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autonomy self-reliance Working Memory

EF at Home: The Benefits of Chores

Are you looking for a compelling, research-backed reason to get your children involved in household chores? Research shows that the benefits of chores are numerous! A new study published by researchers at La Trobe University(link opens in new tab/window) demonstrated that children who engage regularly in age-appropriate chores showed a stronger ability to plan, self-regulate, switch between tasks, and remember instructions.

Promoting Executive Function

While household tasks such as cooking may have become automatic for those who frequently complete them, there are systematic processes that make up each of these tasks that can be explicitly taught and modeled to children. Whether someone is cooking or completing homework, it is crucial to self-monitor and self-check to help ensure that we are doing our best work.

Working memory helps us make sense of what is happening around us. When it comes to cooking, the chef must keep instructions and lists of ingredients in mind while moving from step to step, and they must pivot and adapt when they run out of an ingredient or encounter other issues along the way. This can lead to a greater ability to think flexibly.

Developing Autonomy and Self-Reliance

The report builds on previous research that has shown that engaging in age-appropriate chores can lead to increased feelings of autonomy. Children who complete household chores have also demonstrated greater pro-social behaviors. In addition to learning strategies to tackle household chores like cooking a meal, children may experience the positive emotions that come with preparing and sharing a meal with family members and friends.

Encouraging children to complete chores is an excellent way to demonstrate the importance of sharing responsibilities at home and offers many chances for embedding executive function strategies outside of school. 

  • Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Associate

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org

Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org

The Institute for Learning and Development: ildlex.org