As parents, one of the first things we want to teach our children is a good sense of responsibility.  A great way to do this is by gradually introducing household chores into your child’s normal routine. According to a University of Maryland study, American children spend less than 30 minutes a day doing household chores. For most families, that is not nearly enough time to do all the housework necessary to keep some semblance of order. All too often, parents shoulder responsibility for tasks that could be delegated to their children. Including your children in housework will produce immense benefits that can last a lifetime.

A Sense of Responsibility

When children do chores, they learn that running a household takes consistent effort and initiative.  This not only creates a sense of responsibility but also shows them the results of hard work and effort.  Often times, children dread chores, and look at them with a negative light. You can easily avoid this by introducing them gradually, and in a fun and exciting way.  Colorful chore charts are a fun way to organize and delegate tasks around the house, and something using a small reward system can provide a great incentive.

Preparing for the Future

The benefits of introducing chores early on can easily carry on into adulthood. A Harvard grant study suggests that it promotes a proactive perspective that gives professionals an advantage in the workplace. Learning why and how to complete chores equips children for life on their own and with their future families or co-inhabitants. When they’re living on their own, or raising their own families, they will have a strong understanding of how to manage their own household.

Teaching Good Habits

Overall, chores and small tasks around the house teach children good and healthy habits.  Organization and cleanliness is important as children grow and make their way through life, whether it’s during school, when they find their first job, or when they get their first apartment or home. Taking the time to create a chore system for your family is well worth the effort. You can find plenty of chore charts and age guidelines to help you determine who can do what and when. It is important to remember that your children will need your supervision and involvement until they master each task at hand. Patience is imperative; your youngsters will catch on eventually, just as you did.

Chores provide opportunities for children to acquire a higher sense of judgment, become more sensitive to the needs of others, and become less impulsive. These traits are not inborn; they must be developed through practical experience. It is up to us parents to partner with our children to help shape them into productive, mindful individuals early on.