Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem with Chores

How often have you heard parents or teachers complain about all the chores that fall within their responsibility?

I'm not suggesting that we should expect our children to get a job when they are still toddlers or to contribute to the family's savings account.

But what about the toys strewn across the living room?

Or the stacks of dirty trousers and T-shirts?

Childhood Chores Linked to Better Self-Esteem

Is it selfish for a teacher to expect children to pick up after themselves? Certainly not. A classroom would be in constant chaos if children were allowed to roam and create messes without taking responsibility for cleaning them up.

Similarly, would parents be asking too much of their children if they expected them to clean up after playing with some Legos? No. Research now indicates that children who are assigned and complete chores have a higher sense of self-esteem, become more responsible children, and are better able to deal with frustration and delayed gratification.

[bctt tweet="Childhood chores are linked to better self-esteem in children via @ebmartin70"]

The Importance of Learning Delayed Gratification

You may recall hearing about the marshmallow experiment. The experiment was done at Stanford in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They studied delayed gratification among children by placing a marshmallow on a plate and telling the children that if they could withhold from eating the marshmallow during a short period (15 minutes), then upon the lab technician’s return the children could have additional marshmallows. The test was really about delayed gratification.

Studies have shown that people who are comfortable with delayed gratification go on to achieve greater success as adults.

Chores Help Children Learn About Delayed Gratification

That explains why teaching children about delayed gratification is so important and assigning chores to children is one way to achieve this result.

The Center for Parenting Education recently published a post on this very topic. According to the center,

Doing chores gives a child the opportunity to give back to their parents for all you do for them. Kids begin to see themselves as important contributors to the family. They feel a connection to the family. Holding them accountable for their chores can increase a sense of themselves as responsible and make them more responsible. Children will feel more capable of having met their obligations and completed their tasks.

So when you begin to discuss the types of chores you would like your children to complete, refrain from feeling guilty about it. You're helping the child in their development and sense of accomplishment in their young lives.

The center recommends that you answer these questions when contemplating chores for your children to complete:

  • What are the types of chores you would like your children to assist with?
  • Would the types of chores you are considering benefit the household?
  • Is your child mature enough to handle the chore you are about to assign him or her?
  • Will you be attaching an allowance to the household chore or will an allowance be introduced in your child's life later when your son or daughter can better manage money?

Examples of Chores for Your Children

Here are just a few ideas of chores around your house that your children might be able to complete by themselves or with your assistance:

  • Picking up all toys and storing them in a toy chest or closet.
  • Handling their laundry from washing to drying to putting their clothes away.
  • Wiping the front of a trash can or refrigerator.
  • Folding towels.
  • Sweeping floors.
  • Straightening books on a bookshelf.
  • Help with setting the table.
  • Keeping their bedroom neat.
  • Wiping down dirty walls – up to their height.

[bctt tweet="Check out my list of household chores your child can accomplish."]

What chores do you think your child is ready for?


Be sure to download my Free coloring book. Just click the image below and, voilà, you'll have a new coloring book for your child!

Bath Time for Max

Elizabeth B. Martin is the author and illustrator of six picture books for children. You can view her books here for free and download a Free coloring book here.