Let’s Do Our ChoresJanuary 9, 2021
Did you know that the number one correlation between top executives and how they were raised is chores?
That’s right, chores!
Not volunteer work or stable family life proved more indicative. The right schools or extracurricular activities could help but were not a deciding factor. It matters less how happy they were growing up, or their grades at any level of education. Test scores totally missed the top spot! What matters is the consistent enforcement of chores by a family that also does their chores.
Doing chores as a child teaches responsibility, collaboration, teamwork, and satisfaction of doing good work for and with others. Helping your little humans to help the household empowers them to be valuable members of the community. Inclusion is desired by all family members. Age-appropriate chores, starting relatively young, can create a culture where everyone—Mom, Dad, and each child—does their chores, contributes to the family, and is a member of the team. It’s natural, a part of life, we do it and enjoy the benefits together.
Choosing a few to start, being consistent, then building on success seems to be the agreed-upon starting point. Doing some chores together will produce a positive cycle.
Open gratitude, appreciation, and support of each other’s work and contributions—as well facilitating communication about needs—during chore time, would go a long way in making a positive cycle within the household. Working together does not mean all working in the yard at the same time, but instead working on the same flower bed, working together accomplishing one goal as a team.
Reality check —> I have a four-year-old and a seven-year-old. I know what I hear from the front lines and what I read. The personal struggles of the worlds of ages eight and over are otherwise a mystery to me. And even then I have my child, not yours. I scarcely ponder the teens that seem so far away but am assured are around the corner. That being said…
We started at age two with general helping. At age 4 my daughter is responsible for her things being put where they need to be, with encouragement and praise when she does it on her own. She is doing this more and more. She is slightly better at this than I am since her brother was born. She helps do specific tasks like the ones on Montessori age-appropriate lists (link), if reminded, and we do some in the next age group up together. This can be fun… if you make it fun. but make no mistake; this is work especially as you have to resist the urge to do it after. It is good to remember young children will reflect whatever attitude you have on the activity. Manage yourself, and your littles will be more manageable. To my little one, this is just more time we are doing something together. She loves it even more now that her brother is here too. We keep it light and positive in our house—we all make it no big deal, just something we’re doing, no different than any other activity.
Why is it so important?
In truth, there are three answers. Or at least, in my opinion, there are.
First, chores force us to build habits. As we grow, so do our responsibilities. Building habits to cope with these ever-increasing demands allows the brain to predict what is going to happen next and not waste valuable energy on prioritization of which responsibility should be handled next. This decision is automatic. This frees the mind to work on the big issues of the day.
Second, habits make life predictable when working on a team. When working as a family, you build habits together. You know that your partner is going to ______ without fail. You know that that important document that was needed and removed from its safe location is returned and will be there if you need it. You know, without thinking, your teammates will live by their habits, and they trust you to live by yours. When those habits work together like gears (because you and your team have made efforts to make it so), life runs smoother for everyone. Things just seem to get done.
Lastly, habits make you feel good. Some of the most basic habits are hygiene habits and cleanliness. Washing your face and living in a clean environment means you will experience less stress. Less stress has many physical and mental health benefits.
The life of little stress has many advantages for both adults and children. >Let’s not get into that just now< But it’s a big list.
A lifetime of less stress gained through a positive habit cycle that works with your team’s habits is going to impact your life and your child’s life. This foundation of habits can hold a lot and launch even more with less stress. So for the good of your home, your head, and your kid, do some chores.