Good news, mums! Getting your kids to help you out with household chores could have potentially amazing benefits for them.This finding is the result of an extremely thorough Harvard study spanning 75 years.
The study examined two groups of people; 268 Harvard graduates from the years 1939 to 1944, and 465 young men from poor neighbourhoods in Boston.
The researchers wanted to see which factors could predict health and well-being in later life, and one of their findings was very interesting indeed.
They found that participants who had been given chores as children became adults who were more independent, better able to work in collaborative groups, and better able to understand that even though doing chores or hard work can be unpleasant at the time, it is a valuable contribution to make to a community.
In other words, teaching your kids to do chores helps them to learn a sense of responsibility, and about helping others. It teaches them to delay their own gratification and contribute to a bigger cause.
And this study didn’t merely involve ticking boxes on questionnaires. Director of the study Robert Waldinger said: "To get the clearest picture of these lives, we don't just send them questionnaires.
“We interview them in their living rooms. We get their medical records from their doctors. We draw their blood, we scan their brains, and we talk to their children. We videotape them talking with their wives about their deepest concerns.”
Giving your child chores to do helps them understand working together to benefit the entire family, rather than focusing on their own needs constantly.
Helping out at home can also help develop your child’s sense of empathy and help them learn to care for others.
To encourage kids to do chores, let them do the jobs they think are fun (e.g. some kids love washing dishes, as they get to play with the bubbles), and emphasise that they are helping mummy.
Older kids may need more persuasion to start doing chores, so it’s best to start at a young age, if possible.
You can use reward charts to give your child an incentive to help out, and set a good example by getting your partner to help with chores as well.
They may moan and groan, but when they move out of home or get their first job, they’ll be very grateful to you!