Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Why Children Need Chores (wsj.com)
54 points by prostoalex on March 14, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 25 comments

> Like a videogame, start small and have young children earn new “levels” of responsibilities, like going from sorting clothes to earning the right to use the washing machine.

I feel like kids are smarter than this. When my mom made me start doing my own laundry at age 12 I did not feel like I was winning at life.

> Talk about chores differently. For better cooperation, instead of saying, “Do your chores,” Dr. Rende suggests saying, “Let’s do our chores.” This underscores that chores are not just a duty but a way of taking care of each other.

I completely agree with this. I think this was the biggest piece missing from the way chores worked in my family. We had a cleaning lady and my mom had her clean less and less of the house as we got older in order to teach us responsibility via chores. But it was a very individualized thing and always felt like an artificially engineered scenario.

Hard to put much past a 12-year old, sounds like your mom started too late :)

My 2-year old loves to "help" sort laundry, and loves to take laundry to the machine, even when it's clean.

I remember begging my mom to let me do dishes when I was 4 years old. She spent so much time over the sink that I just assumed that it must be fun. I may have been proven wrong, but it certainly got me in the habit of keeping my sink empty.

Nowadays I actually think dishes are ... maybe not fun, but pleasant. It's a straightforward goal-oriented task that doesn't require much in the way of decision making or mental effort, there's often warm water involved, it's kindof calming, and you get a good feeling from having rolled back entropy, restored a certain amount of order, and replenished a useful resource (clean dishes).

It's nice to use my brain more building software too, but sometimes it's nice to have a break.

Do you really have any insight into what you were thinking when you were 4 years old? I assume you have no idea if you really thought it was "fun", or if it was just something that people did, and therefore you should mimic it.

My son is 3, and is at almost all times making the case that he is a "big boy"... That's a big factor. Fun is always a factor, because kids love to hang out with the parents.

Besides that, he just wants to help in any way he can. The other day he was piling laundry into a big dump truck, and rigged it to tow another vehicle to transport laundry to the room where my wife was folding.

For what it's worth my child loves washing dishes.

There are some obvious safety measures -- the water is much cooler than I'd normally use; I make sure there are no knives in there; I take all the glasses out (he's young and a bit clumsy).

He also enjoys hoovering, and folding clothes.

I have vague memories of the event, and my mother filled me in on the rest when I was about 10. Apparently I gave her an explanation as to why I wanted to do the dishes.

Children love to help. Our 22 month old has been carrying scraps of paper and what not to the trash since he started walking. Of course we praise him for it, but he started doing it on his own.

I agree. I was a free range kid and have a lot of good memories of going to the neighbors and just helping them on random projects. They would patiently teach me things and let me help. Sometimes (in retrospect) I'm certain I wasn't actually helping, but they were kind and made me feel like I was. Other times I'm sure they got some free labor out of me, but that's OK too - I learned some good skills.

My neighborhood has some free range kids and every time I'm out doing some garden work or house project, they ask if they can help. When it's not dangerous, I try and let them. Sometimes they certainly aren't helping, but everyone (me included) has fun with it, and they feel like useful people. One time I definitely had to completely redo a brick walkway after the kids got called home, but a few years later when that batch of kids were high schoolers I was sitting in the house and I heard them walk by with some other kids and heard them bragging about how they "helped the cool old dude build that sidewalk".

Not exactly the same as chores - but I agree - kids like being and feeling useful.

I do remember being very excited to vacuum and now.

I'm a grown man and still have to ask my mom how to use her washing machine when I'm there.

Related to this: in Japan the school children have to clean the class room and hallways. It's an integrated part of going to school and I think it is brilliant on so many levels.

Best case, it saves money on staff, teaches children how to clean and how to be respectful of their environment.

Obviously there are some potential for cruelty, like if you know it's Hashimoto's turn to clean today and you think he's a wimp, you can save some dirt somewhere for him to deal with.

I don't think this is a problem in Japan, and regardless, let's be honest: kids are real assholes sometimes regardless of what you do.

They serve each other food too. Very cute!


It's perhaps just due to this being a too brief article, but I don't buy the science as presented. Correlation is not causation. The children that did chores at 3-4 may have grown up to have good relationships due to other factors in the family that also caused chores.

Then the Weissbourd study says nothing about chores. All it reports is the # of people that valued achievement, happiness, or caring for others more.

I don't know. I'm not arguing for or against chores, but I don't think this article made a convincing case for its headline.

>Correlation is not causation.

Case fucking closed then. I cherish the in depth commentary Hn has to offer regarding scientific studies

Chores definitely helped me appreciate everything my members family did once I got a little older.

Leaving this article open causes my computer to do a bunch of writes, once per second, and it never seems to stop.

What tool(s) can I use to figure out why this page is hitting my hard drive every second?

(running chrome on windows xp)

Try the Sysinternals utilities (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/sysinternals/) - Process Explorer would be a good place to start, and Process Monitor if you're feeling a bit more adventurous.

edit: I should add that Mark Russinovich, who wrote these tools, has also blogged a fair bit over the years about using them to solve mysteries such as yours - e.g. http://blogs.technet.com/b/markrussinovich/archive/2012/10/3...

Vaguely unrelated: you should upgrade from Windows XP. It's a security risk to you, as well as simply out-of-date. If you want to stay in the Windows ecosystem but don't like 8 or 10, then get Windows 7. (Otherwise, try Linux!)

There's an android app called choremaster to gamify the chores a bit.

I feel like my mother did something similar on my brother and I minus the experience points.

She would write out all of our chores as well as the fun things we would like to do that day. We would then try to complete chores quickly in order to get to the fun things we chose. From what I remember, we would even race to see who could get a better time at emptying all of the trash cans in the house and things like that.

We also had autonomy in which chores to complete first but she would be sure to explain to us that if we did all of our fun things first, we would then have a huge block of chores which would not be fun.

That sort of teaches children to take orders from computers, doesn't it?

My 12 year old loves it. The 15 year old... Not so much

"Don't be such a Negative Nancy" - If you hate work and chores yourself, do you really think your kids are going to develop a better attitude than you?

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact