It seems that summer will be here before we know it. On campus at Iowa State University, it is summer already. My own grandchildren will be out of school soon and that change means that the kids will have a bit more time on their hands. This makes me think back to when my own five children were out of school for the summer. With a large family, that often meant reassigning some chores for the summer.
There are several schools of thought about children and chores around the house. One side thinks that since everyone is part of the family, all members should do things that contribute to the good of the family. Everyone might be responsible for putting their own dirty dishes into the dishwasher or emptying the trash from their own bedroom before garbage collection day. Others think that a good way to teach children the value of a dollar or the value of work is to pay them to do regular chores around the house.
Both sides make good points about teaching children and working together. The current research tends to support not tying allowance or pay with chores. That being said, there should still be some sort of consequences for chores left undone.
Kids can gain a lot by performing chores around the house. If the chore truly contributes to the wellbeing of the family, a child will tend to feel more connected to the family group. Completing a job gives a great sense of pride and accomplishment. These chores can also teach life skills; eventually, everyone needs to know how to do the laundry or clean their home. The ability to perform these chores successfully will also be a boost to the child’s confidence and self-esteem.
Additionally, requiring the kids to do chores frees up some time for the parents. It can also help provide some structure and routine in the life of the family. Research has demonstrated that children thrive on structure and routine.
Parents must remember to assign chores that are developmentally appropriate. Of course children are all different but this list will provide some suggestions. Younger children will require a bit more supervision, at least at first. Resist the urge to redo chores that perhaps don’t meet your standards. If you redo a chore you will undermine the child’s sense of accomplishment. Over time, you can help the child improve their skills and you will both benefit.
Now is a great time to make some plans for this summer.