We usually call them chores. But in the broader perspective, they’re a sensible way to share the load of a household among all its members. Call it skin in the game for kids. Call it helping everyone get through the day so no one ends it dead tired.
Mary Ann Nemoto, a project administrator at the Center on the Family at the University of Hawaii, believes children can begin helping as early as the toddler stage. Despite the painstaking training time, it pays off in many ways.
“You can ask a child who is able to walk, ‘Can you get your diaper for me?’ ’’ she says. “It makes them feel important and that they can do something.” At the same time they are learning — to sort, to count, to improve small and large motor skills, and to become contributing members of the family.
“With the economy so bad parents get stressed out doing everything,” says Nemoto. “If they work with the child early on it will help alleviate the stress of doing everything themselves.”
Sharing in household duties is also an important training ground for your children’s future. “When they leave you, you want to know they’ll be OK,” she says. “It will help in their marriages, and in their jobs because they’ll already understand how important it is to help out. They’ll become more responsible and feel good they’ve contributed.”