With more time at home for kids to make a mess while the living room acts as a daycare, home office, kennel and more, it’s no wonder parents’ chores have doubled during the pandemic. Luckily, a new study sponsored by home appliance giant Whirlpool says getting kids to help out around the house will help them thrive as adults.
The survey, conducted by YouGov in late March, polled 1,065 parents in the US with kids ages 2 to 18. Only 70 percent of parents said their children do chores, compared to 72 percent of youth in 2003 and 79 percent in 1997. Further, the study found that chores from toddlerhood through adulthood provide children with social, cognitive and physical benefits.
The study specified how age-appropriate chores can help children in each developmental area when parents set realistic expectations, utilize social rewards and reframe responsibilities as a means of expressing care for one another.
For toddlers, chores (helping to set the dinner table, practicing counting while sorting socks) can help them become natural helpers, while promoting fine and gross motor skills, and improving cognitive operations, like pattern recognition and memory.
For young children ages 5-8, chores (folding laundry, measuring ingredients) can promote advanced prosocial behavior, can aid in hands-on learning, and in some areas, even improve math and reading skills.
For older children ages 9-12, chores (helping with meal preparation by following a recipe, loading the washer or moving clothes to the dryer) can cultivate self-initiative, provide an avenue of self-exploration including STEAM skills, and provides an alternative to sedentary behavior at home.
For adolescents, chores (taking out the trash, planning their own activities) can build intrinsic motivation, help with time management and organizational skills, and has been proven to have positive benefits on mental health.
Considering the pandemic has doubled moms’ chores to 65 hours per week, research says it’s time to put kids to work. Don’t worry, Mama, it’s good for them—and can even close the gender inequity gap at home. Start out with simple tasks they might not even consider bothersome using these sneaky tactics. Trust us, you have enough on your plate.