Chores: Why Kids Need Them

Chores: Why Kids Need Them

Chores can provide kids with opportunities to learn important lessons about responsibility, perseverance, and humility. Over the years, we have learned that children who contribute to the family, without reminders or pay, are far more likely to do well in school—without needing constant reminders from their parents.

Kids in the habit of successfully completing chores are far more likely to develop the habit of successfully completing academic assignments.

Parents can help their kids succeed academically in the upcoming school year by using Love and Logic’s ABCs for training kids to do chores:

A: Assign every member of your family some meaningful contributions.
Ask yourself, “What am I doing that my kids could do on a regular basis?” Many parents find it helpful to post a list on the refrigerator door, complete with names next to each contribution. Caution: Don’t say, “Do it now.” This will just create power struggles. Instead, allow them to have a deadline for each contribution.

B: Be quiet.
Avoid reminding or nagging. Remember that kids who must be nagged into doing their chores will also need to be nagged into doing their schoolwork and homework.

C: Consequences preceded by sincere empathy will do the teaching.
When their children refuse to do their chores, forget to do them, or do them haphazardly, many parents find it helpful to complete the chore for their children and then expect them to repay the time and energy expended to accomplish those contributions. Sometimes this means doing extra chores for the parent. Sometimes this means staying home or doing without some privilege so that the parent has time to rest and relax. Other times this means paying the parent or a professional to do the job. A memorable example involved a teen who had to pay a maid service to complete her housework contributions.

The key to success with chores, as with any Love and Logic technique, hinges on sincere empathy! Remember that anger and frustration create resentment, while sincere empathy helps create mutual respect and responsibility.

More insights into helping kids learn how to do chores can be found in our new audio, Chores: Why kids need them… and how to get even the most challenging ones to do them!


Thanks for reading!

Dr. Charles Fay



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