I recently saw an article on Yahoo! that said only 28% of today’s kids do chores versus 82% of kids from our generation.
I don’t know about you, but I had chores when I was growing up. I took care of our pets, washed the dishes, and helped clean the house ALL day on Saturdays. (I still have nightmares about cleaning each and every slat on our huge stereo.)
My kids are definitely part of the 28% of today’s kids who have chores. My 10 year old is responsible for doing three chores a day including things like vacuuming the living room or his bedroom, emptying the dishwasher, and cleaning the bathroom. My younger kids are 6 and 5, and they’re responsible for two chores a day including picking up their toys, cleaning their rooms, putting away clean clothes, and feeding the cat.
We have our kids do chores because we want them to learn to be self-sufficient, and we want them to understand that there are not always people there to do things for them. I plan to work with my oldest this summer to teach him how to prepare some basic meals.
Repercussions for Kids Who Don’t Do Chores
But what about the other 72% of kids who don’t do chores?
One of my friends had surgery recently, and she had trouble getting up to prepare her food. Her boys are 17 and 13, but neither of them could make her anything while her husband was at work because they hadn’t yet learned to cook. Her son had to go to the store to buy some frozen meals for her.
And herein lies the problem. “Too often children leave home for college unable to look after themselves adequately. They have to rely on junk food or expensive ready-made meals” (Yahoo!).
If your children do not have the most basic of skills to care for themselves, when they’re adults their lack of skills can cost them a small fortune. You likely know of people who don’t know how to cook, so instead they fill their grocery carts with frozen meals or go out to eat every night.
Even worse, your adult child may be so cozy at home that he never leaves!
Parents Sacrifice Now So Greater Rewards Can Come Later
My guess is that many parents don’t give their children chores because training them to do chores properly takes time, sometimes a few weeks to a few months. It can be a painful process.
Gina Gardiner, author of the Yahoo! article, states, “Many parents I believe are suffering from the ‘It’s quicker, easier and less hassle to do it yourself syndrome.’ Of course, it takes time to teach children how to do chores and a real commitment to motivate children to do the chores and understand why it’s important—but it is well worth the investment.”
I know that is why I have neglected to teach my oldest to cook and why I’m waiting to do so until the summer when we’ll have more time. Teaching him to cook will require patience on my end (and perhaps his, too), but it will be well worth the time and effort.
Do you require your children to do chores? If you don’t, why not?
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in New York, where she loves the natural beauty of the area.
This is just another one of those WTF moments that make me wonder what sad state the US has reached.
What do parents think they are supposed to be doing for their children if not preparing them to thrive once they leave home. I suppose they reap what they sow when their children boomerang after college and never leave home.
Begs the question though – who has the chlorine for our “cultural” gene pool?