Children worldwide are about to bemoan me for this, but here goes.
Doing chores is very, very good for kids’ health.
Not only does it help build self-confidence and self-esteem, it teaches resilience, and it has academic and emotional benefits too. Sound too good to be true? It’s not.
Just ask Jane Jane Martino, the founder of meditation app Smiling Mind and fundraising platform, A Shout For Good. She’s also an author, and mum to three sons, now 11, nine and eight. And she says it is all to do with mastery – that is – learning a chore, and learning it well, allows you to master a task. And mastery has huge benefits.
“Mastery is a huge contribute to resilience, and building confidence and self-esteem. I think the earlier, and the more, we can all continue to master new things, the healthier it is for us.” she explains.
Hear Jane talk to Holly Wainwright about mastery on the latest episode of I Don’t Know How She Does It. (Post continues after audio.)
From a young age her boys became quite independent, learning how to master varying tasks depending on their age. Things like – beginning to learn how to make a sandwich, and then taking on the responsibility to make lunches one day a week, something that Jane’s family does in their home.
“I love watching the boys master things, and I think, with my exposure to Smiling Mind, and positive psychology and mindfulness, it’s been really interesting to understand mastery better, and how important mastery is for us to build our confidence and self-esteem and feel like we’re achieving things, even if they’re really small things, in either our minds or the kids’ minds.”
Jane says this can be hard at times, especially as she does have “a control freak component in [her] personality”, but it is important in helping her sons build self-confidence, self-esteem, and independence.
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There is science behind how effective mastery is for children, too.
Decades of studies show the benefits of chores — academically, emotionally and even professionally.
One study from the University of Minnesota found that kids who begin doing chores from the ages of three to four were more likely to have better relationships with others, have more academic and career success, as well as learning self-sufficiency and independence, compared to those who didn’t do chores.
So there you have it – if you ask the children to do the dishes, you’re really doing them a favour.
Listen to the full interview with Jane, including how she coped with going back to work just weeks after each of her children’s births, here:
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