Many parents intuitively know this, but now research backs it up. Prepping kids to do chores can help prepare them to be more successful in the real world.

It helps to teach them work ethic, and see what it means to work as part of a team. It also helps them to see the consequences of their actions and to have more appreciation for the hard work of the adults in their lives.

According to a Harvard Grant Study, which is the longest running longitudinal study in history (since 1938) it equated a happy life to two factors: Love, and work ethic.

How do you teach young people work-ethic? Based on The 742 high achievers who were part of the study, including President Kennedy and the editor of the Washington Post Ben Bradlee, it was found that a “pitch-in” mindset was the best way.

According to Julie Lythcott-Haims in her 2015 TED talk, “[The study] found that professional success in life, which is what we want for our kids … comes from having done chores as a kid.

She is the author of the book How to Raise an Adult and former dean of freshman at Stanford University. She went on to say, “The earlier you started, the better.”  “[A] roll-up-your-sleeves- and-pitch-in mindset, a mindset that says, there’s some unpleasant work, someone’s got to do it, it might as well be me … that that’s what gets you ahead in the workplace.

Get your copy of How to Raise and Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims on Amazon for $9.98

It is a parent’s responsibilities to teach children values such as work ethic. However, in some cases having kids do chores might not mean less work as a parent.

As one mother says, “That’s cool, research lady. It really does make sense. But do you have any idea how much [stuff] we already have to beg our kids to do any given day?

I called today a victory because both of my kids brushed their teeth the first time I asked and haven’t killed each other yet on this, the fifth day of their week off from school. If I asked them to do chores, they’d listen, but they’d whine. And they’d do a shoddy job. Ain’t no momma got time for that noise. … Have you seen the results when a child sweeps the floor?

The best advice is, even if you can do an awesome, perfect job at something, it’s important to let someone else do the chore even if it’s just passable. The child will learn from the experience.

As Lythcott Haims said to Tech Insider, “By making them do chores — taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry – they realize I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life. It’s not just about me and what I need in this moment.

You can work chores into your daily schedule. Some parents like to assign task lists—make sure the bed is made, everything is off the floor. Others will ask their children to assist them in tasks as they are happening. Whichever you prefer, your kids will learn a lot from having daily and weekly chores to complete.

References:

  1. “How to raise successful kids—without over parenting”, Julie Lythcott-Haims, TED Talks.
  2. “The Value of Meaningful Work”, Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School, September 18, 2018.
  3. “The single best thing parents can do to make sure their kids are successful”, Chris Weller, Tech Insider, November 6, 2015.
  4. “Kids Who Do Chores Are More Successful Adults”, Bill Murphy Jr, March 29, 2017.
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