12 Reasons to Give Your Kids Chores

Photo by Daniel Watson on Unsplash

Tackling chores is not at the top of my favourite-things-to-do list. I’m pretty sure it’s not at the top of any kid’s list either.

While researching this topic I read an article by a mother who does not give her kids chores because she wants them to have a happy childhood.

Her reasoning is that life is going to be full of chores once they reach adulthood and why should her kids endure the hardship of chores before then?

Is this mom doing a good thing by not expecting her kids to do chores?

No. Studies[i] prove that professional success in life comes from two things – love and work ethic (or having done chores as a kid).

In her TED Talk, How To Raise Successful Adults, Julie Lythcott-Haims says,

“If kids aren’t doing the dishes, it means someone else is doing that for them, and so they’re absolved of not only the work, but of learning that work has to be done and that each one of us must contribute for the betterment of the whole.”

Learning to contribute is an important life skill, but there are more reasons you should be giving your kids chores. Here are 12:

  1. The Bible says so. “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” Lamentations 3:27. If God says work is good for the young, then it must be good for the young.

2. It creates stability and common sense. Work has been said to be the most dramatic and consistent cure for behaviour and personality problems. I have found that work (especially physical work) always makes me feel better when I am not feeling good emotionally. It somehow balances the mind and emotions. Tackling chores also builds good old common sense.  

3. Speeds up maturity. Giving your kids authority to manage your home to the extent that they can handle the responsibility will make them mature rapidly and naturally.

4. It builds character.  Work develops life skills necessary for success later in life – perseverance, thoroughness, diligence, neatness, order, and efficiency.

5. It builds a healthy sense of self-worth. The sense of satisfaction and self-respect gained by accomplishing a task is one of the biggest benefits of work. Feeling needed also boosts self-esteem.  Whether it’s making their beds or sweeping the floors, helping out around the house gives kids a sense of accomplishment.

6. Keeps kids occupied. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Useful occupation protects kids from many evils, keeping them occupied so that there is no time to think up mischief or be bored.

7. The mental powers develop better. When physical labour is blended with mental work, the mind develops better.  

“Dealing with ‘external tasks’ helps children to organize their ‘internal processes’. Even growth in logical thinking is aided by learning the ‘logic’ of ordinary household procedures such as putting toys away or cleaning one’s room. Furthermore, being required to do chores helps children learn to deal with frustration and ambiguity. Children who do chores regularly become better problem solvers.”[ii]

8. They learn skills. Everyone has to live somewhere and knowing how to take care of that somewhere is a good idea.  Cleaning, shopping, cooking, and budgeting are all important skills needed in adulthood.

I once met a chic-looking young woman at the tomato stand in the grocery store. She asked me how to pick a good tomato. She was holding down a job but didn’t know a good tomato from a bad one.   

Read this post on 78 Things Your Kids Should Know Before They Leave Home.

9. It teaches responsibility and self-discipline. Knowing they are expected to keep certain areas clean will build a sense of responsibility in your kids. It requires self-discipline to actually do the chores. Make your kids responsible for their own rooms and certain areas of the home. Place as much age-appropriate responsibility on them as possible. (Don’t underestimate this!)

10. It teaches self-reliance and independence. Knowing how to do things themselves will make your kids less dependent on you and give them confidence.

While things like tying their own shoes or zipping their own jacket are not exactly chores, they do push kids towards autonomy. As they get older age-appropriate chores will continue to promote proper independence. When they leave home they will be able to look after themselves.

11. It teaches teamwork. Being part of a family means you are automatically a team. Working together as a team involves listening to others, depending on others, working together, helping others who struggle – all things necessary later in life.

12. It teaches a good work ethic. Having a good attitude toward work will make your kid’s lives so much easier. There is always going to be work to do and having a good attitude makes the doing of it much more pleasant.

More and more millennials are embracing socialism – the idea of getting everything for free, without having to work or pay for it, is appealing. But in reality, nothing comes for free. Somewhere, someone is paying for it.

The sooner kids learn that they are not entitled to the fruits of someone else’s labour, the better.

When should you begin teaching your kids to work? ASAP!

The Harvard Grant Study found that the earlier kids started with chores, the better.

Most of us balk at this because kids don’t sweep or wash the dishes as well as we can.

But, sometimes, even if you can do a job perfectly, you have to let someone else do it just-barely-passably, if you want the other person to learn from the experience.

You will be doing your kids a favour in the long run.  

For more, read this post on how to teach your kids to work.

Are you allowing your kids to learn important life skills from doing chores?  


[i] The Harvard Grant Study, the longest running longitudinal study in history (running since 1938 and still going).

[ii] How to Teach Children Responsibility, Harris Clemes, Ph.D., Reynold Bean, E.M.

About The Author

Jennifer Lovemore

Jennifer has diplomas in relationship counselling and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), is a certified SYMBIS facilitator, and is certified in TPM (Transformation Prayer Minsitry). She lives in South Africa, has three grown children, and is married to her best friend – Richard.

2 COMMENTS

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    […] Assign household tasks to your kids if they are old enough. (Read 12 Reasons to Give Your Kids Chores) […]

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