After decades of taking care of thousands of children, we at Westchester Health feel strongly that doing chores is very good for children, brings them (and you) many valuable benefits and should be encouraged. Doing assigned tasks develops your child’s character, teaches him/her a sense of responsibility and helps take some of the burden of household duties off of you. In a recent blog by Mason Gomberg, MD, a pediatrician with our Westchester Health Pediatrics group.
Is it worth the struggle of getting your child to do chores?
We understand that trying to get your kids to do their chores often can feel like a never-ending battle. In fact, a lot of our parents tell us that it’s easier just to do the tasks themselves and bypass all the reminding, nagging and consequences.
Yet research shows that children who do chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible and are better able to deal with frustration and delayed gratification, all of which contribute to greater success in school. Plus, doing chores enables kids to see themselves as important contributors to the family, having met their obligations and completed their tasks.
If you do everything for your children, they won’t learn how to do things for themselves
Parents who do too much for their children are actually failing to teach them the skills of everyday living. This can limit children’s ability to function at age appropriate levels, which can be embarrassing for them. But by expecting your children to complete household and self-care tasks, you’re actually equipping them with the skills to function independently in the outside world, begin to take care of themselves and learn skills they will need as an adult.
Even very young children can do chores
Children even as young as three can be assigned their own age-appropriate tasks, such as putting away their toys, making their bed, placing napkins on the table or sorting the laundry. The size of the task does not matter, it’s the responsibility associated with it that’s important. For younger children who are not putting away their toys, etc., the toy might be taken away for awhile, or rewards like TV or video games might be withheld until the issue is resolved.
Giving children allowance: a personal decision for your individual family
One question we frequently get from our parents is whether they should give their kids allowance and whether this should be tied to the completion of chores. At Westchester Health, our position on this topic is that it is a personal call, to be decided within your family. Plus, this decision (like the assigning of chores) can be re-visited from time to time.
Have questions about chores? Come see us.
If you’re wondering which chores are appropriate for your child or whether or not to give allowance, or if you have any other questions relating to your child’s health and well-being, please call (914) 232-1919 to make an appointment with one of our Westchester Health pediatricians. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you and your child.
To read Dr. Gomberg’s blog in full, click here.