I originally posted this article last year but realized that three weeks into summer break, you might be up to your armpits in kid created messes. Your little darlings may be on break, but it isn’t your responsibility to pick up after them and maintain the house. They are the ones on break, they have plenty of time to help out. If you haven’t assigned chores to your kids, maybe this summer is a great time to take the leap.
Five Reasons Your Kids Should Do Chores
I have six kids. Those six kids use the bathroom, half of them while standing,(if you get my drift.) They soil clothes, and dirty the dishes. My little cuties spill food on the kitchen floor. They eat on the couch (even though they aren’t supposed to) and they put their hands on every glass surface in the house. We also have a pool that doesn’t maintain itself and a yard full of grass that insists on growing almost year round. There are far too many things that need to be done around our house for my wife and I to do by ourselves, even if we wanted to.
The bigger the family, the bigger the chores, and the more often they have to be done. We began giving the kids chores to do because More Love Mama and I couldn’t keep up with it by ourselves.
We haven’t conducted any official studies at our house, but all six of our kids have been doing chores for years now. Over those years, we have realized that there are a lot of positive things that have come from insisting that our kids pitch in and help out. Here are my top five reasons my kids (and maybe yours) should do chores:
1. If They Contribute To The Mess, They Should Help Clean it Up
It’s only fair that if someone makes a mess they should be the one to clean it up. I’m not talking about a specific mess like spilling the milk. It’s obvious that the spiller should also be the cleaner upper. I’m talking about the big picture. When there are eight people filling the sink with dishes and laundry hampers with dirty clothes, it doesn’t take long before you become buried in the mess. Kids who don’t have to pick up after themselves come to rely on their parents to pick up after them. Consequently, when parents do ask them to help out, they
throw themselves on the ground screaming in agony may resist (and that’s a nice way to put it).
When kids are expected to help out and pull their own weight from the get go, participating in keeping the house clean is just another one of their daily activities. Chores become like going to school or doing homework. It’s not their favorite thing to do, but they accept that it is a necessary part of their day.
2. When You Divide And Conquer, The Job Gets done Faster
When my kids were still too little to help with chores, it was easy to become overwhelmed with the work and end up with less quality time to spend with them. Instead of reading a book with my youngest, I was cleaning the kitchen. Rather than doing a puzzle with my oldest, I was folding laundry. OK, really I was just piling more and more laundry even higher on my bed. When parents are doing chores they are losing so many chances to interact with their kids, to bond with them and mentor them. Instead, everyone is caught up in their own thing at the expense of being together, being a family and having fun.
However, when the chores are divided, they get done faster and the family can spend more quality time together.
3. When everyone Helps, Mama and Daddy are Less Stressed
I must admit that sometimes I look around my house and mutter “What the heck just exploded in here???” And then I get irritated. eventually I might start flapping my arms and yelling. When parents are the ones who do all the chores, they begin to harbor resentment towards the mess makers. They become cranky, and stressed out over all the dishes and laundry they have to do (I just realized I have mentioned dishes and laundry about 10 times already–I may have some issues there). Their temper becomes short and the kids can sense it. This can put a strain on their relationship.
When kids can do their own laundry or are finally tall enough to load the dishwasher–HALLELUJAH! Parents begin to lose their resentment and the relationship is restored.
4. Kids who Do Chores become more self Sufficient
Kids who don’t do chores may lose their motivation to do things for themselves. They begin to expect everything to be done for them and they don’t learn the importance of contribution. As they get older, they become dependent on others for more and more, and are angry when their needs aren’t met by someone else. When it’s time to move out on their own, they struggle and feel overwhelmed by the requirements of self sufficiency.
Kids who do a wide variety of chores acquire many of the skills required to become self sufficient. They gain confidence and independence as they grow up. Not to brag, but my kids are rock-stars at self sufficiency, especially when it comes to cooking! My oldest is turning into a terrific little chef. Even my youngest can wrangle together her own breakfast and lunch. It’s so rewarding to share the chores with my kids, instead of a being a short order cook for the whole family. My beautiful, amazing, wonderful wife, on he other hand, is still a terrible cook so I do all the cooking for her.
5. Kids learn Responsibility and Accountability
Kids who know that their family depends on them, are the first to understand responsibility. They realize that if they don’t do their chores, someone else will have to do them or they won’t get done at all. Don’t expect your kids to get this right away. It takes time and maturity for it to sink in. When it does though, it’s pretty awesome to sit back and watch.
My oldest two have figured this out and it is wonderful. I can count on them to help out when needed, without any drama. In fact, sometimes they’ll just see a task that needs to handled and they’ll take care of it. My youngest three don’t get it yet, but they will, as long as we stay consistent in requiring them to help out.
To Sum It all Up…
Getting your kids to help with chores is so important to your mental health. Knowing that your kids won’t just create work for you, but will instead, help you get the work done releases so much of the burden and stress you feel as a parent. But more importantly, teaching your kids responsibility, early and often, will make them better grown ups, better spouses, maybe even better parents someday.
You only have a few years to influence, mold, and to love your kids while they are under your roof. You owe it to everyone that those years are happy, stress free, and full of love
So what do you think? Do your kids do chores? What are your tips for getting them to help? And do you think the effort is worth the battles? Drop us a message!
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