Young Adults Reflect on the Importance of Chores |

Young Adults Reflect on the Importance of Chores

Many parents agree that it is important for children to help with household chores. This may sound simple in theory, but as many of us know, getting kids to do chores properly and without argument can be an uphill battle. Very few kids want to spend their time tidying up, washing dishes, doing laundry, or tackling yard work. Youngsters tend to rush through tasks, do them haphazardly, and/or complain so much that their exasperated parents finally say, “I’ll just do it myself!”

I know how tempting it is to do chores myself rather than patiently teach my children to do them the right way, or to insist when they grumble or procrastinate. I don’t always manage to get it right, but I have tried to teach my five kids some life skills and get them to help with tasks around the house. My oldest two – Zayd, 23, and Leila, 20 – have spent time living independently. I asked their opinion on the importance of household chores now that they’ve had a taste of living alone.   

Q: What chores did you do as a child that helped prepare you for life on your own, away from home?

Zayd: Doing my own laundry, cooking basics, and cleaning up after myself have been key to being prepared for life away from home.

Leila:  I learned to unload the dishwasher, do my own laundry, dust and vacuum, and help take care of my younger siblings. 

Q: What chores do you wish you had been taught how to do?

Zayd: I wish I was taught (and better at) basic household repairs and car maintenance.

Leila:  I wish I knew more about cooking from a younger age. It’s only now that I’m learning how to prepare meals. I understand it can be messy and challenging for parents to teach young children cooking skills, so it might not be appealing, but I think by the age of 12 many kids can learn the basics.  

Q: Now that you’re a young adult, do you think it’s important for children to learn to do household chores?

Zayd: Yes, 100%. It’s sad to see grown adults who can’t take care of themselves because they were babied their whole life.

Leila: Yes, I do think it’s important. Everyone should be self-sufficient. Some people who went to my high school and college didn’t know how to do laundry or make a bed because they’d always had hired help to do all the chores. It’s fine for people to learn things at different stages in their lives, but it never can hurt to teach your kids to do things they will undoubtedly have to do for themselves at one point or another. 

 Q: Could you see a difference in your friends who did chores while growing up, and those who didn’t?

Zayd: Yes, especially in college. I feel like the people who couldn’t take care of their own basic necessities made suboptimal life choices because of it. Example: eating out fast food because they can’t fix themselves something decent, or living in filthy conditions because they can’t/don’t clean.

Leila: It’s relatively rare to find a kid who never did chores, but I’ve met people who’ve never done certain things. Doing chores is one of many things that can result in a person becoming more responsible. Chores aren’t the only way to instill positive values in your kids, but I do think responsibility is one side-effect of helping around the house. 

Going forward

Based on my older kids’ responses, I can see what I need to work on with their younger siblings. I realize I must patiently persevere in teaching my children the right way to clean, do laundry, and take care of their own bedrooms, including changing sheets and making the bed. I also really should spend more time teaching them cooking skills, although this is something I usually dread because it’s so much easier and more efficient to cook a meal by myself. However, I can see how my kids will benefit if they have some basic culinary skills by the time they are in high school. Zayd is now an excellent (mostly self-taught) cook, and Leila has always enjoyed baking, but now wishes she had more skill with preparing meals. One of my goals this summer is to teach my younger three children to do more household chores, and to assist and guide them until they can do them independently and properly, inshaAllah, God willing. 

Laura El Alam is a freelance writer and editor and the author of the book Made From the Same Dough, as well as over 100 published articles. A wife and mother of five, Laura lives with her family in Massachusetts. You can visit her online at


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