Guest Guru: Alyssa Davis – Requiring Kids to Help Out Builds Responsibility

Requiring Kids to Help Out Builds Responsibility

By Alyssa Davis of

In days gone by, down on the farm, there was never a question as to whether children would help out with the household chores, because it was simply a matter of necessity. Along the way, by acting as members of a family, invariably the kids learned to be accountable and responsible. If a chore did not get done, the whole family suffered, so children learned early, that doing their chores was a lot like breathing, and they did them automatically so the family could survive and thrive.

As generations have passed, no longer is a child’s attending to chores going to directly affect the good of the family. As a matter of fact, it is often much easier for parents to quickly and expertly perform the chore themselves, because it takes a fraction of the time and effort that it takes to teach a child to do it and follow up to make sure that it gets done. Many households are affluent enough to hire household help, like a gardener and a maid to attend to the chores, so even the parents do not have to tend to any chores.

Side Effects of Helping Out

Unfortunately, what has been lost over the years is the serendipitous side effect that so benefited a growing child, namely learning to be responsible. If for no other reason, learning to be responsible and accountable for their actions is a single, strong enough reason for any child to have household chores. Now the accidental side effect is that it might even make life a little easier for Mom and Dad. Along with responsibility, household chores teach children how to take care of themselves. For example, every person, male and female, should know how to cook a meal, set a table, make a bed, do laundry, vacuum a floor, dust tabletops and take out the trash.

In today’s world, a wife is just as likely to work outside the home as the husband is, and more often than not, the couple is sharing household chores in whatever way makes the most sense for their schedule. So having children perform a variety of chores around the house is tantamount to growing a well rounded child into a self sufficient adult.

A Well Rounded Child

With this goal in mind, it is never too early to start children off with their own chores. Even very young children can put toys away, help bring in the groceries, help clear the table or feed the dog. Giving any child the responsibility of completing a task builds their self confidence. Make sure to tailor the task to the child’s abilities, and always allow ample time for a child to complete a chore. Of course children will drag their feet and complain about doing chores from time to time, but if there is ample time for a parent to insist patiently rather than threaten loudly, the outcome is usually much better for everyone.

As a child grows, they can be given chores that require more and more skill and carry with them greater responsibility, and in time parents will notice that they have raised self assured and quite capable young adults.

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