Why Train Your Child to Do Chores?

by Jane Sandwood

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 KJV

In America, 82% of adults said that they grew up doing chores. But why is it that only 28% of people said that they give their own children chores to do? One reason is that many children do a lot of extracurricular activities after school. Another reason why fewer children are doing chores is because parents may be reluctant to give their children responsibilities. However, learning to do household chores is essential to a child’s upbringing. Research by the University of Michigan has found that children who do chores have a sense of belonging. Chores actually improve their self-confidence and give them a sense of pride. So how do we get children to look at chores in a new way?


If you use chores as punishment then it reinforces the idea that they are daily activities that bring no pleasure. Instead, as your children get older, use household tasks to praise their ability to contribute to the daily running of your home. This way they will feel like a valued member of the household – they have some grown-up responsibilities too. Your children can take pride in the skills that they have learned. Start when they are little – for instance, children as young as six can help to wash and dry the dishes, or empty the dishwasher. However, you wouldn’t let a five-year-old do the ironing – it simply wouldn’t be safe or appropriate. A twelve-year-old should be perfectly capable of ironing some t-shirts though.

You are teaching them life skills

It is your responsibility as a parent to prepare your children for the world ahead of them. When sparrows have chicks, they show their little ones how to find food. In the same way, we need to show our children how to cook, clean and look after ourselves, by caring about the environment that we live in. Children go to school to learn academic studies, but their education doesn’t stop there. The practical skills are down to you – your should aim for your children to be able to leave home and fend for themselves. When you are giving your child a job to do, don’t think of it as a chore. Think of it as teaching them something of value – skills for the future. 

Give chores a new name

Chores need to be re-labeled. They are not arduous tasks that nobody wants to do. They are household activities that everyone needs to learn in order to function as a grown adult. These tasks are also a way of showing children that they need to do a few jobs, in order to get time to do the things they enjoy more, such as playing football or watching T.V. An adult goes to work to earn money, then at the end of the day we are rewarded with free time. Asking children to help with simple household tasks, before allowing them to get on with other things, is just instilling a good work ethic. So give chores a new name in your house. Call it “helping time,” or “home jobs.” Just don’t make it sound like a drag.

Giving your children tasks to help around the house is essential as they are growing up. By learning these skills, they can move into the adult world, being able to look after themselves properly.


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