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Kids Who Do Chores Are More Successful Later in Life

Jerriann Sullivan
Oct. 26, 2017

‘They realize I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life.’

Photo via unsplash.com/@maundytime.

Making their bed and setting the table might seem like small tasks, but by having kids complete chores, parents are ensuring they’ll be more successful later in life. 

“Learning to do chores and doing them can offer children a sense of mastery over their world,” Seattle psychotherapist Dr. Kathleen M. Pape told Care.com. “The child will learn that they have some control over and say in the way their environment functions. This will carry them through many challenging tasks ahead.” 


Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and author of “How to Raise an Adult,” highlighted the value of doing chores as a child in a recent TED Talk.

“If kids aren’t doing the dishes, it means someone else is doing that for them,” Lythcott-Haims told Tech Insider. “And so they’re absolved of not only the work, but of learning that work has to be done and that each one of us must contribute for the betterment of the whole.”

Lythcott-Haims explained that these tasks help kids grow up to be employees who work well with colleagues and offer support when the team is struggling. 

“By making them do chores — taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry — they realize I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life,” Lythcott-Haims said. “It’s not just about me and what I need in this moment, but that I’m part of an ecosystem. I’m part of a family. I’m part of a workplace.”

It isn’t just Pape and Lythcott-Haims who feel this way. The Harvard Grant Study, the longest longitudinal study ever conducted, showed that professional success comes from having done chores as a kid. According to the massive study, men and women who did more chores and housework as kids developed a “pitch in and help” mind-set that leads to success in the workplace later in life, Lythcott-Haims explained. 

The key to implementing chores in kids’ lives, though, is not telling them how the tasks will make them more successful. 

“Kids don’t really care about the long-term effects of something that may be noxious in the present,” Pape told Care.com. She said to avoid phrases like “This will make you a better employee/student/spouse some day.” 

Instead, Pape said to highlight the role the kids play in their family.

“Tell them ‘Thank you. You are making my day/week/life so much easier by taking out the garbage/fixing dinner/sweeping/wiping down the table. Thank you.’ The truth is that most kids want to please their parents, and it gives them great joy when they feel powerful enough to have made us happy,” Pape said. “So let them, and tell them so, a lot.” 

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