Weekly chores can not only teach kids a range of essential life skills such as self-worth and self-reliance but also help children to embrace important lessons such as the importance of setting priorities and delaying gratification.
Related: Chores for kids
A study from the University of Minnesota has found that you can make a big difference to your children's future by asking them to take out the rubbish, do the laundry, make the beds, and put away the toys. Marty Rossmann, Emeritus Associate Professor of Family Education, found that involving children in household tasks at an early age gives them a sense of responsibility, competence, and self-reliance that stays with them throughout their lives.
Beth Zemble VP for Education, GoHenry agrees and adds, “As kids (6-12+) develop and begin to make financial and money management decisions to reach their own goals they will reflect (perhaps with some prompting from you) “How long did it take me to save that money?” or “How many hours of babysitting, dog walking, etc.” were required for me to buy that video game? Earning money helps them to appreciate the connection between their labour and the financial gain.”
Bear in mind that the incentive should be proportional to the task and be what you as a parent feels is appropriate. If you feel that children shouldn’t expect payment for helping out with everyday tasks, then think about rewarding them for more involved jobs like washing windows or tidying the shed or garage.
Says Louise Hill, Co-founder and COO of GoHenry “Teaching your children about the value of money by paying them for certain chores you feel are appropriate can accelerate financial independence. Being rewarded for tasks helps them to learn where money comes from and that it has to be earned.”
Here's what you need to know about setting chores and passing on these essential life skills.
How do chores teach self-discipline?
Having your kids help around the house doesn't just make your life easier: it could also help them become better people in later life. Chores give your children the tools to realise that cleaning up and helping around the house is about contributing to the household and often means delaying gratification and setting priorities. Having your child do regular daily chores helps them to work on these character traits.
How do chores build character?
Chores also teach kids self-confidence and self-reliance, which in turn builds character. As a child, knowing you can make yourself a meal, or work the washing machine, brings a sense of achievement and satisfaction. Kids may want you as the parent to do everything for them but knowing what they are capable of when you're not around helps build character.
Kids also like to be challenged, so if your child masters their chores, add a level of difficulty to motivate them. For example, with younger kids, go bigger. If they can wash up dishes, suggest they wash the car once a week. If they make their beds, see if they can change the sheets. With older kids, if they are adept at making lunch and snacks, why not suggest they make dinner one night a week?
How do chores teach compassion?
Involving children in household tasks at an early age builds compassion and this, in turn, helps them become well-adjusted adults. Young children possess an innate desire to be helpers, and seeing parents do things daily makes them want to get involved. Chores that teach them to do things for the benefit of others (clean up, put things away and generally be helpful) teach them empathy and consideration.
How do chores teach hard work?
Most chores are hard work as they require you to do something you don't want to, which often involves physical effort. This, in turn, teaches resilience and fine-tunes problem-solving skills. For example, how to load the dishwasher so everything fits, and how to do tasks quickly but well so you don't need to redo them. Researchers looking into the benefit of chores for kids found that getting kids to do regular chores was associated with better brain functions – planning, self-regulation, switching between tasks and remembering instructions.
"Using GoHenry to set a list of ‘chores for pay’ provides us with a further opportunity to instil in our children a sound work ethic that will see them prosper in the future."
Katrina (Mum) Trustpilot
How do chores teach responsibility?
Giving your kids something to look after is the best way to link chores to responsibility. It can be something as simple as a plant, watering the garden, or feeding a fish or another pet. Tasking your child to look after these needs is an ideal way to teach them responsibility and accountability.
How do chores help to teach prioritising?
As kids get older, they need to learn how to juggle their priorities (homework, social lives, chores) to get things done. Learning to manage their time, delay gratification and work out what's important helps them to understand that they need to prioritise. Younger kids can learn this with simple explanations such as, if you don't do one thing (tidy up), then we won't have time to do another (go to the park).
Make paying your kids pocket money for chores easy with GoHenry
It couldn't be easier to set chores and pay pocket money on the GoHenry app. Research from our latest Youth Economy Report has found that more than seven out of ten kids (71%) now say it's important to earn their own money. In 2021, GoHenry kids earned £2.9 million from completing tasks set on their GoHenry app.
What's more, research shows that paying for chores helps kids to understand the concept of earning. So add a regular task on the GoHenry app to help your child remember their chores and earn pocket money.
"I love the GoHenry app and card I got for my 11 yr old. It has taught her the value of money and how to spend responsibly. Now that she spends her money, she would rather save. It also has helped with the chores I teach her - there's nothing in this life that you get for free."