Intuitively, the answer is yes. But, times change and traditional isn't always the ideal guide for what's best.
Kids are busier than ever these days. And, these stresses of youth are already amplified due the evolution of social media and technology.
Is helping to manage the household something they really need to be doing? Or, should we focus on making sure they do well in school while having time to still be a kid?
Well, it turns out that doing chores, still has life long positive impact.
A longitudinal (75 years) Harvard Study notes that the kids who did chores, had better health and financial outcomes later in life.
Chores were a good predictor that children would become happy, healthy and successful adults.
So, here are some age-appropriate ideas for chores in your household:
Pre-School and Kindergarten:
- Caring for plants
- Feeding Pets
First and Second Grade
- Collecting trash from around the house
- Sweeping hard floors
- Wiping down surfaces like sinks or countertops
Second and Third Grade
- Setting and Clearing the Dinner Table
- Vacuuming Small Rooms
- Loading / Unloading the Dishwasher
Fourth and Fifth Grade
- Helping to make dinner
- Walking the Dog
- Taking out the trash
- Washing Cars
- More thorough cleaning tasks (bathrooms / garage)
- Help with household maintenance tasks
What about allowance?
There are varying points of view on this, but I'm against a monetary reward system for chores. But, I am for an allowance.
How do the two work together?
I think kids should be doing chores, as age-appropriate, because it's the right thing to do, not because they are being extrinsically motivated...at least not by money.
Doing chores is inherent to being part of the family and contributing to the household. Everyone does there part in some way.
Plus, I want to instill the value of work, even though there may not be any direct or immediate reward.
However, I also think having some autonomy along with responsibility is also a good thing. When the time comes, providing the kids with a small, but regular allowance creates that balance.
They will have the chance to spend, or save, their allowance. And, they'll have the chance to reap the repercussions of their decisions.
Small successes will build them up over time. And, their small failures and disappointments will increase the resilience without crushing them.
Where does Dragon Gym fit into all of this?
You can see, that we're an advocate of chores for all ages of kids. But, "chores" are just a tool to reinforce something more fundamental.
With martial arts training and especially martial arts lessons for children, we're looking to build skills and qualities that will last a lifetime.
We want the kids to develop good habits, and we want them to internalize the process of goal setting, chunking down and achievement.
We want them to have the confidence to tackle a seemingly daunting task and the coping skills to keep on persevering even when things don't go to plan.
This is accomplished through consistency and incremental challenge.
Our children's martial arts curriculum has a component that we call "Jung Shin Tong Il".
Loosely translated, this means "One Mind, Single Purpose".
We're teaching the kids to focus on one thing at a time for the desired outcome.
The concepts of focus, confidence, discipline, patience, and kindness are woven into our weekly martial arts lessons.
And, there's an at-home piece, implemented through chores, so that the children can live and demonstrate these concepts in an incremental habit-forming way.
It's gamified to keep the kids motivated.
Students are now eager to do the aforementioned chores and more because it's tied into their progression in the martial arts.
For us, the journey to black belt isn't just about learning "moves", it's about doing well at school, at home and in the community.
If you'd like to see what it's all about, just click below to see our kids' martial arts class schedules and learn more about the Dragon Gym Programs: