Should parents involve kids in chores

Should parents involve kids in chores at home?

Written by Ms Pavla, Foundation Stage Teacher at Hartland International School. Dubai.

Chores, chores, chores. I am already tired by saying this word… a chore. I wrote this word four times; I am exhausted! Yes, this word somehow has the ability to make me feel resentful, annoyed and pestered.  I ask myself, is it because I am a mum? A working mum? However, all in all, what I need is support, assistance and a sense of responsibility from every member of my family to contribute, to care and to consistently complete daily jobs that gives everybody the understanding of our little unit, our little community –  the family. So as a parent, should I expect my children to contribute towards that little unit? Should parents involve kids in chores at home?

I do not doubt that we all collectively agree that children benefit enormously having a role in the daily operations of their family. As much as we as parents like to protect our children, we are also responsible for preparing and teaching them about the various realities of life. The ability to cope with disappointments, accept the consequences of their actions, develop problem-solving skills, and become functioning, independent adults, depends largely on our parenting choices and not solely on educational institutions. We often worry for our offspring joining college, don’t we? How are they going to cope? My child never cooked a meal, mowed a lawn, washed clothes or a dish or made a bed. Well that’s why chores are so important for our children. By allowing them to do chores from a very early age, we foster responsibility, independence and self-confidence in them.

Objections! But my child is so busy! He or she does not have time to help around the house! Homework, extra curricular activities and busy social life to name the few…

Indeed, considering the right amount of responsibility is a balancing act. Our children are very busy and are expected to work very hard. Nevertheless, children do need their downtime. They need a chance to play, relax, daydream, nap or just be bored. When can we timetable performing chores into their busy schedule? The answer is anytime. Believe me, it is a good idea! Scientific studies have shown that neatness and organization at home can improve a child’s ability to organise and prioritise their responsibilities in an educational setting. Our children will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment if they participate or do the things that adults do. By enforcing regular clean up after playtime, our children will develop a systematised understanding of grouping, arrangement, and orderliness. If we begin this task early enough (around 18 months) and make it part of children’s routine, our children are likely to never understand the concept of making messes and leaving them behind for others to pick up.

Most importantly, our children will understand what it entails to be a fully functional member of a community and that he or she needs to share responsibilities to keep the community going. By being consistent from a very early age, I am certain we will never have to face the dreaded college transition. Our children will be prepared! They will eventually become better team players, responsible citizens and reliable life partners.

This article is contributed by Ms Pavla, Foundation Stage Teacher at Hartland International School. Dubai.

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