Newborns enter the world without clothes, without judgement, without self-control and without a care in the world. It is not in their best interest to forgo maturation and never develop the skills needed to traverse life successfully. Parenting with intention is critical to producing productive, civic minded, well- educated young adults. Teaching and modeling responsibility, delayed gratification, impulse control and life skills is not for the faint of heart. It is taxing to demand and monitor chores for children. Do not be tempted to think your child is too young or too busy to complete chores. Resist the urge to allow your child to skip out on chores.
Research by Marty Rossman confirms that involving children in household tasks at an early age can have a positive impact later in life. According to Mr. Rossman, “the best predictor of young adults’ success in their mid-20’s was that they participated in household tasks when they were three or four.” When children contribute to the family, they or more likely to feel more capable, more responsible and better prepared to function independently in the world. The new term, “Adulting” speaks to the ability to competently take on adult responsibility. That ability begins with participating in household chores throughout childhood.
Chores should be done regularly, and done well with limited prompting. Over time, a well-trained child will be able to initiate and complete assigned tasks without nagging and cajoling. Children are responsible for completing the work. Parents should communicate what consequences will occur if the work is not done or not done to predetermined specifications.
Assign chores based on the best fit for your child’s age and add some that are meaningful to the running of the house. Include chores that encompass life skills that a child should be proficient in before leaving home. Allow your child to join in the discussion when revising or adding chores to encourage buy-in and decrease resistance. Household tasks must be completed regardless of school work load, sports obligations or other extracurricular activities. There is no “Get of jail free card!” for completing assigned duties. Parents must send the message that the house runs smoothly when everyone completes their job without excuse. Children will also learn that caring for the home is as important as school and athletic skills. Chores represent lessons that will serve your child well later in life.
Check out the links below for age-appropriate chores and chart.