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Give them chores!

By Mark Brandenburg

You have a chore to do around the house, and your kids want to help out somehow. You know that it might be nice for them to help, but you're feeling a bit impatient. And you know that it might turn into a two-hour project and there might be a big mess to clean up … a mess that could be avoided if you did it yourself.

We've all been there, haven't we?

It can be so much easier to do the household chores and projects without the assistance from your little friends. After all, who's got the time in today's world to make a project longer than it needs to be?

You do.

Research supports it: Chores are relevant
Why is it important to include your kids in household tasks? Once in a while there is some research that unveils something that's so important and relevant that it screams for parents to hear it.

Researcher Marty Rossman at the University of Minnesota studied a group of young adults from the time they were young children. The startling results of the study were that the young adults who had participated in household chores when they were ages 3 and 4 were more successful as adults than those who didn't. Specifically, these young adults were more likely to complete their education, get a good start on a career, develop adult relationships and avoid the use of drugs.

The early participation in household chores was deemed more important in their success than any other factor, including IQ. On the other hand, if children did not begin participating in household chores until they were teenagers, the experience seemed to backfire and had a negative effect on their success as young adults, using those same measures.

You can do it!
What does this research really mean? When your young kids feel as though their dad or mom believes they're capable of handling simple chores around the house, it is an incredibly powerful message to them. “Dad believes I can do it!”

If your kids believe that's how you feel about them as they go through life, you're a genius. You'll also be the parent of confident, responsible, happy kids. That's what you create when you choose to see your kids as capable and you believe in them.

But it's not as easy as just seeing them as capable. You also have to show patience with them when they tackle chores. You can't take over for them when they struggle or correct what they do. That only serves to undermine their confidence and discourage them.

Imagine the difference you can make with your kids by allowing them to participate in family chores. Imagine the difference in your kids’ esteem level that results from encouraging them rather than criticizing them.

You do have time to include your kids in chores and projects at home. Tell every other father and mother you know that they have time, too. It's too important not to.

© Mark Brandenburg.


Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, is the author of 25 Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers and is a personal coach to fathers and business owners. Read more about our NFO contributor Mark Brandenburg.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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"The media have become the mainstream culture in children's lives. Parents have become the alternative. Americans once expected parents to raise their children in accordance with the dominant cultural messages. Today they are expected to raise their children in opposition to it."
-- Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe columnist

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