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6 Life Lessons Your Kids Learn Doing Chores

April 12, 2024
min read

Every family has their own approach to doing chores (or not doing them!). At Till, our app is flexible to work with your family no matter what your approach. But, we’ve also had conversations with a lot of parents and families about the importance of chores to help teach kids responsibility, and the short- and long-term benefits of doing chores. In addition to what families have told us, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry did research on the positive impacts of kids doing chores. Read on to learn more about the benefits of having kids do chores and think about what it could do for your family, and your kids!

When to start

Like most things in parenting (and life!) there’s no “one size fits all” approach to when a kid may be ready for chores. Depending on where your kid is developmentally, they may be ready to take on age-appropriate responsibilities as young as age 3. At younger ages, chores are really about establishing routine, and having a kid recognize something as their “job” or responsibility. This sense of ownership and feeling the completion of a job done can bring a real sense of pride to a kid, especially when parents encourage them and provide positive reinforcement.

Chores can help a kid establish a routine.

Benefits of chores

Aside from getting help with tasks around the house, there can be foundational and long-lasting benefits for kids from doing chores. Remember, the impacts will vary by a kid’s age and development.

Higher Self Esteem

You know that feeling when you’re able to cross one, two or maybe more things off of your to-do list? It’s a feeling of accomplishment. A reminder that no matter what else may be going on, when you put your mind to it, you can get something done. It’s the same for kids! It may seem insignificant if the task is emptying the dishwasher, but it’s not! Our lives are busy. We could spend our time doing a myriad of things at any moment. These reminders of accomplishment, even when they are small, are meaningful. Even better if you are able to recognize the moment of accomplishment. Time after time, this builds self esteem and confidence in oneself.

Increase Responsibility

As mentioned earlier, chores can help a kid establish a routine. You may recognize the benefits of having a routine in your house. Among other things, routines help us to balance the things we need to do with the things we want to do. This is an important skill set, and chores can help a kid practice. For example, if a kid makes their bed every morning before they run out of their room to watch TV or have breakfast, they are practicing recognizing and doing something they need to do before the more fun thing. While this may seem small, it is helping to prepare a kid to take on more responsibility as they grow.

The experiences kids have growing up are actually skill development for when they're out on their own in the "real world."

Develop Grit

You may have heard about “grit.” It became a parenting buzzword in 2016 with Angela Duckworth’s book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Duckworth defines grit as passion and sustained persistence applied toward long-term achievement. Now, you may not think a kid is passionate about doing chores, but, developing the drive to complete tasks at hand, especially those you may not necessarily want to do, or even one you may not feel you’re good at, helps to develop that persistence and perseverance that will serve kids well in life. In fact, developing these habits can help kids manage better when they get frustrated, or don’t get what they want right away.

Fostering Independence

“I bought it with my own money!” - We hear so many kids say this with pride after completing a savings goal with Till. It feels good to work hard at something and complete it on your own. It also gives you the confidence that you can, and will do it again. This is a key building block to independence. Many of the experiences kids have growing up are actually skill development for when they’re out on their own in the “real world.” Chores are a great example of this. Taking out the trash? Show me one grown up who doesn’t have to do this (or ensure it happens) in their household! Chores are an opportunity for kids to practice living more independently.

Learning Time Management

Time management is one of those “executive function” skills many kids have a hard time with. Many adults struggle with this as well! We have so much to do, and time is a fleeting resource. With chores, kids begin to learn that with the finite nature of time, they have to balance their activities in order to get it all done. Developing awareness of this, and then practicing it over time is the key to improving. As Michael Altshuler says: “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” Chores help kids chart the course of how to spend their time.

Contributing to the Family

A lot goes into family life. Figuring out meals, activities, keeping the house clean (enough!). As a kid gets older, it’s important to let them experience some of what it takes to make it all work. Not only does this give them the confidence and independence described above, but it shows them that being a part of a group means contributing to help that group function. This is important not just for family life, but for teamwork overall. And as we know, teamwork makes the dream work!

Chores work differently for each family, but here we’ve discussed how being responsible for chores can help kids develop important skills that they’ll use throughout their life. Maybe it’s time to consider some chores for your kid!