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Tips for Parents: The Value of Chores | PDF

How much time a day do your children spend doing chores?  A recent study by the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland shows that kids are spending less time on chores than ever before: a mere 24 minutes a day.  What does this decrease mean?

Many Factors

A number of reasons could be responsible for this decline: more efficient appliances, a recognized focus on the importance of spending more time reading, doing homework or participating in extracurricular activities; or, with the hurried and often frantic life families with children live, it may be that no one has time to attack those cobwebs. 

The Value of Chores

In the middle of our many responsibilities, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that chores can teach kids valuable lessons.  Responsibilities such as cooking, scrubbing the toilet, and mending torn clothes teach both boys and girls important skills they’ll need when they move out on their own—and don’t have a parent there to do it for them. 

It’s often a given that girls will learn at least some of these skills.  But what about boys?  In a society where more and more woman are joining the workforce to make ends meet, teaching your boys how to do household chores now will mean that he can share the chores with his spouse or partner when he’s grown…and you can guess how many arguments that will prevent!

Need another reason to get the kids working around the house?  Even though they’ll likely complain in the beginning, if they stick with it, they’ll learn responsibility and gain a sense of accomplishment for contributing to the family. 

Not convinced that enforcing chores will be worth all the complaining?  Here are several more tips for parents that might make you decide otherwise:

  • More physical activity with vacuuming, raking leaves and scrubbing.  This is important at a time when childhood obesity is at an all time high and most kids aren’t getting enough exercise.
  • Science lessons.  Did you know that your kitchen is a science lab where kids learn important lessons about measurement, temperature, and chemical reactions?  Household cleaning products can also teach kids lessons about acidity and alkalinity, the hardness of different materials, and chemical reactions.
  • They might have fun!  Don’t believe it?  You might find your child is a professional chef in the making, a future clothing designer, or a promising scientist.  Chores such as cooking and sewing might help them find a passion they’ll enjoy for the rest of their life.
  • Chores teach kids the satisfaction that comes from serving others.  If they know how to cook, clean, and do yard work, they’ll likely surprise you every now and then by doing your work in addition to their own.  And the bright, happy smiles delivered with the breakfast in bed they’ve prepared are priceless.

Chores and Allowance

Sometimes, the only reward kids need for participating in family responsibilities is the satisfaction they’ll gain from being part of the family.  However, you might find that linking chores with allowance is a great way to teach them about work, pay and personal finance.  For more information, view our parenting videos:

Children and Money Part I

Children and Money Part II

For more information:

You may find these related Tips for Parents helpful:

Tips for Parents: Behavior

Tips for Parents: Discipline - Lovingly in Charge

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