Want your kid to be successful when they grow up? Make them take out the garbage and clean the dishes. How come? Well, you may have heard of the Harvard Grant Study, a study which has followed the lives of Harvard University graduates since 1938 to see what makes some of the most successful people on the planet so darn perfect.
So far, the study has identified two things that people need from a young age in order to be happy and successful: love and work ethic.
Based on the lives of the 724 high-achievers who have been part of the study, including the likes of President Kennedy and Ben Bradlee, the easiest way to achieve the latter is to give kids work from a young age.
Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen at Stanford University, explained in her 20XX TED talk:
"[The study] found that professional success in life, which is what we want for our kids ... comes from having done chores as a kid."
"The earlier you started, the better. [A] roll-up-your-sleeves- and-pitch-in mindset, a mindset that says, there's some unpleasant work, someone's got to do it, it might as well be me ... that that's what gets you ahead in the workplace."
Lythcott-Haims elaborated in an interview with Tech Insider:
"If kids aren't doing the dishes, it means someone else is doing that for them. 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 betterment of the whole."
According to the study, kids who do chores from a young age go on to be adults who find it far easier to collaborate with others. It makes it easier for them to spot when someone is struggling because they've experienced it themselves. And instead of waiting for instructions, they can take on tasks independently.
The study also found that the more chores and housework someone did as a child, the happier they are later in life. In certain cases, the value of doing chores outweighed even the strength of familial bonds.
"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. It's not just about me and what I need in this moment, but that I'm part of an ecosystem. I'm part of a family. I'm part of a workplace."
You now have an excuse to make your kids help out around the house; the only obstacle that remains is convincing them to actually do the dishes.