Why Chores are Good for Kids

A fun topic for today: chores and why they’re good for kids and actually why the science backs this up. Now, I don’t think we have time to go onto the nuance of this discussion in five minutes and what I mean by that is for money, for not money, et cetera. We’re not talking about that and nothing about allowance. Maybe Jeremy you will. But I think what we’re really talking about here is just the general idea of a teamwork mentality and weekly rhythm of not just the mom and the dad cleaning the house. That everyone contributes to the sustainment… Is sustainment of word? I don’t think it is. Sustaining force and nature of the house. And the data backs that up.

Now there is different things to talk about with the money and all that, we aren’t a big fan of that, of the pay for chores thing. We don’t do that because, I think this is why, we’re going to get into, we want to show that no, no, this is what it means to just be on this team. What it means to be on this team is to contribute, we’re not doing this for a financial gain or anything.

Now there’s other things and side projects. One great way and a friend even does this and we’ll do this now here soon once our kids get older, is a great segue, by the way, just for real practicality of yeah, the general whatever it takes to run the house, we’re all doing that together for free as a team work together, blah, blah, blah. But there’s like almost side projects that are bonus. That’s like, “Hey, if you want to exert some extra work, you want to go do that yard thing that is not a chore, that doesn’t need to get done and we want to negotiate about that?” That’s a whole different story and those ones are financial.

So that’s kind of a fun, both and that I think I see a lot of people do, that’s really helpful. But yeah what would you say Jeremy and where do you think this conversation is necessary?

Yeah. Well, you guys, it’s so important. If you feel at all, even the tiniest, tiniest twinge of guilt when you ask your kids, “I need you to clean the kitchen. I need you to help me wipe the toilet. I need you to vacuum the living room.” Then it’s really important for you-

And that shows you there’s a problem.

… to stop for a second and think. You are doing your kids a favor when you are absolutely insisting that they help with chores. And this is so clear you guys, but it’s fun to see science back this up. Rachel, from our homeroom, she posted a TED Talk and it was basically describing a study that looked at homes in which kids were required to do chores and homes in which they were not and their future success. And so the study found that professional success in life, which is what we want for our kids, comes from having done chores as kids. The earlier you started, the better. Roll up your sleeves and pitch in mindset, a mindset that says there’s some unpleasant work, someone’s got to do it, it might as well be me, that’s what gets you ahead in the workplace.

So it was interesting to watch, the whole article was about how to help kids succeed professionally in the workplace. But I thought it was really helpful that they did a scientific study around this. And I think that oftentimes as parents, again, we can feel a twinge of guilt, particularly for really unpleasant chores and think, “Well, I should that.” And you’re basically robbing from your children the ability for them to learn this roll up our sleeves and pitch in mindset. It is so important for kids to feel that.

And of course, if your goal is to help your kids become amazing fathers and mothers, this is even more important. So this whole study was about the workplace, but man, if your kids basically say, “I don’t know how to force myself to do unpleasant chores,” imagine what kind of father or mother they’re going to be? So it’s really, really a big deal, you guys, and I like how they said as early as possible. Have that two-year-old help you unload the dishwasher, have that three-year-old help you set the table. Help that four-year-old wash dishes right next to you at the kitchen sink, get them engaged as early as possible in doing chores and don’t feel guilty about it.

And one of the things that they mentioned at the end of this article is there is a drawback, it’s that having your kids do chores doesn’t necessarily wind up being less work for you as a parent. And so for a lot of parents, we avoid this because it’s more work to have our kids help us, particularly when they’re really young and kind of helpless and they almost do more harm than good early, early on. And this is another area, you guys, where it’s really for them. It’s to love your kids. And if you train your kids well, very quickly, they will begin to help for real.

And so there is a season where you’re training your kids where it may feel like more work, but do not let that get in your way of really doing the challenging work as a parent, parenting your kids by making sure that they really know where they go in their own heart in their own head when they’re trying to figure out, “How do I just get myself to do an unpleasant 10 minute task?” And I watch my kids just struggle with that. And it’s not easy. You can tell. I just had this conversation yesterday with Kaira. I’m like, “Hey, can you clean the kitchen?” And she’s like, “No.” She was really completely-

It’s like a mind blowing…

Yeah. And I could have easily said, “Hey, don’t worry about it,” or, “I’ll do it.” But I’m like, that’s not good for her. I know she’s in a really, really cozy position. She’s in the middle of a game and this is probably the perfect time for her to learn to pop up and spend 15 minutes cleaning the kitchen. Again, it’s a gift to her. And it’s hard as a father or mother to do that, but I don’t want you guys to… because you’ve culturally been conditioned to feel guilty anytime you’re asking or are insisting that your children help around the house, that you think you’re doing something that’s injurious to them. That’s clearly not the case. We know that through common sense. We know that through the Bible, but we even know that through these scientific studies. You guys, really, make sure your kids are helping around the house and help them figure out how to overcome that resistance to doing unpleasant work.

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