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Chores - the Magic Ingredient

Posted by Dave on September 22, 2016 at 8:20 PM

Some of us have known this intuitively for a long time, but multiple longitudinal studies now prove that having done regular chores as a kid (the earlier, the better) is the single most common attribute shared by the world's most successful people. And, it's not just success.

Harvard learned that doing chores and part time work as a child was the single strongest predictor of positive mental health as an adult - more than neighborhood, social class, family, etc.

The University of Minnesota's analysis of 20 years worth of data found that the best predictor of success as a young adult  was the age at which a child began doing chores. The most succesful started doing chores the earliest - ages 3 to 4.

Whirpool asked Braun Research to poll 1001 parents about chores in 2014. What they found is that just 28 percent of kids are regularly given chores, but 82 percent of parents did them as kids.

I've been a strong proponent of chores for kids for decades. My own parents missed the boat on this one, but I made sure my son always had a list of things he was responsible for. By many measures, I consider him to be far more successful than me.

If you've read my other posts you'll know I prefer not to tie allowance to chores, or pay directly for chores, but this is one variable that didn't figure into the research. My own philisophy is that kids should do chores as a way to contribute to the family. An age-appropriate spending allowance recognizes that kids need to learn to manage money and take responsibility for certain regular expenses.

Bottom line - chores are woth all the grief they put parents through. Start them early, and increase the number and complexity as they grow older. Encourage part time work when they're old enough, including helping neighbors with gardeng and other simple jobs when they're young, working up to retail jobs in high school.


Categories: Teaching Tools, General Topics

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