Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chores for Kids: Good or Bad?

Guest Post:James Lander of couponing site, Couponing, has provided this article. Couponing is a website that concentrates on sharing the most authoritative couponing information with consumers.

For many children, doing chores is a normal part of their daily or weekly schedule, and are the way they expect to earn allowance money or permission to do extra activities. For other kids, chores are as unfamiliar as going to a full-time office job. In recent years, the divide between parents who require chores and those who don't has become more stark, and parents on each side of the argument – for chores or against – have strong, impassioned reasons for their belief that their way is the appropriate one.

Parents who believe in chores are firm in their reasoning, primarily because they see chores as a normal part of childhood development and growing up. The argument of these parents is that chores help children learn basic, necessary skills involved with everything from responsibility to money-management and time-management. Chores, when age-appropriate, can give children a sense that they are expected to be contributing members of their household, just like their parents. The idea behind this school of thought is that children who feel an early sense responsibility to help out their group will carry this value through the rest of their lives in school, work, and their own families.

Parents who are pro-chores also hope this practice will imbue their children over time with a sense of money- and time-management. By making a weekly allowance conditional on the completion of chores, parents hope to their children a sense of the value of money and an understanding that it doesn't often come for free. Setting a daily or weekly schedule for chores is also intended to cement the idea of accountability for children; if chores are not completed in the allotted time – just as in life – payment will not be given.

Most parents who are in favor of giving kids chores tend to ease them into it, with simple tasks at a young age and assigning more complex ones later on. Helping to fold laundry is a good example of a simple chore given to a younger child to get them started; older children often do more outwardly helpful jobs like walking the dog, taking out the trash, and cleaning communal spaces in the home.

For all of the parents who see the benefits of chores, however, there are many parents who argue that children should absolutely not be given chores. The main arguments behind this belief are similarly economic and responsibility-based. Most parents who are anti-chores believe that the chore systems implemented in most households are over-simplified and actually lead to bad relationships with money and responsibility.

One of the primary arguments of anti-chores parents has to do with the idea of offering an allowance in exchange for housework. The problem, they say, is that children should not be taught to expect money for completing normal household tasks; teaching children that they will be rewarded with money every time they do the laundry or mop the floor sets them up to expect some kind of treat for any work they do for the rest of their lives. This system does not prepare them for the fact that most of work that adults do, in and out of the house, goes unrewarded and unpaid.

On the other end of this argument is the idea that children will learn that the purpose of work is to be rewarded rather than to be a positive member of a team. These parents worry that rewarding children for certain tasks teaches them that other good behavior has less value and that money is the reason why they should help out.

There are also parents who are anti-chores simply because they believe children should be allowed to be children. Though this is a less-common philosophy, there are parents that think chores burden children with work and adult responsibilities too early, and that children benefit more from the opportunity to enjoy their lives free from basic duties as long as possible.

Whichever side of the chores argument you fall on, you will find many supporters. In the end, every family must find the system that they are most comfortable with and that they feel will benefit their children the most in the long run. Finding what works for your family is the ultimate way to determine the right answer in this debate.


    Maury @ Life on Mars said...

    Hmm... I'm kind of in between (maybe because I dont have kids yet???). i think there should be some chores that are just expected (making the bed, picking up their room, etc) but there are other things that should be "bonuses" and they can earn their allowance. it's not like kids have the ability to go to work to earn $$, right?

    Amy said...

    I am in between as well, and I have to teen girls. I don't over work them but I want them to understand that as a family we work together to keep our home orderly. If they are exceptionally busy with a sport or homework I let them slide for the day but if they are playing video games, on the computer or texting etc, then they are expected to help do something that needs to be done at the time. They do get an allowance for doing chores so they benefit too.

    MiriamR said...

    Great article, I too think there are things they should be doing every day without monetary compensation and then extra things for money. But I also think in general just because you aren't paying them for chores you are still compensating them. For example if they don't put their school things away and make a mess and leave it are you going to let them go to their friends house or play the wii? I always had to do chores but never got paid for them. So I think most people agree on chores they just don't agree on paying for them?

    Unknown said...

    Growing up I was one of the few kids in my school who had chores (I went to an expensive private school). I now see that those chores were very important. I was given an allowance but they were not connected to the chores. I want to raise my children the same way. This is a great discussion. Can't wait to see what other people say.

    Unknown said...

    Hi and I'm a kid, basically on the other side if the argument. If your still wondering if your child shiuld do chores a kids pount of view might help.

    My parents made chore day every Saturday and I don't like it. Me and my brother take turns doing upstairs and downstairs every week. I know what your thinking every kid hates chores, but there is more to it then just being lazy. As mentioned in this article kids need time to be kids. Saturday is the main day for kids to be active, do sports, and hang out with their friends. And if you really want chores maybe do them every other week or maybe do like a family clean and try to keep the house clean so you don't have to do chores.

    Darina said...

    I had to do chores as a kid. I cleaned the entire house once a week, with daily cleaning in between. Yes, I got an allowance. But I felt like a slave. As a result, I am very lazy, my house is always a mess, and no, it didn't teach me to be responsible with money at all because as a child I always had the money to buy the things I wanted. This taught me to place wants over needs. In contrast, I let my kids be kids. Their rooms were always a mess. Now that they are growing up they find it rewarding to them to have a clean house or bedroom and they clean without being told to (or getting paid). Plus, they are highly intelligent, graduated with all A's, and are successfully working on their life goals, and are very responsible with their money, as they learned very quickly to place needs over wants since they were never taught otherwise.

    Unknown said...

    Chores isn't cleaning the entire house once a week. That's a job. It's what i do as a mom 3 times a week. Keeping their bedroom clean isn't a chore either. It's their personal space so it's not up to me to clean up their mess. A child is capable of cleaning their room and have plenty of time to be a kid with the right direction from mom. I told my girls if they do what I show them the first time, then they won't have to come back and do it again later. When children are over 5, you can start teaching them to clean up after themselves. My girls clean their room regularly, fold their clothes once or twice a week, empties the dishwasher once a day, as well as feed the dog; and they still have time to get A's in school, go to bible study, watch at least one half hour movie a day, play in their room or outside, do homework, and go through their bedtime routine. In fact, I had them cleaning our bathroom during my last trimester, cause I could barely move, and they would fight over who got to clean the inside of the toilet. They actually wanted to do it. I would never make them clean the whole house unless the whole family was doing it like once a month or something....

    Unknown said...

    i've MCfallin!!!!!


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