I ran across an article recently that appears to be a hot topic among parents today. The question that is being asked isn’t the one I expected to hear. Parents aren’t asking how to get their kids interested in doing chores or even asking about age appropriate chores but instead are asking whether or not they should give chores at all.
Here is an excerpt.
A FRIEND strolls into my house one Saturday for a visit and stops in her tracks when she spies the chores chart taped to my refrigerator door. “This is amazing,” she says with an awe generally reserved for Nobel Prize winners and heads of state. “I can’t believe your kids do chores.”
Now don’t get caught up in the fact that this household is still way behind with their methods and uses chore charts and focus on the statement from their friend. It’s probably a more common reaction than those of us who have our kids do chores realize, but when did it start?
It turns out, studies show that American children are doing fewer chores than ever. I don’t expect us to try and go back in time and change the child labor laws and I understand that fewer and fewer families are living on farms with all of the expected duties it takes to keep things running, but things are changing, and it’s not for the better.
The most recent research from Sandra Hofferth, the director of the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland shows that children are spending a mere 24 minutes a day doing cleaning, laundry and other housework, which is a 12% decline since 1997 and a 25% drop from 1981 levels.
So are we raising a nation of brats who have no idea how to pull their weight?
Maybe. The benefits of being a household where the kids pitch in versus one where they don’t seem obvious to me, but I guess not to everyone. I think that kids doing chores teaches responsibility and gives them examples of how hard work can pay off through rewards. I know that school is considered work, but letting kids know that pitching in around the house helps everyone is a really big deal.
I know at my house, my wife is always under appreciated. She works hard to keep the house clean but my stinky boys, and myself, are regularly doing our best to obliviously mess it up. So when the boys have to do some of the work that Mom does everyday, they have a better understanding of how hard she works and have a deeper appreciation for the things she does to keep our house in order. Well, I’m hoping they have that deeper appreciation, because sometimes it’s hard to tell, but I know that at some point, it’s going to sink in.
Chores prepare kids for the real world.
Chores teach kids to be more responsible for their stuff and their space.
Chores teach kids how to do stuff right.
Chores actually help parents!
So the ChoreMonster philosophy might be up against a growing nation of brats, but we think even the brattiest of the brats might warm up to ChoreMonster if they give it a try. After all, it’s all about making chores fun!