girl loading dishwasher Q Wunder for EQtainmentIf giving your kids chores feels like a chore for you, you’re not alone. According to a 2014 study, only 28% of parents give their kids regular chores, even though 82% of them did chores themselves growing up. We get it: Maybe you don’t get to spend enough time with your kids as it is, and you don’t want the time you do have together to turn into a battle. Or your kids are so busy with soccer and piano lessons and homework that you’re not sure they can handle anything else. Besides, shouldn’t we just let kids be kids and wait to worry about dirty dishes when they’re older?

Well, actually, no. Here’s why:

Chores are linked to lifetime success. In fact, a 2002 analysis of a 25-year study revealed that doing chores at age 3 or 4 was the best predictor of success for young adults.

Chores help kids develop empathy and responsibility. This same analysis found that kids who do chores grow up to be more empathetic and responsible.

Chores teach kids independence and life skills. Nobody wants to send their kid to college with no clue how to do laundry, but a 2002 UK poll showed that 50% of 18-year-olds didn’t know how to use a dryer and 35% didn’t know how to fold clothes neatly. Without chores, kids don’t learn the basic skills they need to navigate in the real world on their own.

If you’re shifting in your seat right about now, take heart. Even Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising at Stanford and author of  the New York Times bestseller How to Raise an Adult, was a “deer in headlights” when she discovered how important chores are. As she remembers in our latest podcast on the Q Wunder app, “My kids weren’t doing any chores! And that’s where I had to own my mistake and make up for lost time. It wasn’t like I could snap my fingers and go from them not doing anything to automatically doing everything we wanted and perfectly — it was gradual. But now I’ve got teenagers who help out around the house, and I see them feeling the satisfaction of contributing to the family. Chores are a great way to teach kids the benefits of doing kind things for others.”

Now find out why your kids also need to tie their own shoes: Download the free Q Wunder app, go to the Parents’ Corner and check out the entire podcast with How to Raise an Adult author Julie Lythcott-Haims.

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