Yes giving kids chores can actually help reduce anxiety.
Moms, dads, can I get a hallelujah?!
It’s kind of like being handed a Christmas present, right? You’re able to help your child live a happier life, reducing his or her anxiety, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME getting their chores done! (Such a win!)
The reality is, though, that anxiety in kids has become a pandemic.
And that’s happened for three reasons: 1) Social Media, 2) A growing fear of the world, and 3) marketing messages are constantly telling you that you need stuff, and it is cool, and that you DESERVE IT (just for being you).
Social media shows us our friends’ highlight reels (not the messy parts of their lives, just the best of the 200 selfies they took and posted on Instagram).
As Jodi explains in her TED Talk, “We don’t see the messy parts of our peers’ lives, and that convinces us that they don’t have any.” Take a look at her TED Talk below (it’s awesome!)
The news shows us tragedy after tragedy that’s happening in the world, except we’re not able to actually do anything about it. We can only sit back and watch things happen from afar…completely helpless.
Together all of these things have given our kids anxiety like we’ve never seen before.
However, there is a solution: chores.
How Do Chores Help Anxiety?
One of the big problems kids have is that they feel like they’re helpless. All these messages they’re getting from the news and social media makes them feel “less than,” and like they have no control in the world.
Chores, though, teach them cause and effect, among a number of other lessons we’ll discuss below.
As Jodi explains, “When kids do chores, even if they grumble and groan… it’s doing something to their mind and their body and spirit, it’s teaching them that they’re an agent in life, that they can take action, the cause, to make changes, handle changes, and create good results (the effects). Chores empower kids to make the life they want, earning it through hard work and problem solving.”
So what KIND of chores work?
One way to start to teach our kids cause and effect is through chores. 3 kinds of chores: 1) tedious chores, chores we do all the time, 2) complex chores (we have to learn we can figure things out – we do stuff and then build confidence), 3) generous chores (you feel so good about helping that you feel a lot better)
3 Types of Kids Chores That Reduce Anxiety
Tedious chores are the chores we do all the time. Things like vacuuming and dusting and laundry and dishes. (Yuck, right?!)
Resistance to mundane tasks is normal. No one enjoys them. However, it decreases your resistance to mundane tasks when you’re faced with them in the future.
That makes life easier.
This could be tasks like putting together bookshelves from Ikea, working in your office, or babysitting.
These chores will teach critical thinking skills. They also help kids practice researching and learning how to ask for help when they’re struggling.
The sense of accomplishment that kids experience at the end will increase self-confidence and self-worth, which will have long-lasting benefits.
These are the chores where they contribute to others, whether they’re volunteering in the community, or even helping a sibling with homework.
“These help kids feel good about themselves. When they see difficulties greater than their own, they appreciate their lives more. And they notice that even through hardship, people still express love and gratitude,” Jodi explains.
Benefits of Chores for Reducing Anxiety
Through chores, kids learn that they aren’t helpless in the world. They become self-confident and increase their self-worth. They hone their oh-so-important critical thinking skills and, through generous chores, see that there IS STILL good in the world.
Again, the three types of chores for reducing anxiety are:
- Tedious chores
- Challenging Chores
- Generous Chores
So the next time your child starts to moan and groan about how unfair life is that they have to do these chores, remind them that grandma and grandpa had to walk uphill to school both ways (*wink*), and that you’re actually just doing them a favor by insisting that they do their chores… and that they’ll thank you one day.