As parents we all know that kids are “supposed” to have chores. Sometimes it feels like more work to give a child a household job to complete as a chore than it feels to do the chore yourself.
When that’s the case, is it still worth the effort to give kids chores?
Yes, because chores develop leadership skills in children, and leadership is one trait that is highly sought after in our modern workforce. Learn more ways to help children develop leadership skills.
How Do Chores Develop Leadership Skills?
What makes a great leader?
Leaders Work Hard. They are willing to take risks, and they understand that sometimes failure is the route to success. They take responsibility and show initiative in solving problems.
Leaders help everyone in their community; they don’t only focus on what serves them best.
Here are five ways chores develop leadership skills.
#1 Chores teach children to work hard.
What makes a task a chore?
Chores are usually household jobs that require significant physical labor. They also tend to be jobs that are quickly undone.
Fold the laundry? There will be another basket waiting to be folded within a day or two, if not within hours.
Wash the dishes after lunch? Five hours later, the sink is full of dinner dishes and pots and pans.
Pick up toys? They’ll be back on the floor within the hour, and sometimes within minutes.
You sweep the floor only to find bread crumbs five minutes later. Mop the floor and someone tracks in mud.
Humans enjoy creative jobs that involve a finished project that LASTS. Chores are jobs that create a very short-lived finished project.
But it’s the short-lived aspect of chores that makes them worth teaching.
So much of being successful in life requires grit and perseverance – the ability to continue doing something simply because it’s important to do, rather than because you obtain a reward.
Chores teach kids to work hard.
#2 Children learn to recover from failure when they do chores.
My main childhood chore was cleaning the bathroom. I especially hated scrubbing the bathtub, which I could never seem to quite get clean enough for my mother’s discerning eye.
I would think I had completed cleaning the bathrooms, only to have my mother walk through, show me where I had fallen short, and send me back to work.
Have you ever seen a child shove toys under the bed instead of putting them away? Or had them stuff all of their clothing into random drawers instead of folding and putting it away properly?
Short changing chores and facing the consequences teaches kids to fail, and how to recover from failure.
Over time they learn to put the toys away instead of shoving them under the bed. They start placing folded clothing in the correct drawers instead of tossing it in haphazardly.
Even I eventually learned how to clean a bathtub to my mother’s standards.
Chore failures are annoying and frustrating, but they teach kids to get back up, and to do a better job the first time round in the future.
#3 Doing chores promotes personal responsibility.
Completing chores teaches children that they are part of a household, and this gives them a sense of personal responsibility.
This is the same type of responsibility you want your child to feel in the future towards their own home, family and workplace.
As children grow older and more adept at completing household tasks, give them more responsibility about when and how chores are completed. Let them propose their own chore schedule.
Do they hate the chores they currently are assigned? Give them the opportunity to try swapping chores with a sibling, or even a parent.
#4 Chores teach kids to problem solve.
Children (and, honestly, most adults I know) consider chores themselves to be a big problem.
Teach your kids to approach household responsibilities as problems they need to solve.
The grass needs to get mowed. When and how will they do this?
Their clothes need folding, and they find that task terribly tedious. Is it helpful if they break it into 5 minute folding bursts? How about if they listen to an audiobook while they fold? Do they hate folding laundry enough that they will take over their sibling’s assignment of unloading the dishwasher if the sibling will fold their laundry?
Life is full of problems. The problem solving skills kids develop while dealing with chores will serve them well as leaders in their communities throughout their lives.
#5 Chores teach children to focus on helping their community.
Humans are, by default, pretty self-centered. It’s so easy for all of us, at any age, to focus on what WE want.
Chores teach kids to focus on the role they play within a larger community.
Yes, they have personal needs, but one of those needs is to belong to a community. As kids complete chores, they experience the satisfaction of helping a community. This increases their sense of belonging.
This focus on community might be the most important chore payoff, in terms of developing leadership. Because you can only lead when you focus on your community’s needs.
Encourage children to take home responsibilities seriously by putting them in the context of their daily lives.
Help them see all the ways other members of the household are contributing to the house every day. Express appreciation for the ways in which your child enriches your home life by doing chores.
Make sure your child knows that you see them as a positively contributing member of the household.
Chores are Great for Kids, but my Kids hate them. What do I do?
Teaching kids to do chores really pays off in the long run, but it can be a real challenge to start kids off doing chores on a regular basis. Here are some great tips on ways to get kids started doing chores around the house.
What benefits do you see from your children doing chores? What are your top tips for getting kids started doing chores around the house on a regular basis?