Blogging WSJ: On the Virtues of Making Your Children Do the Dishes

Blogging WSJ: On the Virtues of Making Your Children Do the Dishes

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Carrie McBride
Sep 3, 2008

Do your kids do as many chores as you did? The average 6-12 year old spends about 24 minutes a day helping out around the house - a 25% drop from 1981 - and probably an even steeper drop from your own childhood.

When we were kids we were expected to contribute to the household with daily chores like helping with dinner, setting the table, doing the dishes, taking out the trash, folding the laundry, sweeping the porch, etc. Our best friend (the baby of nine kids), on the other hand, got a free ride. She keeps a very tidy house today (more so than we do!), but are there longer term consequences when kids don't do chores?

A recent column in The Wall Street Journal discussed this idea. Sandra Hofferth, director of the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland found that not only are children doing less housework, parents are too as more families hire frequent or occasional housecleaners or are less stalwart about household cleanliness than earlier generations.

Some researchers suggest that instilling the value of housework into children may pay off later in life for them as there is a correlation between sharing housework and the success of marriages. Alice Rossi of the University of Massachusetts also found that adults who performed housework as children were much more likely to participate in volunteer and community work later in life.

You can read the whole article here. What do you think - is housework an important value to pass on to your kids?

(The awesome tea towel above is for sale by Showpony.)

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