What was Daily life like for children in Ancient Egypt?

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Egypt: Daily Life [1]The people of ancient Egypt highly valued family life. They treasured children and regarded them as a great blessing. In the lower class families, the mother raised the children. The wealthy and nobility, had slaves and servants that helped take care of the children by attending to their daily needs. If a couple had no children, they would pray to the gods and goddesses for help. They would also place letters at the tombs of de[2]ad relatives asking them to use their influence with the gods. Magic was also used as an attempt to have children. In event that a couple still could not conceive a child, adoption was also an option.

Although women were expected to obey their fathers and husbands, they were equal to men in many ways. They had the legal right to participate in business deals, own land, and were expected to represent themselves in court cases. Women even faced the same penalties as men. Sometimes wives and mothers of pharaohs were the "real" ruling power in government, though they ruled unknowingly to common people[3]. Queen Hatshepsut was the only woman who ruled out right by declaring herself pharaoh. An Egyptian wife and mother were highly respected in this ancient society.

Young boys learned a trade or craft from their fathers or an artisan. Young girls worked and received their training at home with their mothers. Those who could afford it sent their sons, from about the age 7, to school to study religion, reading, writing, and arithmetic. Even though there is no evidence of schools for girls, some were home taught to read and write and some even became doctors.

Children were expected to look after their elderly parents. Upon their parents death, the sons inherited the land, while daughters inherited the household goods such as furniture and jewelry. If there were no sons in the family, there was nothing preventing the daughters from inheriting the land. There is evidence of some women inheriting entire nomes.

Although women were expected to raise the children and take care of the household duties, there were some jobs available to them. Women ran farms and businesses in the absence of their husbands or sons. Women were employed in courts and temples as acrobats, dancers, singers and musicians. Wealthy families hired maids or nannies to help with household chores and the raising of the children. Noblewomen could become a priestess. Women also worked as professional mourners and perfume makers.


[1] "Egypt: Daily Life." 2002. 3 Aug. 2014 <http://www2.sptimes.com/Egypt/EgyptCredit.4.2.html>

[2] <http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/sites/default/files/images/ancient_egyptian_children_colouring_page_460.gif>

[3] <http://www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/consumption/groups/public/documents/article/~export/NCC082901~3~NMAS_Def_Con_Template~snippet_only_layout/35113-1.jpg>