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Kids and Chores: Building Blocks for Life

Kimberlee Leonard

Posted on August 7, 2018 11:23

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Parents have widely differing views on making their kids do chores. There are some who even think it is abusive to make a child cook a meal. Chores teach responsibility, build confidence and indpendence.

I belong to several parenting groups on social media. The topic of having kids do chores and at what age they should start is a regular question and theme.

 
It’s amazing that there is such diverse schools of thought on this. Here are some of the common ones:

  • Age-appropriate chores with an allowance.
  • Age-appropriate chores with no allowance — after all they get fed and have clean clothes.
  • Put a job board up with money assigned for specific chores completed.
  • Make them get a job mowing the neighbor's grass.

The list goes on and on with derivations and tweaks. Then you have the parents who say that kids should be kids and shouldn’t have chores at all. While research shows that chores help children build confidence and independence, the comments I love the most are from those saying it is cruel, even abusive to make kids do laundry or cook on the stove. (When I say love, I’m being sarcastic, just to be clear.)

After all, isn’t is better to teach children in a controlled environment how to do things that they will certainly need to do as adults. People don’t just walk up one day and start doing laundry without pink wool shrinking catastrophes.

Chores in our household were always hard when my son was younger. Not because he wasn’t willing to help, but we never got into a routine. He’d take the trash out for a few days and then go to his dad’s for the next five days. That doesn’t help routine if he isn’t doing the same there. He’d return and have forgotten he needed to do them. It wasn’t worth making it an official chore, setting us both up for conflict.

That doesn’t mean he didn’t get asked to help. Now that he’s a teen, he takes out the trash, will do his own laundry and even make a meal for himself. While this isn’t because he had direct chores but because he was engaged in keeping the house up. Heck, he even line dries his wool blend socks — no pink catastrophes yet. I hope this is a good indication that he’ll be able to take care of himself when he heads off to college. As for me, I’ll have to figure out the trash/recycle pick-up schedule.

What are your thoughts on kids and chores?

Kimberlee Leonard

Posted on August 7, 2018 11:23

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