Does your child have weekly or daily chores? If so, maybe you’re like me and you find yourself worn out by the constant task of getting you child to do their chores. Admit it: it’s more work to get your son to take out the trash than it would be to take it out yourself. But letting your kids take the easy road now will definitely make it harder for them later.

The weekly chores your kids do around the house have the potential to affect their future.

The following study was highlighted in the August 2008 edition of WALL STREET JOURNAL.

“Analyzing data on more than 3,000 adults, Alice Rossi, a professor emerita of sociology at University of Massachusetts Amherst, found doing household chores as a child was a major, independent predictor of whether a person chose to do volunteer or other community work as an adult. Thus for parents who value service, housework is an important teaching tool.”

Similar findings are echoed by Marty Rossman, associate professor of family education at the University of Minnesota. She suggests the best way to tell if a young adult is going to be a successful in their twenties is if they had household tasks when they were three or four years old.

“Being involved in household tasks at a young age is what made the difference for a positive outcome,” Rossmann said in her study. “Through participating in household tasks, parents are teaching children responsibility, how to contribute to family life, a sense of empathy, and how to take care of themselves.”

 Marty Rossman

So it’s not just about getting your kids to do their chores. This is about training them to help others and look for opportunities to contribute. This is about using your home as a place to teach your kids the power of initiative. This issue will be important one day. As our kids move toward building their own families and developing positive personal habits, the issue of  “INITIATIVE” will be an important part of their success or lack of success.

Have you ever noticed how some people just seem to see things better than others?

Think about your kids for a second – is it true that sometimes you wish they would see some things that they just don’t seem to notice like…

the clothes or toys at the bottom of the stairs
the person who needs help opening a door
the way their hair looks in the mirror

It’s amazing, actually, that one of my children can take an obvious step around a mess they have made as if it’s not really there and then deny they actually saw it. It’s kind of like they see it, but they don’t see it. What if there is a way to train a child to start seeing what needs to be done and taking action to do it?

All we are suggesting is that there is a bigger reason you . . .

train a child to help with the chores and clean up their room
teach a kid to say “I’m sorry” and to work out their problems with someone
encourage your children to brush their teeth and use soap in the shower.

It’s called INITIATIVE – we define it as seeing what needs to be done and doing it.

So what are some secrets you can share with us about how you’ve taught your kids to take initiative?