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Why Kids Should Do Chores

February 4, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo I don’t usually delve into parenting advice on here. Everyone has their own views and ways of doing things.



We were raised on the farm doing chores. I read something today that I know can honestly be echoed by every farm parent in the US.

What I don’t get, however, is why I have to pain myself to teach them how to clean when what they’re doing is not actually cleaning, but usually making more of a mess, which is just more work for me. It’s more work for me to nag them to tell them to do it.

But it’s not echoed in farm country.

I recall many times when feeding, cleaning, chores was probably seen as “making more of a mess” and yet am thankful that instead of eliminating helping, there was encouragement to do better. Perfectionistic maybe at times but there was no harm done. We drank out of the (clean) cattle waterers on summer days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe only way to learn something is repetition. Making mistakes. Doing better. Then one day – get it right. We learned. Sometimes the lessons were harsh.

We didn’t weed the fence row perfectly at first. And early on there was white fence posts and white grass too. Oops. And we got in trouble for wasting it, as Connor gets in trouble now for dropping feed or careless actions. It’s a way to LEARN.

I look back at the last few years and there’s been tears, excuses and the occasional temper tantrum. But the list of things learned is long. A few include: dressing out rabbits and chickens, bedding and cleaning pens, using a shovel effectively, learn how to sweep effectively, repair equipment, processing home grown food and cooking.

Going deeper this brings responsibility, more reliability, following instructions (still working on that!) and most importantly a chance to learn to do it successfully. Achievement.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese kids will one day be doctors, lawyers, food servers, military, police and all the people that make society work. Do we want them capable and able to make decisions, or waiting for mom to approve because they don’t do it well enough?

Moms aren’t here forever. Empowering kids to practice, make mistakes and learn is not for nothing. The people that judge you on a perfectly clean floor or other home things need their own dose of reality.  It’s home. It’s a place to relax, to enjoy ourselves and while cleaning is part of the day, it shouldn’t be a pass or fail measure. It shouldn’t come with the message of “you don’t do it well enough so don’t do it at all”.

Sometimes we have a little extra well done food for dinner. Sometimes it’s chalked up to a learning experience.

It’s better than not learning at all. It’s better than making dinner by reservations because they can’t cook.

Allow them to try with age appropriate chores. Make a game of pick up toys. Get chores done and get a special treat. If we’re done with <these tasks> by <this time> we’ll go out to breakfast/lunch.

It works with kids. Teens. Adults. Don’t we all like to be appreciated? Anyone do their job perfectly the first time? Never make a mistake? That’s what learning is.

It’s what all kids should get a chance to do. Our dogs will eat from the bowl as well as anything spilled – any child can learn to hit the bowl then and if some spills out, how much damage does it really do? The rewards are much bigger!

Chores are empowerment and education. Don’t hold back the most important of life lessons.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2014 1:34 PM

    I love this post. I agree completely.

  2. February 4, 2014 9:03 PM

    I couldn’t agree more. 🙂

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