If you’re a parent, you’ll know that the easiest way to start World War III is by suggesting that one of your kids do the washing up.
However, no longer do you have to feel like you’re nagging when trying to get your kids to help with the chores: now you actually have the weight of science backing you up. Scientists have found that kids who help out around the house grow up to be successful, well-rounded adults! Who doesn’t want that for their kids?
Here are six suggestions of household tasks which can teach your children some of life’s biggest skills – all while ticking off one more job on your ‘to do’ list!
Taking out the trash
This chore is so simple that it’s probably one of the first things you can ask your children to do without your supervision. As well as getting you out of doing one of the worst jobs in the house, this job will teach your kids to take the initiative by emptying the trash can before it becomes too full. This ability to foresee problems and tackle them before it’s too late will see your children right through their working lives.
Cleaning the windows
From the playground through to the workplace (and even within a marriage), teamwork is one of life’s most important skills. Ask each of your children to clean a different window and it will teach them how to work together to get the job done quicker. In fact, this is also a great chore to teach your kids to do something for the greater good, as by cleaning the windows they’ll be benefitting everyone in the house.
Doing the laundry
If you give your kids the tasks of sorting their own laundry, washing it and drying it correctly, they will learn the valuable lesson of responsibility. They will be responsible for their personal hygiene, for their appearances and for their personal possessions. The difficulty here is rescuing your children if they forget to do their laundry, but try to resist the temptation! If the laundry is their responsibility but they don’t manage to do it properly, let them learn to deal with the consequences.
Setting the table
Like cleaning the windows, letting your kids set the table will teach them to work together for the good of the whole family. However, setting the table is attached to another important skill that every adult needs: time management. Let your kids organize their own time between homework, leisure activities and setting the table, or even work it into a morning routine: they will learn how to juggle their tasks so that the table is ready before you all sit down to eat. The knowledge that failure will inconvenience the whole family should be enough to encourage your kids to be proactive with this role.
Helping in the kitchen
Older kids can help to cook dinner or bake treats in the kitchen, while younger kids can help out with the messier tasks of digging, weeding and planting in the garden. Not only are these jobs fun, but they also teach the art of communication. Whether they listen to you or follow recipes, your kids will have to take care to measure accurately, teaching them to listen, organize and follow instructions – all of which will be essential for the rest of their lives.
Making their own school lunch
Provided that they understand the importance of choosing healthy foods and eating balanced meals, leave the task of prepping school lunches to your kids. Being in charge of their own meals will teach your kids to be self-sufficient on a small scale, but it means that when they leave home they’ll be better prepared to cook all their own meals.
As a parent, all you want is for your children to grow up happy, healthy and dependent. Unfortunately, none of us can escape household chores, so you may as well use them to teach your kids important life. Start with small tasks while they’re young and you’ll soon find that you’ve raised responsible young adults who are capable of standing on their own two feet.