Engaging Children In Chores Has Added Benefits, According To Development Experts

By: Julie Loffredi National Content Desk

Clean the dishes. Make your bed. Vacuum the living room.

If you heard those commands growing up from mom and dad, you may be better off. A new study suggests doing those simple chores as a kid — cooking, cleaning, and washing — can set you up for long-term success.

Appliance-giant Whirlpool recently teamed up with Developmental Psychologist and Child Development Expert Richard Rende, Ph.D to study this connection. The soon-to-be-published report reveals a vast range of potential cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of chores for kids throughout developmental stages.

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Dr. Rende’s new whitepaper – Chores: Why They Matter, How to Engage Children and Developmental Benefits, set to be published in the Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter in 2021 – maps out chore ideas and the potential benefits for each age group. Here’s a look:

  • Toddlers (2-4 years old)
    • Chore benefit: Toddlers have a natural tendency to help others, and research has found that this instinct can be nurtured in a home environment where toddlers can spontaneously assist with chores.
    • Recommended chores: Involving toddlers in activities like helping to set the dinner table or practicing counting while sorting their socks can reinforce their interest to get involved and help others. Doing so can also help develop their motor and perceptual skills.
  • Young children (5-8 years old)
    • Chore benefit: Kids who work with others to complete chores learn how to function well in a group environment. In fact, a research study found that kindergartners who participate in chores show higher levels of self-competence, better peer relationships, and advanced prosocial behaviors by the third grade.
    • Recommended chores: Asking a young child to help with folding laundry or measuring ingredients during meal preparation will teach the importance of helping others and increase cognitive skills.
  • Older children (9-12 years old)
    • Chore benefit: As older children take on more responsibilities and can perform more tasks, chores can provide platforms for natural exploration that develop STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) skills.
    • Recommended chores: Kids can learn fractions through meal preparation, such as cutting homemade pizzas or pies. Following a recipe can teach kids trial and error. Children can also benefit from self-directed learning like loading the washing machine and transferring clothing to the dryer on their own.

For more insights, find Dr. Rende’s latest books on parenting on Amazon or check out the Chore Club for chore suggestions.

Photo Source: Whirlpool