When you were little, what chores did you get stuck doing? I remember I was always on garbage duty – I’d have to make sure all the garbage and recycling bins in the house were not overflowing, and I’d drag the big bin to the curb every Tuesday morning. Although I hated it at the time, looking back it set me on the road to being a responsible adult!
That’s why I was so surprised when I read a new research piece last week. Did you know that 79 per cent of Canadians surveyed feel that Children who grow up without doing chores are more likely to grow up with an unhealthy sense of entitlement? Even more scary – 59 per cent of Canadians surveyed said children today spend less time doing chores compared to when they were young!
Experts say there are two areas where chores influence children’s development – increasing independence and increasing the ability to work well with others.
Parenting expert Alyson Schafer thinks housework is vital to a child’s development – “Too often children are excused from helping, or treated like indentured servants who resist being ordered around,” said Ms. Schafer. “Instead we need to invite them to help and participate in the jobs needed to keep the home running smoothly. It’s these contributions and helpfulness that make children feel valued, feel a part of the family, and build life skills for when they set up their own home.”
Even though it doesn’t feel like a large contribution, small tasks like taking out the garbage or doing the dishes imprint a sense of responsibility in us. It helps us learn to care for our families in the long run!
Further interesting survey data includes:
- 89 per cent of Canadians surveyed feel parents need to lead by example if they expect their children to adopt a positive attitude to doing household chores
- 59 per cent of Canadians surveyed feel it is most appropriate to start giving children household chores when they are between five and eight years old, while 27 per cent view the ages of nine to eleven years the best time to start giving chores to children
- Among parents surveyed with children at home, 50 per cent describe their household as opting for a clear division of responsibility, while only 28 per cent say they try to do chores together and 20 per cent of parents do all of the chores themselves