At a glance
Kids with learning and thinking differences can benefit from doing chores.
Doing chores helps them build a sense of responsibility and confidence.
Choose tasks that play to your child’s strengths, but that can also build skills.
When it comes to chores, it can sometimes feel easier to do them yourself than to ask your child to pitch in. This is especially true when kids have trouble getting tasks done. Or when they struggle with skills needed to do the chore.
But there are real benefits to having kids who learn and think differently help out — even if it makes more work or takes more time. Here are three reasons why chores are a good thing for kids with differences.
Chores can boost kids’ confidence.
Most kids want to be doers and to participate. Learning to do household tasks can feel like a real accomplishment. It shows that even if school’s a challenge, there are things your child can succeed at.
Chores that involve a level of responsibility, like caring for younger siblings or pets, instill a strong sense of capability, confidence, and pride. That’s the “I can do that on my own” feeling.
Praising your child when chores are completed heightens that sense of pride. Positive feedback shows that you recognize your child’s hard work and effort.
Chores can help kids with organization.
Trouble with organization can be frustrating for kids, especially at school. But chores can help them become more organized without feeling pressured.
Before starting your child on a new chore, it may be helpful to write a list of the steps or to draw a picture. For example, help your child learn how to set the table for dinner by mapping out what the table should look like. This will help your child see where to place the napkins and how to arrange the silverware, plates, and glasses.
Chores can help kids figure out strategies.
If a child has trouble focusing at school, basic chores like cleaning the bedroom on a Saturday morning may also feel like a struggle. But there are workarounds that can help kids keep making progress.
Try using a step-by-step chart to break up the big job into several small ones. This can help kids stay on task and finish each step. Kids also may feel empowered when they figure out a strategy that works for them.
It’s OK if it takes your child a bit longer to do a chore. And it’s OK if you have to redo parts of it. But doling out responsibility shows kids that they have value.
Chores can help kids get better at organization.
You can adapt chores so your child can thrive at doing them.
It’s important to praise your child for effort.
About the author
About the author
Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.
Molly Algermissen, PhD is an associate professor of medical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center and clinical director of PROMISE.