Kids who do chores while growing up turn into much more successful adults, research has proven. In the Harvard Grant Study, which happens to be the longest-running longitudinal study in history covering more than 75 years, they discovered the two keys to a happy life: love and a solid work ethic. Tell that to your little ones next time they complain about having to clean up.
How do you develop a work ethic? In the study, 724 high-achievers had one major thing in common: they were all kids who did chores. “[The study] found that professional success in life, which is what we want for our kids … comes from having done chores as a kid,” Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former dean of freshmen at Stanford University, said in a 2016 TED talk (via Inc.).
No age is too young to get started. Lythcott-Haims went on to say that kids who were the most successful as adults started chores earlier in life. “[A] roll-up-your-sleeves- and-pitch-in mindset, a mindset that says, there’s some unpleasant work, someone’s got to do it, it might as well be me … that that’s what gets you ahead in the workplace,” she explained.
Of course, the best intentions won’t actually get the chores done. Many parents think that while it’s a nice idea, it’s easier said than done getting kids to pitch in. Valerie Williams at Scary Mommy put it bluntly: “That’s cool, research lady. It really does make sense. But do you have any idea how much [stuff] we already have to beg our kids to do any given day? I called today a victory because both of my kids brushed their teeth the first time I asked and haven’t killed each other yet on this, the fifth day of their week off from school. If I asked them to do chores, they’d listen, but they’d whine. And they’d do a shoddy job. Ain’t no momma got time for that noise. … Have you seen the results when a child sweeps the floor?” She has a point!
Sometimes you’ll have to learn to let go. Maybe the point here is for the child to learn the lesson of how to pitch in and clean up. It doesn’t have to be done amazingly well, and you may have to come behind them when they’re in bed at night to make sure the job is done properly, but they need the experience of getting their hands dirty, so to speak. Kids who do chores, no matter how badly, are undoubtedly going to be better off in the long run.