Want Kids To Thrive As Adults? Give Them Chores Today, Whirlpool Research Reveals
New whitepaper uncovers chores bring social, emotional and cognitive benefits for kids as they develop; however, fewer kids are doing them today than in 1997

BENTON HARBOR, Mich., July 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The idea of doing chores around the house is likely to evoke a spectrum of feelings among parents and kids. Let's face it, in many households, doing chores may earn you a reward, but isn't considered to be the reward. According to research though, skills learned through chores are amongst the most important lessons parents hope to instill in their children. From organization to educational skills such as counting, these chores can provide moments of fun and togetherness while setting children up for long-term success.

Knowing that kitchen and laundry appliances are often at the center of household chores, Whirlpool – the #1 selling appliance brand in the U.S.1 – continues its nearly decade-long research to explore and demonstrate how acts of care like cooking, cleaning and washing can set children up for long-term success. To study this connection further, Whirlpool brand collaborated with developmental psychologist and child development expert Richard Rende, Ph.D. The outcome reveals there are social, emotional and cognitive benefits of chores for kids throughout developmental stages, providing an opportunity for parents to consider the positive role that chores can play in their child's development.

March 2020 survey data2 shows that only 70 percent of parents say their children regularly do chores – down from 79 percent in 1997 (per an earlier study)3. Of the parents surveyed, 15 percent say that it's not important to them that their children do chores. Dr. Rende's research suggests that a shift in the framing of chores can better encourage children's participation and help them develop into thriving adults.

"I think we can all relate to the idea that chores have a bit of an image problem," said Chelsey Whitehead, senior brand manager, Whirlpool brand. "At Whirlpool, we have a lot of heart for inspiring parents to view chores as a springboard to some really positive outcomes for their children. With this in mind, we design our products to help parents embrace the role that chores can play, with innovative features that make delegation to children fun, educational and collaborative."

Highlights of the positive benefits of chores from Dr. Rende's new whitepaper – Chores: Why They Matter, How to Engage Children and Developmental Benefits, which will be published in the Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter in 2021 – include:

  • Toddlers (2-4 years old)
    • Chore benefit: Toddlers have a natural tendency to help others, and research has found that this instinct can be nurtured in a home environment where toddlers can spontaneously assist with chores.
    • Recommended chores: Involving toddlers in activities like helping to set the dinner table or practicing counting while sorting their socks can reinforce their interest to get involved and help others. Doing so can also help develop their motor and perceptual skills.
  • Young children (5-8 years old)
    • Chore benefit: Kids who work with others to complete chores learn how to function well in a group environment. In fact, a research study4 found that kindergartners who participate in chores show higher levels of self-competence, better peer relationships and advanced prosocial behaviors by the third grade.
    • Recommended chores: Asking a young child to help with folding laundry or measuring ingredients during meal preparation will teach the importance of helping others and increase cognitive skills.
  • Older children (9-12 years old)
    • Chore benefit: As older children take on more responsibilities and can perform more tasks, chores can provide platforms for natural exploration that develop STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) skills.
    • Recommended chores: Kids can learn fractions through meal preparation, such as cutting homemade pizzas or pies. Following a recipe can teach kids trial and error. Children can also benefit from self-directed learning like loading the washing machine and transferring clothing to the dryer on their own.

"One of our missions is to shift the perceptions of household responsibilities and prove these acts of care through cooking, cleaning and washing have more power than we give them credit for," said Whitehead. "Families have trusted us to create innovative kitchen and laundry appliances for more than a century, and since our products are often at the center of chore activities, we wanted to explore the long-term benefits that chores offer to children. It's clear from the data that chores mean much more than keeping a clean and organized home."

To help make chores easier on everyone, Whirlpool develops features in its household products that give parents the confidence to hand off certain tasks to their kids. For instance, Whirlpool has learned from parents that adding detergent to loads of laundry can result in a big mess. Conveniently, the brand equips its Smart Capable Top Load Washer with the Load & Go™ dispenser5. Fill once and skip adding detergent for up to 20 loads6. Removing the step of adding detergent to every load makes it easier for parents to involve kids, reducing the risk of accidental spills and ensuring the proper amount of detergent is added each and every time.

Furthermore, Whirlpool has created Chore Club, a resource to help parents make chores more engaging for children. For simple ways to involve children in age-appropriate chores, browse Whirlpool's Chore Club website at Whirlpool.com/EveryDayCare/ChoreClub and share acts of care on social media with #ChoreClub and @WhirlpoolUSA.

1Based on 12-month average of unit sales. Refrigeration, Cooking, Dishwashers and Laundry appliances. TraQline 2019

2Results are from an online survey of 1,065 nationally representative Americans with a child aged 2-18. The survey was fielded by YouGov on behalf of Whirlpool from March 24-27, 2020. There is a margin of error of +/-3.1%.

3S.L. Hofferth. "Changes in American Children's Time, 1997 – 2003." International Journal of Time Use Research, 6 (1), 26-47, 2009.

4E.M. White et al. "Associations Between Household Chores and Child Self-Competency." Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 40 (3), 176-182, 2019.

5Available in select Whirlpool® washing machines.

6Based on an 8-lb load of laundry. Actual dispenser capacity varies by model.

About Whirlpool Brand

For more than one hundred years, Whirlpool brand has been inspired by how people care for their families. Whirlpool brand is designing home appliances that are focused on improving how families give and get the care they need with the latest technologies and innovations – whether that means most flexible refrigerator storage for all types of family needs, induction technology for efficient cooking and easier cleaning, or laundry pairs that sense and adapt to clothes with the latest in connected technologies. Whirlpool brand created and continues outpacing goals of its Care Counts™ Laundry Program, through which the brand is committed to helping create educational equality by installing washers and dryers in schools to help remove one small but important barrier to attendance – access to clean clothes. Whirlpool brand is part of Whirlpool Corporation, the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances. For more information on Whirlpool, please visit whirlpool.com/everydaycare or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/whirlpoolusa or Twitter at @WhirlpoolUSA. Additional information about the company can be found at whirlpoolcorp.com.

SOURCE Whirlpool Corporation

For further information: Nicole Brief, Ketchum for Whirlpool, 646.935.4311, Nicole.Brief@Ketchum.com