As a parent, it’s tempting to let your children enjoy the carefree days of childhood without any real responsibility. We all want our children to be happy, and what’s more enjoyable than playing and creating without any obligation or accountability?
Feelings of accomplishment, self-sufficiency, and independence contribute to a child’s enjoyment and continue to fuel a sense of self-worth and happiness as they grow into adulthood. And children are more than capable of “working” and still enjoying the process and the benefits for their developing minds.
By using chores to teach your children skills that will help them navigate the road to well-adjusted adulthood, you create a strong, reliable foundation for a satisfying life. Starting at an early age and letting your children progressively take on more responsibility will help develop positive habits and develop the life skills children learn through chores that will last a lifetime.
Valuable Life Skills Children Learn Through Chores
The words “I can” may just be two of the most important words your child will ever say to themselves, especially early in life. Allowing your children to complete household chores on their own helps to develop that all-important grit and “can do” attitude. Merely knowing that they can accomplish a task helps your children trust their abilities and makes them more willing to take on other tasks that may be unfamiliar or appear difficult.
Keep in mind that completing a task or chore alone is enough; their attempts don’t need to be perfect or even well done. The sense of self-sufficiency comes from achieving something, regardless of how well it’s done. While it’s okay to guide them and help when necessary, just knowing that you have faith in their abilities to get the job done is the critical part at this stage of their development.
That sense of belonging that is so important to your children is strengthened by giving them responsibility. A child who is given a chore to complete will naturally feel that their contribution is valued and that their help is necessary as a part of the family.
Think of a job where you weren’t given any responsibility. You’ll know exactly how children feel when they aren’t given a chance to contribute and be a part of the “team.”
That sense of responsibility you are helping to develop spills over into many other aspects of your children’s wellbeing. When you give your child responsibility for accomplishing something, you are nourishing their self-worth, sense of reliability and other parts of their psyche. Above all else, you are telling them that you know you can count on them and that they are needed.
While it’s important to allow young children to complete chores without additional help, that doesn’t mean you can’t “work” side-by-side and instill a sense of self-sufficiency. Developing an understanding of inter-dependency in your children is just as important as creating a sense of independence. This ability to understand the necessity of relying on others will give them the skills they need to build healthy relationships as they mature.
The benefits of doing chores with your children are numerous. Not only do you get the chance to guide them in developing their skills for completing chores well, but you also enjoy that sometimes elusive “quality time” that is so critical for you and your child. You get the opportunity to teach them that working together can often result in a more desirable outcome and get the job done quicker!
Routine and Structure
Children need structure, and they feel most comfortable when their lives follow a familiar routine. Consistently helping out with chores around the house, especially with a somewhat regular schedule, gives your children a sense of structure.
Your children will quickly learn how developing a routine helps them more easily accomplish things that are their responsibility. As your children become more proficient in completing their chores, their sense of accomplishment will continue to grow.
As your children become accustomed to routine chores, they will naturally begin to understand the relationship between hard work and accomplishment. The simple correlation between scrubbing harder and a cleaner floor and the general sense of wellbeing they get from putting forth a little extra effort will go a long way to developing a strong work ethic.
As your children get older, they will find that their progressively fuller schedule will no longer allow them to focus exclusively on one routine or task. Getting things done on a regular basis becomes more difficult. Juggling homework, their social life, and chores around the house will be difficult. Your children will need to develop new skills to handle the increasing demands on their time.
With older children, it may be tempting for you to take some of the responsibilities off of your child’s plate to allow them to focus more on pressing things like academics. After all, no parent wants to watch their child struggle to keep up with their responsibilities or fall behind in their studies. However, giving in to this natural desire to keep your children from feeling overwhelmed means missing the chance to help them gain critical time management skills that will be essential in adulthood. Your children are perfectly capable of developing the coping skills needed to get through trying times.
By fostering the life skills children learn through chores, you are taking advantage of the most formative years in their life. When you help them develop the strong foundation these valuable life skills children create, you are giving them the tools they’ll need to grow into well-adjusted and dependable adults.