Encouraging kids to help out with the housework has often been linked to increasing their responsibility, but here’s an even better reason for getting them involved in domestic chores.
If improved mental health is a goal, cleaning the house helps. A large-scale survey in Europe found an inverse association between housework and psychological distress. – The First 20 Minutes
If you want a happier household, the trick, it would seem, is to get the kids involved in doing regular housework. It might seem counter-intuitive since most kids will complain when asked to help out with household chores but there is a scientific basis for it.
Exercise triggers the release of endorphins – feel-good chemicals that generate an overall feeling of euphoria. It is so effective in elevating mood that exercise is a recommended treatment for mild to moderate depression. Any exercise will do the job and that includes housework – especially sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming.
As a kid who used to clean up my room whenever I felt angry or upset, I have to agree that it does makes you feel better. I used to think it was because it helped me to diffuse the angry energy by channelling it towards a more positive outcome – in this case, a clean room. It was also a good way to distract the mind from thoughts that have no value because, while it can be beneficial to think about solving a problem, ruminating on events that were beyond your control serves no purpose. Of course, the exercise and release of endorphins probably helped as well.
If you want to up the ante, encourage the kids to practice mindfulness while they complete their house chores, and it will increase the positive mood effects. Even though any activity done mindfully will achieve the same effect, housework offers you one more opportunity during your day to practice mindfulness.
As a mother, getting the kids to help out around the house has obvious benefits. If men who help with housework have happier marriages, then surely children who help with housework will make the home even merrier. So if you’re tired of being taken for granted as the live-in maid, get the kids to pitch in, too. It’s good for them, it’s good for you, and it’s great for your family relationship – happy Mum, happy kids, happy household. Makes sense.