La Trobe University researcher looks at link between daily chores and a child's memory, planning skills

Indiana and Alex Houghton, both 8 years old. Picture: KATE O'CONNOR
Indiana and Alex Houghton, both 8 years old. Picture: KATE O'CONNOR

A NEW research project is looking at whether daily chores will improve a child's memory, organisation, and planning skills.

La Trobe University PhD candidate Deanna Tepper created the online survey to see if there was a link between daily chores and a child's executive functioning.

"Since 2016, I have been looking at how interacting with pets can improve cognitive skills in children," she said. "We've been looking at things like reading but also executive functioning skills.

"What we have been finding with pets is the idea that they can foster responsibility in children. We wanted to put those areas together and see if that continues with chores."

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Ms Tepper said the research would focus on children aged between six and 12. The parent survey, which has already received about 190 responses, will be open for another two weeks.

"Some of the feedback we have received so far is that parents have realised their children could be doing more chores around the house," she said.

Strathfieldsaye resident Angela Houghton took part in the online survey. She said her eight-year-old twin daughters Indiana and Alex were always keeping busy around the house.

Alex Houghton completing chores. Picture: KATE O'CONNOR

Alex Houghton completing chores. Picture: KATE O'CONNOR

"I personally believe children that are young need to be shown and taught how to be independent and responsible," she said.

"One thing is because I'm a single mum and if anything were to happen to me, I would like to know they can look after themselves.

"Also, just for their own general smarts around being independent kids who know there is more to life than just lying in front of the TV."

Ms Houghton said her daughters do a range of chores, including making their beds, stacking the dishwasher, and looking after their various pets.

Ms Houghton encouraged other parents to take part in the La Trobe University research project.

"Without a doubt," she said. "I definitely think we need to give children more responsibility and encourage them to be more independent."

Ms Tepper said parents could complete the survey here.


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