June 23, 2022Chore charts, when tackled consistently, may improve childhood executive function skills. The regular completion of family and self-care chores for kids was associated with gains in inhibition, planning, and working memory, according to a new study by researchers at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, and published in Australian Occupational Therapy.
1The “successful attainment of these skills in early childhood is associated with later reading performance and mathematical ability and is a predictor of overall academic achievement in later childhood,” the researchers wrote.The study examined the number of chores completed daily by 207 neurotypical and neurodivergent children between the ages of 5 and 13 in 2020, based on questionnaires filled out by their caregivers. The researchers found that kids’ engagement in routine chores predicted improved working memory and inhibition (the ability to think before acting).The questionnaires measured completion rates for chores related to self-care, family care, and pet care.
After controlling for age, gender, and disability, self-care and family care-related chores were found to significantly predict working memory and inhibition. No relationship was found between pet care chores and executive functioning skills, which was unexpected “based on research suggesting that animals act as a social support and can improve mood, which is associated with optimal cognitive functioning,” the researchers wrote.“It is, however, possible that tasks such as pouring kibble or water into a bowl are not complex or challenging enough to aid in the development of executive functioning, compared with chores like cooking that require multiple steps.”Cooking and gardening appear to
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