When you think about chores, there’s a chance you imagine mundane tasks from around the house, like dishes or laundry. Or perhaps the word ‘chore’ brings back memories of hot, middle Georgia summers push-mowing your parents’ lawn as a teenager, or the measly allowance you scrimped and saved to buy tickets to the movie theater. Ultimately, chores don’t carry a great connotation.
We can’t help but think, though, that chore lists are a precious, often-ignored opportunity to build strong relationships with children and teach them new skills. Many people reach adulthood before learning the value, and the gratification, of a checklist.
We don’t believe that feelings of accomplishment or confidence should be solely dependent upon productivity. But psychologically, humans feel most appreciated when they contribute to, and receive from, a group. Delegating tasks and sharing responsibilities among a team can:
- help children feel confident in their abilities
- create an environment of community among peers or family members
- encourage a goal-oriented mentality, rather than negativity about tasks
- instill early organizational skills
- prepares children to be connected, active members of society.
Pop culture tends to portray chores grimly: parents write a list of the least desirable chores, then expect children to perform those chores independently and quickly. It is, in fact, no fun for either party involved.
We can remedy this issue with a simple change in perspective. When children are part of the organizational and decision-making process, they feel more in control and in connection with others. Not only does this prevent upset over chores, but it prepares children for future working environments where tasks must be managed among many people or departments.
Let’s examine what this might look like at home.
Ideally, everyone comes together to brainstorm what needs to be accomplished, then takes part in delegating the list of tasks. These kinds of events can routinely set the stage for important conversations. What chores could be done more efficiently together, or independently? Which chores are recurring, and how often? Is there a deadline, and when should I begin the task to accomplish it on time? Which tasks are more important than others?
When everyone communicates and makes their own checklists as a group, it teaches children to focus on the bigger picture, and to work as a team.
In our fast-paced world, tasks and deadlines are inevitable. Instead of associating time and task management with frustration, anxiety, and fear of failure, what if we worked to make the correlation more optimistic for our children?
That is why at St. Joseph Catholic School in Macon, we encourage our teachers and parents to innovate new and positive ways for children to visualize their responsibilities. Chore checklists are a valuable tool, when implemented strategically, to do far more than just accomplish household duties.
At school as well as at home, sharing information about tasks and considering logistics as a team allow children to predict and prepare what happens next. Children feel more confident knowing they are each integral parts of the structure of a group.
Our students’ experiences, both at school and at home, will prepare them for the world. St. Joseph’s starts early, even with our 2k program, to implement techniques that foster connectedness, build trust, and teach responsibility.