Chores: a family affair

By Liann Bobechko »Liann Bobechko

November 10th, 2010


Good news for parents! I just read an article on a  website for school-aged parents that says doing  chores is good for kids. It cites a study out of the University of Minnesota that found that children who helped out around the house were more likely to graduate from high school, pursue a chosen profession, and have healthy relationships.

My little girl is in a stage where she wants to do what we’re doing, so that means she’s washing dishes (read: pouring water on the floor), emptying the dishwasher (read: walking around with cutlery), wiping up the table after a meal (when I give up fighting her for the cloth after wiping her face), and making pancakes and rice (she likes to help measure and pour). We’ll see how long we can keep the momentum up!

Of course, the jobs kids can help out with depends on how old they are. The article has some suggestions to get you started. But the cottage is a perfect place to work on chores with kids, since you’re probably relaxed, and everyone’s pitching in to husk the corn, start the campfire, wash the dishes, bail the boats, or keep the paths cleared. And then there’s always white-washing the fence (Tom Sawyer, anyone?).

When I started to think of chores I did at the cottage as a kid, I had a hard time remembering doing chores. Great, I thought. Yet another example of me as a lazy teenager. But then I realized that I did help out, but when the whole family was working together, singing a goofy song about it, or interspersing hard work with a refreshing swim, it just didn’t feel like a chore. And, I think, there’s the lesson for me as a new parent.

Tell me, what goes on at your cabin: are chores a battle, or does everyone gladly roll up their sleeves?


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Nov. 11, 2010

10:34 am

Yes, when we're not singing, we like to play word games while we wash dishes. Most car games work, in fact, since they're designed for hands-free playing. For instance, the geography game, where one player names a place (say "Greece") and the next player has to name a place that starts with the last letter of the place that was just named (say "Egypt").

Penny Caldwell

Summer Cottager

Nov. 11, 2010

10:01 am

My kids have a great sense of work/play balance; their sense is that the play part should always be higher! But I agree, so it’s all good. Liann, I liked what you said the other day about playing word games while you work.

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Liann Bobechko