{     Offering the Best Childhood Preparation for Social and Academic Success.     }

Posts Tagged ‘Helping with chores’

Five Ways to Encourage Children to Help with Chores

Motivating children to help out around the house can be challenging. Here are five ways to encourage them to lend a hand.

  1. Start your child young. Ask your child to help out as soon as she is able to. Making chores a normal part of home life as early as possible can foster helpful behavior.
  2. Keep tasks small. Break up larger tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. For example, instead of asking your child to help clear the table, ask him to bring each plate over to the sink. Remember to keep each task age appropriate.
  3. Establish a routine. Being consistent can help your child adjust to assisting you with household duties. If you make helping out a regular part of your child’s routine, then she is more likely to do her chores without being asked.
  4. Offer praise. Phrases like “good job” and “you’re so helpful” can be excellent motivators. Try saying, “I can never fold the towels as nicely as you do,” which can make your child feel important and needed. This may inspire him to make it his mission to fold the towels.
  5. Make chores fun. Have a contest to see who can dust the shelves the fastest or who can dry more dishes. You could also put on music and dance around while you clean. The key is to make work enjoyable.

Planning and Organizing – Critical Thinking Skills

Some children are naturally organized, but messy children can learn organization skills. Whether The Goddard Schoolyour children are messy or neat, the executive function skills of planning and organizing will help them accomplish goals, complete tasks at school and enjoy success in life.

You can help your children develop their abilities to plan and organize. Below are a few tips to get you started.

  • Conduct weekly family meetings and discuss your family’s schedule, upcoming events and goals. Let your children help with the planning. You can hold these meetings during meals;
  • Keep a family calendar visible. Use it every day so your child becomes accustomed to the household schedules and routines;
  • Teach your child how to break down tasks. For example, when he is cleaning up his toys, ask your child to put all the dinosaurs away, then all the trucks, etc.;
  • Make a chore chart and have everyone in the family mark off jobs as they complete them;
  • Talk about events, such as trips and errands, before they happen. Before you go to the grocery store, make a shopping list with your children. At the store, ask them to help you collect the items;
  • Read stories together and talk about what happened first, next and last;
  • Play games that involve following directions and rules.

Make planning and organizing fun for your child and some of your child’s skills may rub off on you!

Chores & Role-Playing

Children, even as young as toddlers, just love to role play. Letting them help out with chores provides valuable life lessons about teamwork, family, responsibility and accountability.

To grown-ups, these are some of the daily tasks that just have to get done. However, to a child, it’s a chance to role-play or imitate grown-ups. Children who participate in family activities at a young age may even feel an added sense of accomplishment, greater self-confidence and greater sense of value within their family.

Here are a few ideas for including your child (while supervised and/or as developmentally appropriate) in daily chores:

  • Matching socks—also great for learning colors, comparing, etc.!
  • Carrying in the mail (add an occasional letter or postcard for your child for extra fun)
  • Setting the dinner table
  • Clearing their own plastic dishes and utensils after mealtime
  • Helping to pack lunches into lunchboxes
  • Dusting
  • Watering the plants
  • Selecting their outfit for the next day
  • Filling a beloved pet’s water bowl
  • Vacuuming

How do your children participate in family chores?

Puppy Love: Family Pets & Responsibility

Including our children in the care of our beloved family pets can provide valuable lessons on love, kindness, gentleness and responsibility. Here are some doggone great ways (supervised, of course) children of varying ages and stages can participate.

  • Babies can begin to learn about being gentle and soft while petting a furry pet. Little ones who are a bit too rough can practice petting a stuffed animal first—it’s important to consider the safety of our children and our pets!
  • Toddlers can learn to brush a bunny, cat or dog.
  • Toddlers and preschoolers can use measuring cups to fill food bowls.
  • Preschoolers can practice learning how to tell time when given the responsibility of announcing “feeding time” of any type of pet—fluffy or scaly.
  • Older children may practice taking the dog for a walk in your fenced in yard or hold the leash while you walk with them.

How do your children help with your pet?

Whistle While You Work: Your Child’s Chores

Music - GirlChores are a valuable life activity for everyone. They help fulfill our basic need to feel needed and contribute to our household. Helping others, and doing a good job at it, helps boost children’s self-esteem, while making them feel more confident, competent and valuable. However, getting children to put down the toys, turn off the television and get off the couch to help clean, declutter and spruce up the house isn’t an easy chore in itself! Here are some great ways to motivate children of any age to consistently get their chores done, while minimizing the moaning and groaning.

  • Keep a list of chores for every member of the family—even mom and dad. This helps children see that no one in the house is exempt from doing their fair share of the housework. If they see in black and white what mom and dad do each day, their chores may seem like less of a hassle.
  • Don’t expect perfection. When introducing a new chore, show your child how it is done first and then let them do it their way. It may not be exactly how you’d like it to be done, but at least they’re making an effort. Don’t step in and take over or redo the chore after they have finished. Next time, offer some tips on how to do it better. They’ll learn eventually and be encouraged to keep up with it.
  • Time it! If a chore is assigned, give a time frame for completing it. If not, your child may realize they can put it off until you or someone else takes care of it. When a chore is completed properly and on time, offer appreciation and praise for your child’s diligent follow through.

Gather Around Our Table

For most parents, getting the family to the dinner table—and keeping them there—takes some creativity. Here are a few secrets to help your little ones (and bigger ones) stay put, eat something other than mac-n-cheese and even look forward to family meals together.

Cut yourself some slack. The goal is to keep your family mealtime a positive, happy experience. Think about lowering your expectations for what a “sit-down” meal with little ones and bigger ones means. Real life can be hectic—balancing work, soccer, piano lessons, play dates—and getting the whole family to the table at the same time can be so challenging that many families just give up. Most of us believe that family dinner is important—we simply lack the patience, energy or tools to pull it off. And then we feel guilty.

Why not make dinnertime fun instead of a chore? Include an unexpected ingredient such as purple carrots or star fruit, serve the kids’ juice in fancy glasses—or enjoy pancakes, eggs and OJ instead of your usual dinner fare. Have a picnic: pack up a basket, spread out a blanket on the living room floor, move a couple potted plants over and enjoy dinner in “the park.” Is your fridge full of leftovers? Dish them up, put out some soft taco shells and let your family enjoy making their own “wacky wrap” creations.

Make it a group effort and give everyone a responsibility. Your spouse could get the salad together while your daughter sets the table. Let your youngest supervise from his booster seat while your son takes the drink orders. Your 10-year-old can feed the baby while you get the rest of dinner on the table. This is the perfect opportunity to provide your children with a valuable sense of involvement. Ask your family for their own ideas and allow them to choose the side dishes for the week. Remember that while some of their requests may be a bit off the wall, they are (generally) doable.

Start a tradition of “Family Happy Hour.” Before you start preparing dinner, serve healthy appetizers such as chopped veggies with hummus or baked whole grain tortilla chips with mango salsa while listening to a fun playlist. These healthy options take the edge off their hunger, and you may find your children happier and more willing to try new foods when you do sit down together.

Dinner is not your only option. Sometimes the demands of real life can get in the way of this important commitment—so, we need to be flexible. Family mealtime is about connecting with your family—if dinner is impossible, why not connect over lunch or a snack? And, take advantage of some shortcut ideas. On the weekend, why not prepare a few meals in advance so that everything is ready to be heated when you get home from a long day at work? Learn to make some compromises—crock pots can be wonderful, and not every meal needs to be Coq au vin!

Family dinner is a good idea. “Mealtime is often the only time in the whole day when everybody’s in the same room having a conversation,” says William Doherty, Ph.D., author of The Intentional Family (Addison Wesley Longman, 1997), “so it’s where the family’s culture gets created.” Family dinner helps demonstrate to our children that they are important enough for us to spend this valuable time with. And we often hear experts say that consistent family mealtime improves nutrition, table manners, communication skills, family relationships and bonding.

Cooking with Children: Make it Fun, Safe & Memorable!

Sharing the kitchen with your child can not only create a lifetime of happy memories, but can also instill valuable life lessons from a young age. Through baking, cooking and even cleaning up, children can develop and express their creativity and independence; explore new foods; learn about nutrition; enhance their math, reading and science skills; and, most importantly, spend valuable quality time with mom, dad and siblings.

Below are a few tips to help make kitchen time with your little one fun, safe and memorable:

Always stress cleanliness and safety in the kitchen.

  • Wash hands before, after and as-needed during the process.
  • Provide your child with a sturdy, non-slip step stool to stand on so they are at your level.
  • Use kid-friendly wood or plastic utensils.
  • Let them choose their own apron or buy a plain one that they can personalize with fabric markers. Covering up will help cut down on the cleanup afterward.
  • Keep sharp knives, graters and other dangerous tools/appliances away from small hands.
  • Explain that only mom and dad can use the stove, oven and other electrical appliances.
  • Supervise your child closely. Stay in the room until the cooking is complete. If you need to leave for some reason, take them with you.

Include your child in the preparation.

  • Decide together what to make.
  • Read the recipe together thoroughly and gather all ingredients before beginning.  Take them shopping with you for the ingredients and/or have them help select what you need from the cupboard.

Start out easy.

  • When first introducing your child to the joy of baking, use simple recipes with basic ingredients and uncomplicated instructions.
  • Box mixes are a great way to get started. They usually ask for only two or three added ingredients and provide easy-to-follow, detailed instructions right on the box.
  • As your child learns more about the cooking and baking process, feel free to introduce more complex recipes.

Let them do it.

  • This is a great learning opportunity for your little one, so let them measure and pour ingredients into the bowl. It’s not only a good math lesson, but also bolsters their confidence.

Taste and praise!

  • Learning to cook and bake should be a fun experience for your child, so always be enthusiastic about tasting their masterpiece and praise the effort and the outcome, no matter what. They’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment and be excited for their next cooking adventure!

Child’s Play in a Grown-up World

Find ways to involve your children in the richness of your ‘grown-up’ life.  Be creative and patient because the results are worth your effort!

For young children, play is a lot more than entertainment. It is central to their development.  A wonderful way to play with and teach children is to bring them into your world, where ‘real-life’ happens.  Children love to do ‘grown-up’ things and to imitate you.  And when they contribute, they see themselves as players and get a well-earned self-esteem boost!

Children also learn about important values and concepts from watching you.  They see the result of practice and perseverance, and they come to know that learning is a lifelong process. They see that everyone, even a grown-up, can make mistakes and can learn from them.

There are two easy and enjoyable ways for your children to play in the grown-up world: you can let them help with your chores and you can include them in your favorite pastimes.

Work as play: Include your children in your household routine.  There are countless safe ways for children to help with meals, laundry, shopping or cleaning.  They can help mix recipe ingredients, pick fruit at the grocery store, water the garden or pack their lunch.  These activities are fun learning experiences, especially if you are teaching informally along the way.  The chores may take a little longer as they learn the ropes, make mistakes, and work at a snail’s pace, but the value for their learning and their self-regard are more than worth the extra time.

Hobbies and pastimes: Share your interests with your children.  This is one of the most intriguing, emotionally rich forms of learning that children can receive.  Teach your children about your avocations, and keep up with your piano, chess, painting, hiking or gardening.   Your enthusiasm for your hobbies will be infectious and offer many ways for your children to learn and develop skills.