking part in the Parenting Pin-It Party.

  7. Chores definitely benefit the whole family!

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  8. That’s a great list, and something I must remember the next time I am tempted to just complete the chores myself 🙂

    My 3 kids know that their number one chore is to keep their bedrooms tidy. They also put away their clean clothes, and sometimes help fold the towels.

    We also have a pet dog, and the older two have the responsibility of filling up the dog’s food and water bowls. They whinge about it, but we remind them that they agreed to helping look after the dog when we agreed to a pet.

    Great article 🙂

    1. Natalie, I love it!

      Keeping the children’s bedroom clean is a BIG deal. In our home, it can easily turn into a war zone. Then having to tidy up could take a very long time. So I’m glad you’ve make it a priority for your children.

      The dog is classic. It teaches them responsibility. You asked for a pet…then you must help care for it. I love it.

      Thanks for sharing!

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