When we introduce chores to children, it’s not uncommon to be met with a chorus of groans, complaints, and less-than-cooperative attitudes.
Often, we link chores with allowances, creating a reward system. The joy of “payday” is clear, but it’s usually accompanied by a less-than-enthusiastic response regarding the performance of the required tasks at hand.
Assigning chores to our children transcends the mere act of exchanging work for money. It’s a journey in responsibility, process following, and developing a strong work ethic – skills that are crucial as they grow into adulthood.
Take, for instance, lawn mowing. This seemingly simple task involves checking the lawnmower’s oil, ensuring there’s enough gas, and mastering the startup process. If weed whacking is also on the agenda, they learn the importance of completing tasks in a logical sequence.
Routine chores, such as mowing the lawn weekly, instill the notion of consistency and regularity, establishing and promoting a deep-seated work ethic. Even simpler tasks, like loading the dishwasher, require a thoughtful process – rinsing or scraping dishes, organizing them efficiently and handling them carefully to prevent breakage, loading the soap dispenser, and operating the dishwasher itself.
Interestingly, the routines in the video games they’d rather be playing can mirror these life lessons. The sequential steps and routines in games are not just entertainment; they subtly teach kids about progression, strategy, and the joy of mastering a process. Video games, in this context, are not entirely at cross-purposes with teaching them how to accomplish routine tasks.
In the arena of school sports, coaches employ drills to teach techniques essential for winning games. These drills, much like household chores, are routines designed to hone skills and prepare children for actual gameplay. The repeated practice of these drills translates into instinctual actions during games.
The routines and processes learned through chores are invaluable life lessons. As children transition from youthful exuberance into more accomplished adulthood, the discipline and understanding of processes and routines learned from their childhood chores become part of the foundation to a successful work life and positive personal development.
Journal Prompts for Reflecting on the Lessons and Benefits of Childhood Chores
Use one or more of these prompts to start or deepen your personal journaling practice – give yourself time to think about what the prompt brings up for you and explore your feelings on paper. If you need a journal, click HERE to see our available journals.
- Reflect on a childhood chore you disliked but now appreciate for the skills it taught you.
- How do you think chores can be made more engaging for children?
- Describe a chore that gave you a sense of accomplishment as a child.
- Think about a task you do now that relates back to a childhood chore.
- What life lessons do you hope children learn from their chores?