Children are better at school if they do the dishes

Children are better at school if they do the dishes

An Australian study shows that entrusting children with domestic tasks develops their memory, their autonomy and their ability to solve problems.

This is not an incentive to exploit one’s children, but the conclusions of this Australian study from La Trobe University in Melbourne could inspire some parents. She claims that children who regularly do household chores do better in school than their more idle peers at home. The researchers looked at nearly 200 children aged 5 to 13 to come to the following conclusion, published in the journal Australian Occupational Therapy : Domestic chores develop children’s “executive functions” from an early age, which improves their school performance. “Children who cook or garden on a regular basis would be better able to excel in other areas, including school”explains Deanna Tapper, who conducted the experiment.

“Disorders in the development of executive functions can later lead to problems with autonomy, organization and reasoning”

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What are these “executive functions”? They designate all the qualities that are brought into play in any concrete action. We then speak of working memory, the ability to record, sort and manipulate information. Also “inhibition”, the ability not to rush and suppress irrelevant information to focus on a particular task. To think before acting, in a way. Or adaptability, which allows you to move from one task to another in a short time.

“These abilities begin to develop in early childhood and continue to do so through late adolescence and even early adulthood”, is it specified in the study. Hence the importance of not falling behind. “Disorders in the development of executive functions can later lead to problems with autonomy, organization and reasoning. This can have consequences on performance in reading and mathematics, and also on the general school level.

Autonomy, satisfaction and sociability

The Australian authors of the study do not hesitate to think far ahead, affirming that the early development of the executive capacities of the child has effects on his success in higher education, on his physical health and even on his income at adulthood. So no time to lose, any conscientious parent should hasten to put their offspring to work. It would seem that the development of the child does not pass through television and absolute idleness, but through cleaning and washing up. Previous studies had also shown that domestic chores increased the child’s sense of autonomy, his ability to enter into social relationships, his state of satisfaction and his fulfillment in life. On the other hand, caring for a pet has no positive influence on academic success.

The findings from La Trobe University echo another study from the University of Virginia, published in April 2019. Based on the example of nearly 10,000 children in their 10s, it claimed that household chores such as tidying up and washing up developed self-confidence, sociability, fulfillment and… reading, math and science levels.