Thursday, August 16, 2018

Responsibility and Age-Appropriate Chores


 It is hard to believe that another summer has nearly passed and the kids are gearing up for a fresh year of school.  Although I enjoy the long days and late wake-up calls of summer, it's nice to get everyone back into a routine.  
The beginning of the school year usually means that I take a long, hard look at the chore list at our house.  I think about each of my children's growth over the past year and add some new responsibilities to their plate.  What once may have been taking dirty dishes from the table after dinner and placing them in the sink, can now evolve to rinsing them and loading them in the dishwasher.  Once they remembered to put their lunches into their backpacks in the morning, but now can pack their own lunches the night before.  
I do admit that it is hard to actually allow my children these responsibilities. I often want to run in and "do it better." But over the years I've learned to take a step back, allow them to make mistakes, give a bit of guidance on how to improve (while still praising the attempt), and watching as they improve independently.  Yes, there are days when their chores aren't done perfectly, that's for sure!  But, we all have our days, right?!

If you are looking for age-appropriate ways to increase responsibility and encourage self-sufficiency in your child, here are a few tips to follow:
  • Make sure that tasks are age-appropriate.  A preschooler can't pick up the whole house, but can definitely pick up his/her toys in the bedroom and can make their bed in the morning (not perfectly, but remember, this will improve!). 
  • Teach your child to dress themselves.  They may need help with tricky parts like buttons and shoelaces, but know that these skills do come with time.  
  • Don't give in to whining.  As long as you know that the task is age-appropriate, don't jump in to help.  Try saying, "As soon as you put your toys in the bin, we will go to the library. Let me know when you're done."
  • Teach your child to ask for help.  Mastering new skills does take time, and there is a difference between whining (saying I can't do it) and asking for an adult to help.  Guide them through the new skills and watch as they quickly learn to do work independently.  
  • Thank them for their work and give big hugs!


For more, read 10 Great Ways to Teach Children Responsibility, courtesy of The Parent-Institute.com

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