Chores can help children develop responsibility if they are used correctly.  Once a child understands that everyone has chores just because they are a part of the household, respect for each other and what it takes to keep harmony in the house becomes natural.  A problem many people face with chores is the mistake of rewarding doing chores with an allowance. When reward is attached to it, the chores become a bargaining tool. That often leads to arguments.

              We require children to have chores in the school because we all live here and want our surroundings to be in order.  When things are put away where they belong, tasks and lessons can take place easily without interruption. When things or pieces are missing or lost, everyone suffers by not being able to use that particular resource.

              Assigning chores also allows us to more easily identify those children who go above and beyond.  They are more aware of things awry, take the time to fix the situation, and alert us to possible serious situations.  That is the responsible citizen we are trying to rear in our school.

              From time to time I ask help with a more rigorous task.  Those who help may receive a piece of candy because I appreciated their willingness to help me.  Immediately, three or four students will try to repeat the task (ex.: picking up extra trash blown onto the playground by the winter winds) after it has been done.  They bring me a piece of paper they found and ask for a piece of candy. I explain that no candy is given when the purpose of the act was to get candy.

              Chores also allow the child to develop time management skills.  Getting a task done on time is a skill that many of our friends in the retail business tell us is disappearing.  Another part of that is children learn how to divide large tasks into manageable parts to achieve the whole in a timely manner.

              Chores also allow a child to grow in self-esteem.  Every time a job is well done, people usually take note.  It makes a child proud to have adults or others brag about the job they do.  Believe me, they also get an attitude adjustment when they don’t do their chore up to standards.  Negative comments help bring about a correction in their work ethic pretty quickly. (That is if they do care about what others think.)

              Chores can sometimes help the child develop a skill not typical of children their age.  For instance, the students working on our school robotics build teams have learned to properly use and take care of very sophisticated equipment which includes drill press, grinders, and table saws.  These are skills which may help them later in life as households need repairs.

              I love the School of the Ozarks.  It is called Hard Work University.  Students can pay for their education by working in the many labor areas of the school.  They run a dairy, make food products for distribution, run a highly rated restaurant and hotel, plant and grow their own foods, etc.  My own nephew graduated from the school and is a successful teacher and coach. That education would not have been possible for him if he had not gotten the opportunity to work for his tuition.

              As I have mentioned before, The Little Red Hen is my favorite book.  When the homemade bread was finally cut and eaten by the hen and her chicks after their hard work, it was especially delicious!    Kay