One TikTok pediatrician is pointing to a well-known Harvard study as proof that chores are the key to raising happy, healthy kids
Kids typically don’t love doing chores—but if you need evidence that you should give them some household tasks to do anyway, here it is. Dr. Williams, a board-certified pediatrician based in Utah who goes by @tiktokkiddoc on TikTok, is going viral on the video-sharing platform for his recent video highlighting a 75-year study from Harvard that showed that giving kids chores is one way to help ensure they grow up to be happy, healthy adults.
“Researchers found that if you implement this one small thing in your child’s life, they’re more likely to be happy as adults, they have more empathy towards other people, and they’re more successful in their careers,” Williams, who is also a father of five, explained. “Having your children do chores gives them a sense of self-worth, and it helps them to realize that they’re contributing to a larger ecosystem. They become more selfless. They become more willing and able to see the needs of other people around them. Chores also strengthen family bonds with siblings and with parents, and chores help to instill a better work ethic, which translates pretty well into school and career success.”
The study that Dr. Williams refers to is an oft-cited one. Researchers from Harvard followed a group of men starting in the 1930s—one-third are Harvard graduates and two-thirds are inner-city youths from Boston—to try to determine psychosocial aspects of their childhood that could predict success and well-being later in life. One of the connections the researchers found was that kids who did chores at home tended to stay out of trouble and get onto better developmental paths. Researchers hypothesized it was because doing chores helped the kids feel a sense of community—that they were pitching in, their participation mattered, and they were responsible for more than just themselves.
It’s important to note that the Harvard study only followed men, so take that as you will. But does that mean you shouldn’t give your kids chores? Of course not! Learning to help out around the house is great for kids, regardless of their age or gender.