Monday, March 5, 2012

5 Ways Chores Do More than Just Keep the House Clean

This is Day 6 of my very first blog series: Kids & Chores. Today I want to look at the fact that chores do not exist simply to get a task done. Chores do so much more than just keep the house clean.

Here are 5 benefits of training our kids to do chores. These are the benefits we need to keep in mind when the kids whine, complain, do the chore wrong, and make more work for us.

1.  Chores build character. Chores build work ethic, perseverance, self-discipline, responsibility, gratefulness, and whatever the opposite of laziness is.Sounds like the making of a good husband to me. Chores build muscles too. . .not as attractive as perseverance and responsibility and a grateful heart, but muscles are attractive too :) And of course, chores build these character traits in our girls as well.

Chores also build leadership. We often have our older kids teach our younger kids a new chore. Not only are our older kids teaching a new skill to the younger ones, but they are role modeling a good work ethic and a good attitude.
2. Chores instill a sense of belonging. Kids need to know they are valuable to a family and that they are an asset, not just a liability. Kids are vital to making the home and family run. This is why Rob and I assign personal/individual chores and family chores. Personal/individual chores benefit the child: brush teeth, put clothes in hamper, wash your own clothes, pick up your room. Family chores benefit the whole family and build teamwork and family pride. Family chores would inculde make a meal, wash dinner dishes, mow the lawn, mop the floors, clean the bathrooms.

Yes, I am putting this picture on my blog again. Becasue my girls were reading my Kids & Chores series last night and Brooke was counting how many pictures of her were on my blog. So Brooke, this is for you because I love you and your pictures make my blog posts pretty :)

3. Chores train for the future. Chores teach life skills. Chores teach our kids to work hard so that they will not find it a struggle to do so the rest of their life. Chores ensure that our kids will know as adults how to take care of their own homes. Our kids will leave for college or their own place knowing what routines it takes to run a home, knowing how to cook, knowing how to do laundry, etc.

4. Chores train our kids to take initiative. Routine chores help build independence and help teach kids to take initiative independently. This is why after our kids finish a chore and we inspect, we often say, "Now look around and see if there is anything else that needs to be done. Is there anything else you could do to bless the family?"  After doing this over and over, we have found that our kids now on their own take initiative to wipe up the mud that they see on the floor (yes, even if they did not track it in) instead of just stepping over it.

5. Chores teach kids to see outside themselves and to think of others. We have taught our kids that after the last chore is checked off their list, they are to come to us and ask, "What can I do for you Mom/Dad? or "Is there anything else I can do to help?" We require this because Rob and I want to instill a servant's heart in our kids and a heart that thinks of others. And Rob and I believe the way to train a young (under 10) child's heart is to transform their behavior. So we require the behavior of asking what else can be done after all chores are finished.

Let me explain:

For children, their behavior or actions proceed their beliefs. For adults, it is the opposite: our beliefs proceed our actions. I believe stealing is wrong, therefore I don't take the sweater from the store, I pay for it (with a coupon of course!). I believe thanking people is right and I am sincerely appreciative of the gift and the person who gave it to me, therefore I write thank you notes.

For kids this is reversed. They will believe being thankful is right and hopefully cultivate a genuine thankfulness once they have learned to thank people and this becomes a habit. Or in the case of #5: My kids will believe that thinking of others is right and cultivate a genuine servant's heart once they have learned to ask others what can be done to help and this becomes a habit. 

When I get my computer fixed, I will have new pictures for my blog posts. Oh I am having to exhibit lots of patience with this computer problem.

We have already seen the fruit of this in our older children, not only in our home but outside the home as well. When we went snowboarding, all 3 of my older kids (and my Daniel because he saw it role modeled by the older kids) stopped "tearing up the mountain" so that they could help someone who had fallen or help someone pick up their skis or poles.

When someone comes over to the house, my kids are quick to go out to their car and help carry in items. Or just this week, when someone came over to purchase a craigslist item, my kids were eager to carry the item to the car and load it.
At church we teach J, our youngest to look around and think what can I do to help.  He has identified that he can go around the sanctuary and pick up bulletins and put them in the recycling bin.  Yes, chores help instill a servant’s heart and this carries to outside the walls of our own home.
J, our 5 year old who is going to grow up to be a hardworking man who joyfully serves others
These Kids & Chores posts have been long, eh?  So let me wrap up with an excerpt from the comment Kim (an older mom who has been there) left on yesterday's post. She said: "I have heard way too many parents say, "Well, Susie is so busy with all her activities, and she is getting good marks, so we don't want to upset that, so we do not require her to do chores.I cringe at the message that sends to the kids: You are too important and too busy to help."
I say, yes Kim, and oh how they miss out on the 5 benefits above. Training kids to do chores is not easy, but intentional women parent for the long term results, not the short term results. Chores can so be used as a tool to raise a generation of hard working, responsible, independent, servant hearted men and women. We can so do this. 


  1. Su, I've thoroughly enjoyed this series on chores. My son is only 2, but honestly LOVES to help out. He already picks up after himself, loves to clear the table and put dishes in the dishwasher and his favorite chore (which he requests, although we still think he's a bit young) is emptying the dishwasher. As long as we're not in a hurry and have time for one plate being unloaded at a time and brought to us, he empties everything but the silverware or anything else that might be a bit dangerous. He can put away the pans all on his own (in a drawer under our stove). Makes me smile. My sister, on the other hand, is a single mom of three kids. Dad's house is the fun house. Mom's house is the one where homework, laundry and other not-so-fun stuff takes place. She rarely makes them do anything (very similar to your comment yesterday). I had never really thought of the valuable things that chores teach our kids. I can't wait for Brody to get a bit older and understand the full meaning of some things. Thank you for encouraging me to instill some incredible values in my son (and to stand firm while doing it). :)

  2. i really appreciate your work at doing this post is amazing reminder of why we need to have our kids having responsabilities around the house and as you put it not for the short term of seeing a house clean but for the long term for having responsable, hard working adults! thanks again this is really the best post about chores i had come across... So I Pinning it :)

  3. Thank you for this post. I'm a stay at home mom of three my oldest is 6 my middle one is 4 and is also my step child and my youngest is 7 months. My oldest is extremely helpful and actually requests chores and wants to help by volunteering and picking up trash, recycling ect. I'm so very proud. My 4yr old does not have chores at his moms but when he is here I work with him on picking up after himself and of course our youngest is still to young but I'm working on chore charts and incentives on getting the family more involved and your post has answered a lot of questions for me. I'm hoping that its an easy transition for everyone. I think it does build a stronger individual and is extremely important in life.

  4. Thank you! Our kids are having fun and learning new things . This looks like so much fun for them.

    kids Kindergarten


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