At what age should children start doing housework?

Science says that chores make children happy and should be assigned to them early, even when they are toddlers.

Getting children to do housework is difficult in most cultures. Parents often have to remind and urge. Some parents think that when the child does not want to do or does not do well, they do it faster and more effectively.

However, studies highlight chores as a stepping stone and learning tool, helping children gain confidence, build resilience and become independent as they get older. It also encourages responsibility, teamwork, and work discipline that are essential in later life.

“By making children do household chores, children soon realize they have to do life’s work in order to be a part of life,” says Julie Lythcott-Haims, Stanford University, author of the book. How to Raise an Adult, speak.

Giving children chores as early as possible will help them be more successful in the future. Image: Goodhousekeeping

Give your toddler chores

Starting to do housework has many benefits for children. Research by associate professor of family education Marty Rossmann, University of Minnesota, USA, shows that “the best predictor of success in youth in their mid-20s is having engaged in household chores. when 3 or 4 years old. If you do not practice housework until 15 years of age or older, this prediction is no longer valid.”

“It seems children will learn responsibility from housework if they start at a young age,” says Marty Rossmann.

As your child masters washing dishes or tidying up laundry, she can do more and more of the work on her own. Seemingly insignificant tasks like clearing the table or folding laundry are in fact tiny building blocks that help form independence.

Once started early, housework becomes a habit, which means that parents have less to say and children have less to say. Once a child is old enough to follow simple instructions, you can start assigning tasks like packing toys, putting clothes in the bin, feeding fish or pets. Your child will begin to feel part of the “team”. You can help with the early stages by doing things together, such as preparing dinner or cleaning the house.

It’s natural for children to like to be helped, they want to please others. Taking advantage of this inherent enthusiasm, accept your child’s work isn’t perfect, but over time, he’ll get better.

Giving housework to older children

A study published in the journal Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics With nearly 10,000 primary school-age children doing housework, the results show that those who do housework score higher on indicators that report social skills, academic ability, relationships, and social skills. friends and life satisfaction.

A 75-year Harvard study also concluded that children who do housework are more successful as adults. They succeed because they get the principle of work by doing housework.

Housework should not be discretionary or negotiable, no matter where you live, for whatever reason. Ignore excuses for procrastination like: “I’ll do that later”, “It’s not fair”, “I have too much homework”…

Sure, when your 5-year-old folds towels or wipes kitchen counters, the results may not be as neat as expected. However, when you do chores for children, no matter their age, you are robbing them of feeling useful and able to complete tasks on their own.

Accept that the way kids do chores won’t be perfect, but they will get better. For each achievement, acknowledge your child’s participation and contribution in family life. By letting your kids do their own little things now, you’re helping them take on the big things in the future.

Bao Nhien (Follow Psychologytoday)


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