3 Reasons Why Family Work Should Be a Priority

It’s the third time you’ve asked today, and Suzie still won’t take five minutes to sweep the kitchen. Jimmy has been playing video games for hours, but he refuses to stop and vacuum the living room. Natalie is dragging her feet yet again and still hasn’t fed the dog.

Sound familiar? After constantly nagging your son or daughter to help out, maybe you’re about ready to give up on chores altogether.

If you’re struggling to get your kids to work, you’re not alone! Research shows that the millennial generation cares less about work and more about play than any other generation (1).

So if kids have such a hard time with work, why fight to make work a part of family life? Here are three reasons you should make family work a priority even though it’s hard to do.

1. Work helps kids become moreconfident.

Letting kids have responsibilities doesn’t just help the family out; it helps the kids, too! As they participate in household tasks or other family work projects, your children can feel like they have something to contribute.

When you help your kids learn to complete jobs around the house, they can take pride in their work (2). This in turn helps your kids feel competent, confident, and capable (3).

2. Working together builds relationships.  

Sometimes kids (and let’s be honest, adults too!) put off chores because they’re boring. And really, household tasks can often be mindless and repetitive. But surprisingly, this mindlessness has its benefits!

Since so many chores only take muscle memory, we can use this time as a chance to build relationships. Work alongside your kids! Even just folding the laundry or doing dishes together can give you a chance to have all sorts of meaningful conversations that you might not otherwise have. And as child development specialist Betsy Brown Braun explains, “communication . . . is the foundation for your relationship with your child” (4).

3. Work helps our kids think about others.

In today’s world of selfishness, how can we help our kids learn to think about others? Well it turns out that giving them chances to work is a great place to start!

Research shows that when kids participate in family-care household work, not just cleaning up after themselves, they become even more concerned about other people (5). When your children help out with family responsibilities, you’re helping them learn to think outside themselves and take care of the people around them.

Keep on Working!

Although it can take a lot of effort to make family work happen, it’s well worth the effort. As your kids learn to work, they will become more confident and grow more selfless. And if you take the chance to work alongside your children, it can even help your relationship with them! So even though it takes energy and even a little creativity sometimes, keep on working to make family work a priority.

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Pictures retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/washing-dishes-soap-sink-bubbles-1112077/ and https://pixabay.com/en/baking-children-cooking-education-1951256/.


1. Twenge, J. M. (2010, June). A review of the empirical evidence on generational differences in work attitudes. Journal of Business and Psychology, 25(2), 201-210. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10869-010-9165-6

2. Tiret, H. (2016, September 29). The benefits of kids doing chores. Retrieved from Michigan State University Extension website: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/the_benefits_of_kids_doing_chores

3. Beurkens, N. (2016, September 20). Competence: The key to improving self-esteem, reducing resistance, instilling responsibility, and promoting a positive mood in children. Retrieved from https://www.drbeurkens.com/competence-key-improving-self-esteem-reducing-resistance-instilling-responsibility-promoting-positive-mood-children/

4. Braun, B. B. (n.d.). How to talk to kids: The importance of communication [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.parents.com/kids/problems/how-to-talk-to-kids-the-importance-of-communication/

5. Grusec, J. E., Goodnow, J. J., & Cohen, L. (1996). Household work and the development of concern for others. Developmental Psychology, 32(6), 999-1007. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1996-06406-003

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