Scientists Say Household Chores Help Kids’ Brains
Doing jobs around the house can boost brain activity.
By: Kirsten Brooker | June 29, 2022 | 523 Words
“Chore” may be the most dreaded word in a child’s home. Not many enjoy doing the dishes or running the vacuum, but maybe you would feel better about the work if you knew the benefits. A recent study found that kids who regularly help around the house show improved problem-solving skills and a stronger overall ability to think.
The idea for the study arose amid the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. Researchers wondered if kids were asked to do more than usual to help around the house since they were home all day. About half of the children did the same chores as before, while around one-third reported doing more to help. So, what was discovered about the kids who did their fair share? Let’s find out.
Hard Work Pays Off
As with most things in life, something worth having is rarely easy to get. If it were easy, everyone would do it. But, for many, this is a lesson learned over time. The study conducted by researchers from La Trobe University in Australia revealed ways to discover this life lesson a little sooner than most.
The study included the parents and guardians of 207 children between the ages of five and 13. The adults were asked to answer questionnaires about the number of household jobs kids were asked to do. The research team, led by student Deanna Tepper, found that brain skills such as planning, keeping self-control, remembering instructions, and multi-tasking were all improved in the kids with more responsibilities at home.
Tepper states: “Children who cook a family meal or weed the garden on a regular basis may be more likely to excel in other aspects of life – like schoolwork or problem solving.”
The team found that tasks should be suited to the kids’ age, so they feel a sense of accomplishment upon completing the work. This improves self-esteem and social skills, and promotes a feeling of satisfaction.
Why Does It Matter?
The logic is simple; lazy kids become lazy adults. Improving certain brain functions at a younger age is great because it predicts future behaviors and abilities.
“Impairments or delays … can lead to difficulties in the ability to self-regulate, plan, and problem solve as adults, having implications later in life on reading performance and mathematical ability,” Tepper said. She added that kids’ brain development also affects their general academic performance at school.
The study found that kids should not only do chores that affect them individually, like preparing their own food and personal hygiene. They should also perform family-care tasks, meaning doing things for others.
Luckily, the researchers also showed that doing enjoyable chores has more benefits. Jobs that a person finds boring will not have the same positive results as jobs they enjoy or value.
So, whether it’s cooking, gardening, tidying up, laundry, or something else, it’s a good idea to find a few chores that suits you and help out around the house – it could even change your life!