Household work will improve children’s school performance

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We may not always be aware of this, but homework performance combines many skills: memory, work planning ability, self-control, or even the ability to switch from one job to another. As a result, “work” helps to improve executive function. Practicing early in life, will household chores affect children’s cognitive development? Researchers in Australia have looked into the matter.

All members of a family (theoretically), adults and children, perform a variety of household chores on a daily basis, including preparing and cleaning food. Apart from allowing individuals to live in a clean place and feed themselves properly, these activities can have undoubted benefits. Indeed, research has shown that performing household chores (appropriate for their age) gives a child more autonomy, improved social behavior, and more generally, greater satisfaction with life.

Other studies have shown that household chores help maintain functional functions in the elderly. Executive functions refer to a set of high-level cognitive processes associated with self-control and goal-oriented behavior. In children, these skills are still developing, and some studies have explored the impact of household chores on their future executive functions. Dena Tapper and her colleagues at La Trobe University conducted a study on more than 200 children to test the “benefits” of work.

Work that requests various cognitive functions

This study first examines the connection between routine work and children’s cognitive development, especially executive functions. These include work memory, the ability to monitor and manipulate temporary information; Prohibitions, the ability to block auto-responses, or the ability to suppress irrelevant information to focus on a task; And change, that is, the ability to divert attention from one task to another.

Typically, these skills begin to develop in early childhood and continue to develop through late adolescence and early adolescence. Mention Taper and his team in the review Australian Occupational Therapy. Successful acquisition of these skills in early childhood involves better reading and numeracy, as well as overall academic achievement. Conversely, interruptions or delays in executive performance can lead to difficulties in self-regulation, planning, and problem-solving ability.

That is, it is possible to improve performance by developing functional memory, interruptions, and / or dynamics to change activities and develop unique learning routines. And it turns out that the housework fills this role perfectly! It is therefore possible that greater engagement in work performance can predict and even improve children’s executive functions. This is the hypothesis on which Dina Tapper’s research is based.

Parents (or guardians) of 207 children aged five to 13 from 15 different countries participated in the study. Their children were asked to complete questions about their daily workload and their executive function. Personal care tasks (such as bed making), family care (such as dishwashing, food preparation, etc.) and pet care were explored separately, to determine what type of work, if any, was the most predictable executive function.

An association that remains to be clarified

After controlling the effects of age, gender, and the presence or absence of disability, the results of regression models indicate that those engaged in personal care and family care work significantly predict work memory and disruption. Unexpectedly, however, pet-related tasks had no effect on these skills. ” Tasks such as pouring cables or water into a container may not be complex or challenging enough to help develop executive efficiency. “, The researchers note.

Regular household chores are obviously associated with better executive functions. Activities such as cooking or gardening can be especially beneficial for children. ” Children who cook family meals or weed regularly in the garden can make improvements in other areas of life – such as school work or problem solving Tapper said in a statement.

Most jobs require individuals to be self-controlled, focused, planned and transferred from one job to another, which encourages the development of executive efficiency. But researchers point out that there is a relationship between fine and coarse motor skills and executive performance, so the “physical” aspect of a particular job may also contribute to this effect.

The team notes that this study did not determine relationship direction: household chores may improve executive functions, but it is also possible that children with strong executive functions are more likely to be employed in household chores (or more requested by their families). So more research is needed to clarify this issue.

Meanwhile, the team recommends that parents encourage their children to participate in household chores appropriate to their age and ability to facilitate the development of their executive functions.

Source: d. Tapper et al., Australian Occupational Therapy

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