This piece is written by Tyler Jacobson. I like having a dad’s perspective and find his wish for his daughter especially touching because I’m not sure men always articulate in their mind how much they want their daughters to have a voice. Tyler expresses it as, “ I wanted [my daughter] to be confident and comfortable in who she is, in spite of constant outside voices clamoring for her to conform and be someone else.” In this blog Tyler describes his own personal approach with reference to what the experts say about each step.Read More
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Filtering by Tag: chores
Parents often worry that their kids aren’t motivated to do anything beyond play video games or post on social media. The truth of the matter is is that there is a lot in kids’ daily lives that works to squash personal motivation. Here are some tips parents can use to rekindle their child’s natural eagerness to interact with the world and to take pride in what they do.Read More
Feeling that you are the primary parent is a significant challenge that seems to fall mostly to moms— even today. Part of that is still a vestige of time when women being in the workforce was the exception not the rule. And part of it is that the role of perfect mother has so been put on a pedestal that women feel enormous pressure to be responsible for everything in their family—even when they have full responsibilities at work.
Feeling like or being the primary parent adds tremendous stress to already stressed families, and it is worth it to find more balance in taking responsibility for the running of the family and household. Read on to find out ow I support parents with that.Read More
Is it potato chips and soda making kids obese? Maybe not! While a healthy diet is important, of course, new research by Dr. Asheley Cockerel Skinner of the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) finds that “it is becoming increasingly obvious that the lack of physical exercise in children is the main culprit in the startling rise of childhood obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and all other types of preventable medical conditions.”
If you are sick of nagging and arguing about it, here are some sneaky ways to assure your kids move their bodies without focusing on it being “exercise.”Read More
Most parents understand and are comfortable with this when it comes to safety. Your two year old may want to climb the wobbly ladder by himself but you know that the risk is too great, so you offer a compromise--she may climb it with you hanging on to him tightly or she may climb her toy slide by herself. He may not use the big knife to cut onions but he may use the plastic knife to cut bananas or to spread butter.Read More
There are many reasons to give kids chores (To see a comprehensive list, go HERE. Kids like to feel needed and capable. Chores help with both. When parents set up chores as “In our family we help each other,” kids see their work as being an important part of being a member of the family. Plus, kids like knowing they are able to do things on their own. They like being able to know that they were the one who made the living room sparkle or who saw to it that every family member had a sandwich ready to take in his lunch. When all the family members are contributing, it frees up time for family fun, and parents are less stressed. Parents have to get themselves ready for work. If the kids are making lunch for everyone while Mom and Dad are getting breakfast on the table, families end up having a few minutes to sit down and start the day together.Read More
Okay, I can't guarantee the happiness promise but a recent article called "Science says parents of successful kids have these 13 things in common" published in Tech Insider does list chores as one factor that might lead to children's success as adults. They quote author Julie Lythcott-Haims (How to Raise an Adult) as praising chores because it teaches kids that that they "have to do the work of life in order to be part of life."
Let's look at the benefit of chores a little more deeply (and I will put forth my not-scientifically-proven theory on why it also makes kids happier).
1. Doing Chores Raises Self Esteem
Self Esteem is confidence about one's own worth and abilities. Little kids may not have learned to read and older kids may be struggling with long division or quadratic equations, but most kids can learn to make their beds and sweep the floor. Are these worthwhile tasks? Of course they are. And it is much easier for a child to understand the usefulness of a clean floor than to grasp where algebra is going to work for them in their lives. Kids who feel capable and competent have higher self esteem. Chores are one area most kids can develop competency relatively easily.
2. Doing Chores Makes Kids Feel Needed
When we wait on our kids hand and foot, it gives kids the wrong estimation of their own importance. Ironically, just like praising kids too profusely, doing everything for kids does not build their sense of being important; rather it leaves kids feeling adrift and disconnected. What kids want to feel is that the are important because their family needs them. When the character Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird explains to Scout, the main character, why he runs away from home, Scout asks herself, "what I would do if Atticus [her father] did not feel the necessity of my presence, help and advice” (143). Scout firmly recognizes her place in her family and knows how essential it is to her to feel needed by them. Contributing to the well being of the family by doing household chores is a great way for kids to feel they are an integral cog in the wheel of a smooth family life.
3. Doing Chores Shares the Work
In previous generations, families had a lot of kids precisely because a large work force was needed just to keep the family farm or business going. As soon as they could toddle, children were given simple chores to do. In this way, all the tasks of life got done and families thrived. Today, although more tasks are mechanized and there are fewer chores to do at home, people are also a lot busier outside of the home. With parents working and kids going off to a schedule packed full of extracurriculars, there is very little time left to what chores they are. And yet, "according to a survey by Braun Research in 2014, 82 percent of grown-ups polled said they had regular chores when they were growing up, but only 28 percent reported asking their children to do anyP (July 12 2015). Wow! Instead, imagine a home where the work was shared as equally as possible among the family members. Kids would have a much greater appreciation for what it takes to keep everyone fed and dressed in clean clothes. Appreciation is linked to happiness!
4. Kids Doing Chores Reduces Parental Stress
With only 28% of the kids helping out on a regular basis, parents are coming home after a full day's work and are facing a full evening of chores. Just thinking about it is exhausting. Parents complain to me that they have no time to just hang out with their kids. But is that because their kids are watching t.v. or playing video games while their parents fix dinner? How about having the kids in the kitchen with you? One child can grate cheese while another cuts up vegetables. (While kids' hands and attention are busy is a great time to ask more in depth questions, open ended questions. Chore time becomes connection time, and human connection is one of the most important factors for happiness. One last hidden factor in reducing stress is that parents who are not up washing the dishes or folding the laundry after their kids have gone to bed might actually have time to sit down next to each and connect themselves! Connected parents do a better job supporting their kids and making them feel secure.
5. Doing Chores Teaches Kids at Home Skills They Can Use at School
Uh? How does doing the laundry help with writing a clear, well-supported essay? Well, doing laundry teaches responsibility, accountability, planning, attention to detail and follow through (Did you ever have a bunch of clothes go moldy because you forget to transfer them to the dryer?). Aren't those all skills that you need in essay writing? Of course! And in all kinds of school related tasks like doing homework on time, turning homework back in, chunking assignments into multiple steps, etc. Kids who have learned to take on tasks as their own are the same kids who are independent learners. They are also great team members for group work. They know that many hands make light work and they stand at the ready to do their share. They do not expect someone else--much less Mom or Dad--to do their work for them.
And that's not all!!
So here you have four arguments for chores increasing your kids' happiness and one argument for chores increasing their success in school (not to mention later in life). And here's one more argument: Doing chores as children helps teach kids early on about work/life balance. Life is not just about doing school work, dutifully practicing piano and going to soccer practice. It is also about creating a salubrious space in which to live and cooking nutritious meals that bring the family together. Those have long been considered mainstays of a happy home. Oh, and did I mention that kids who take part in the cooking have more varied, nutritious diets? And that kids who sharing in the washing and cleaning take better care of their clothes and toys? Really, the more I think about it, the longer the list gets.
So what's stopping you? Need some advice on HOW to get your kids to do chores? You might try my friend Elva Anson's very comprehensive book How to Get Kids to Help at Home: Help Your Children Become Capable, Responsible, and Independent--And Have Fun Doing It! Or if you want hands on support, you might consider signing up for my 5-week Harmony at Home ONLINE Group Coaching Class that starts August 10th.