Good news for parents who aren’t sure whether giving their children chores is making a positive, lasting impact: It most likely is.
In a recently resurfaced 2015 interview with Tech Insider, Julie Lythcott-Haims – author of How to Raise an Adult and former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University – explained the logic behind the idea.
“By making them do chores – taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry – they realize ‘I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life,’ ” she said.
“It’s not just about me and what I need in this moment, but that I’m part of an ecosystem,” Lythcott-Haims added. “I’m part of a family. I’m part of a workplace.”
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Tech Insider reveals that kids who take on chores are more likely to be independent at work when they grow up, and can recognize when coworkers (whom they more easily collaborate with than their non-chore-doing counterparts) are facing something challenging.
Lythcott-Haims’ advice in her conversation with Tech Insider and a related TED Talks Live presentation is in line with results from the Harvard Grant Study, which has been underway for 75 years and, in part, researches what factors make people happy.
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She also pointed out to Tech Insider that the independence as an adult could be tied to the fact that they don’t expect tasks that directly benefit them to be performed by anyone else.
“If kids aren’t doing the dishes, it means someone else is doing that for them,” said Lythcott-Haims. “And so they’re absolved of not only the work, but of learning that work has to be done and that each one of us must contribute for the [sake] of the whole.”