Like so many parental expectations and requirements, getting your kid in the habit of doing chores will help prepare them for the real world. Dr. James G. Wellborn, clinical psychologist and author of the book Raising Teens in the 21st Century: A Practical Guide to Effective Parenting, shares these tips:

  • Responsibility  ­— When you make a mess you are obligated to clean it up. The most straightforward reason your kid needs to do chores is to drive the point home that he is responsible for his actions in the world (and the messes he makes).
  • Personal obligation — When you live with other people, you’re obliged to contribute to the general upkeep of common living areas. Chores help your kid learn to pull her own weight when it comes to keeping shared spaces clean.
  • Organization and prioritizing — Chores are unpleasant for most kids. Unfortunately, life is filled with unpleasant but necessary tasks. Chores provide the chance for your kid to practice making time for necessary evils like routine maintenance in their schedule of otherwise fun or meaningful activities.
  • Sensitivity for others — It isn’t crucial that things be straightened or cleaned. Exposure to germs and disease can help build the immune system. But, there are some things you do because it is important to someone else (like, say, a spouse or the health department). Chores provide your kids with a clear message that the world doesn’t revolve around them and they need to take others’ feelings and sensibilities into consideration.
  • Pride in a job well done — It is important to take pride in even the most insignificant tasks. Chores help your kids learn that every task is an opportunity to work their hardest and do their best.

Like so many time-honored parental expectations, household chores have a value more significant than the practical issue of household maintenance. That said, what is the most important reason kids should do chores?

Because you said so, of course.