The dawn of a new year often brings discussions of children and chores. In the last few days I have spoken with several parents about this very issue. Common questions parents have are: Why should my children do chores? What age to start chores? What chores are appropriate? How many chores? and To pay or not to pay. There are several philosophies on how to approach chores. Over the next week or so I am going to share my chore philosophy.
Why should my children do chores?
There are many reasons children should do chores. The most important reason a child should do chores is that doing chores teaches responsibility. In my years of teaching and working with youth, often when I am working with a student who is rather irresponsible I will ask him, “Do you do chores at home?” The asnwer is almost always 1 of 2 things. First is just, “No.” Second is, “I’m supposed to but I don’t.” As parents we want our children to grow up to be responsible citizens, I believe this starts with how we deal with chores. For a child to learn to be responsibile the parent must see chores first as a learning environment then as a work environment. Yes, this will create work for the parent but-that’s what parenting is all about. We will cover this more in detail in my article “The How’s of Chores”.
Another reason children should have chores to do is that it actually helps them have a stake in the family. Each member of the family should be a productive member of that family and for children having chores to do gives them that feeling of “I’m doing my part.” This is true especially today. We no longer June Cleaver home all day cleaning the house in her pearls and pumps. Many families have either both parents working outside of the home, or are single parent families. In homeschooling families when often only 1 parent works outside the home but the other parent has the added responsibility of educating the children, everyone in the home needs to pitch in and do what they are capable of doing.
In the next article I will be discussing “The When’s and What’s of Chores”. What age should children start doing chores and what chores are age appropriate.