Have any of you done household chores when you were younger? Studies show 88% of children do household chores. Children prefer to do household cleaning and food preparation rather than clothes related tasks. There are three factors that determine the children’s performance in household activity, they are age, gender, and employment status of the mother. (look at the picture to follow along)
- Age: Older children tend to participate more in household activity than young children. Either because mothers expect more out of older children and think the younger children incapable. Or Once there are more children there are more tasks to be done so the older children are needed to do these tasks, particularly in food preparation.
- Employment of mother: Children who’s mothers work full time or are stay at home Mom’s are more likely to be participating in household activities. However, children who’s mothers work part time are found to have the least amount of household activity. The reason for this being that mothers who work full time have no choice and need to get the chores done, so they delegate the tasks to their children, particularly that of dishwashing. Mothers that do not work have more time to spend with their children and therefore their children participate more in household tasks, performing them together with their mother. Mothers who work part time previously had been doing all the chores themselves before working. Now that they are working, they feel guilty to delegate these tasks to their children, so they don’t encourage their children to be involved.
- Gender: Girls are found to be participating more in household chores, particularly dishwashing. While boys are found to not participate as much. Boys participate more in maintaining the car and yard. The reason why girls like dishwashing is that it is a job that uses companionship. One person can wash the dishes while another dries it.
If a parent is overworked they may feel guilty and upset if they have left chores undone while they are busy helping their kids with homework. What they don’t realize is children are the best source of household help available. A creative parent can use household tasks such as following a recipe to reinforce reading and math skills. A parent can use tasks like meal preparation, washing windows, cleaning a closet or room as a way to engage in activities with their children. This way they accomplish two things at once, getting chores done and spending valuable time with their children.
By having children participate in household tasks they distribute the family load equally so there’s less stress from the pressure of having to get everything done. Additionally, household tasks have an important role in teaching children family responsibility, home living skills, and the attitudes that go along with these tasks and they carry it into their adult lives.
Instead of having to worry about the clutter of children toys, instead of having to pay tons of money on toy “kitchens” “paint sets” “cleaning tools”, give the child a spray water bottle and some paper towels and have them help wash walls and windows. Tasks like folding clothes, sorting laundry into different colors, counting silverware and setting the table can be a valuable learning experience when shared with an adult.
If you wait for the child to become a teenager before you ask them to participate in housework it may be too late. So start now, give your child some chores that are age appropriate. It will help make a relaxing environment in the house and provide lifetime learning experiences.