Does Johnny do the dishes?

How much time each day does the average 6-12 year old spend on household chores?
a) 60 min
b) 45 min
c) 30 min
d) less than 30 min

If you chose more than half an hour, you’re wrong according to Sandra Hofferth, Director of the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland who studied 1,343 children for this project.  Children are spending a paltry 24 minutes a day doing chores which represents a 12% decline since 1997 and a 25% drop from 1981.  Dr. Hofferth suggests this reflects “important behavioral and values shifts that will affect lives for years to come.”  Frankly, I am surprised the number is not lower in this the age of entitled children.  Parents might argue that children are too burdened with academic, extra-curricular, athletics, and homework demands to be helpful around the house.  That I agree with.  However, the benefits of pitching in around the house go way beyond teaching the need for cleanliness or tidiness.  Children learn that neither the parents nor the hired housekeeper are here to serve them.  A family is a team and each member of the team must do his or her part for the family to run smoothly and effectively.  Additonally, participating in chores instills humility, self-discipline, empathy, stewardship, work ethic and responsibility far better than a book report, athletic event or school project ever could.  The benefits also pay off when these children reach adulthood.  Research suggests that 90% of women hoped to share housework and childcare with their spouses according to Kathleen Gerson, NYU sociology professor.  And after controlling for other factors, U.S. marriages tend to be more stable when men participate in domestic tasks.  Housework also instills a habit of serving others.  A professor at the University of Massachusetts, Alice Rossi, found doing household chores as a child was a major, independent predictor of whether a person chose to do volunteer or community work as an adult. 

What better way to teach a child that it’s not about you?

Summer Camp

Whatever happened to summer camp being a time for children to develop and cultivate independence and resilience?  This piece by Tina Kelley is astounding because of its absurdity. 
It’s come to this?  Camps are now forced to hire parent liaisons to act like a hotel concierge service in order to keep parents happy.