House chores are a huge part of our daily lives. However, even as adults, we occasionally get lazy so we tend to procrastinate – but we do it anyway because we have no choice.
Now, let’s go back when we were little kids. Admit it – at one point in our lives, we have dragged our feet and secretly rolled our eyes at our parents whenever they tell us to do house chores: “Help wash the dishes, honey.”, “Please fix your bed and your sister’s.”, “Clean up time!”, “Look after your brother.” And the list goes on and on.
How many times did we answer them with “Yes mom, later.” or “But dad…” but it didn’t work? So, while we silently sing “Cinderella, Cinderella night and day its Cinderella” to ourselves, we do the house chores we were asked to do because: mom and dad won’t let us get away with it; we can’t afford to let mom’s voice go an octave higher and; if mom said so, it most likely is non-negotiable. Right, dads?
Who would have thought that doing hosuehold chores as a child are now proven to be beneficial in the long run? As it turns out, during those times when we felt like our folks were being unfair when they interrupt our cartoon binge so we can do our tasks, they were actually unknowingly honing our characters.
The University of Minnesota published a research titled “Involving Children In Household Tasks: Is It Worth The Effort?” by an emeritus professor of family education, Marty Rossmann. According to the research, involving children in household tasks at an early age can have a positive impact later in life. By involving children in tasks, parents teach their children a sense of responsibility, competence, self-reliance, and self-worth that stays with them throughout their lives. Makes sense, right?
In relation to this, Julie Lythcott-Haims – author of “How to Raise an Adult” and a parenting expert – discussed during her TED talk that house chores are crucial to a person’s success along with, of course, love.
“Our kids need us to be a little less obsessed with grades and scores and a whole lot more interested in childhood providing a foundation for their success built on things like love and chores,” she said.
In addition, she also tackled the Harvard Grant Study, which is the longest longitudinal study of humans to identify the psychosocial predictors of healthy aging, where she spoke about what parents wanted for their children – to be professionally successful in life. And what will help instill this is by doing house chores as a kid – the earlier, the better. Through this, a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-pitch-in-mindset will be established.
She explained this as “a mindset that says, there’s some unpleasant work, someone’s got to do it, it might as well be me, a mindset that says, I will contribute my effort to the betterment of the whole, that that’s what gets you ahead in the workplace. Now, we all know this. You know this.”
Furthermore, another important finding from the study states that happiness comes from love.
“Not love of work, love of humans: our spouse, our partner, our friends, our family,” she said.
How do we expect kids to love other people when they didn’t grow up with an example? In order for them to share love, they should have felt loved first, and the people who can do this job perfectly are none other than their own parents.
We understand how tiring and crazy but at the same time, rewarding, parenthood is. Each kid is unique and because of that, the parenting approach will always be different. But now that we know that a simple thing such as assigning them with house chores will help mold their characters, we’re assured that we got one aspect of parenting right – and sometimes, that is good enough.
So start ’em young parents! Researchers have got your back!