Someone once asked me if my children did chores. I answered with an enthusiastic Yes! followed by a list of their household responsibilities. As I shared, my inquirer’s eyes grew wider and seemingly more troubled, “Sheesh, you guys are like farmers, milking the cows and feeding the chickens.” I know. And we don’t even have a farm. I took it as a compliment.
From the time my children were four years old they’ve had to do chores around the house. Not just cleaning their rooms or making their beds, no, those are tasks that benefit them alone. I’m talking about chores that require them to participate in the needs of our entire household, like vacuuming the stairs, mopping the bathrooms, and washing the dishes.
Which leads me to my first reason for chores:
- Family Participation I want my children to think about our family as a whole and how they can each take responsibility for making this home run smoothly for the benefit of all. I want them to feel included and needed in our family system. It also creates a culture of gratitude, as one sibling is thankful for the work of another they get to enjoy.
- Future Roommates/Spouse One day each of my children will have a dorm room, apartment or home of their own and they will most likely share that space with other people. I want to train them now to take care of those spaces to show respect and kindness to others. If they love their roommates but leave their dirty dishes around for days, that lovin’ feeling won’t last too long.
- Practical Responsibility Most children will expect to have responsibilities at work and school, but they also need to know they have responsibilities at home. Home is not just a place to kick back, sleep and eat. Clean toilets, folded clothes, and healthy dinners do not just happen. As a coach, I find that moms of girls are better at this than moms of boys. If you are parenting a boy, be wary of the temptation to focus on “manly chores” such as taking out the trash and cutting the grass. There is no such thing as “man’s work” or “woman’s work” and kids need to be equipped in all areas.
- Motivation I’ve found that having chores to do actually motivates my kids to get other things done, like piano practice and homework. When they experience the gratification of a job well done with chores, it motivates them to seek that same feeling in other areas of their lives. Chore day at our house has become the most productive day of the week.
Most importantly I want my kiddos to learn that their work around the house is their offering to the Lord. The chores they do at home are chores they do for God.
Work willingly at whatever you do,
as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Colossians 3:23 NLT
By Dale Skram
Mom of four
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
real.life.speaker, real.faith.writer, and real.life.coach