Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Young Children And Chores

The first “job” most children have is at home.  They are given a chore and earn something for doing that chore.  Parents often ask me if preschoolers are too young to have chores. The answer is in the approach.  Are preschoolers too young to be assigned a job that doesn’t matter to them?  Perhaps.  Preschoolers are egocentric and will most often only do what really matters to them with any kind of caring or efficiency.  Are preschoolers too young to be part of a family team?  Absolutely not.

You can teach responsibility during the early childhood years.  When children are approximately 4-5 years old, they become developmentally capable of working as a team.  They play cooperatively with others.  In the pre-kindergarten year, they use blocks together to build one structure.  They work together to complete puzzles.  Through play, they discover the power of teamwork.  Parents need to transfer that awareness and ability from playtime to family time. 
  • Explain to your children that your family is a team.  Tell them that teams work together make things happen.  Your family team needs to do many things.  You all need to help each other. 
  • Empower your children.  Sit with your children and make them part of a conversation to determine your family goals.  Your goals may include fun and practical items like spending time playing games, taking time for vacation, saving money and having a safe & clean home.  Your children should be given the opportunity to contribute to your goal list.  They may add that they want lots of toys or TV time.  Listen carefully for things they can earn.
  • Give your children realistic choices.  What two things can your young child accomplish with little assistance?  The chore needs to be achievable and not overwhelming.  Asking a young child to consistently clean a messy playroom without your help is unrealistic.  Asking a young child to put his/her shoes away at the end of each day is achievable.  Put your clothes in the hamper is realistic.  Make your bed without assistance may not be.  Are there any tasks that your child enjoys?  You might be surprised to learn that your child likes dusting or sweeping.  Will it be done perfectly?  No, probably not.  Remember, the goal is to teach consistent responsibility and not to pass a “white glove” test.
  • Pay your young children in a currency that matters to them.  Some children will respond well to being paid a few dollars each week and taking it to a dollar store to buy a new treasure.  Others will respond well to earning TV time.  Young children don’t measure time like we do as adults.  The reward for doing chores needs to be frequent.  Start with “payment” after each time the task is performed and then begin to stretch that time slowly.

When I was a girl, I helped to dry the pots and pans.  I did that for many years.  Some of the best conversations I had with my mother were next to the kitchen sink while drying the pots and pans.  And so my last piece of advice is this – Don’t limit the possibilities to those activities that they do without you.  Remember that their chores can be your bonding time. 

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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.
For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC

Copyright 2015 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Your Children Are Not You

My dad and me - We didn't take that train ride, but he was
an awesome father who wanted us to be the best us we could be.
When I was a girl, my parents took us shopping in a quaint town that had a sightseeing, vintage train ride.  The train went nowhere of any importance.  It traveled for about 20 minutes, turned around and came back.  Oh, how I wanted to take that train ride!  My parents said, “No. It’s a waste of time and money.”  It is very likely that they didn’t have the extra money to spend.  So what did I do?  I grew up and took my boys on that train.

When I was in middle school, I wanted to learn French.  My parents said that Spanish would be more useful.  Yes – you guessed it.  I took Spanish, but my boys were allowed to take French.  My boys still say it is their primary example of me trying to be a different parent than my parents (who, by the way, were terrific parents other than that train and French thing).

Most parents can recite a list of things they did the same as their parents and things they intentionally did differently.  That is evolution and, if done wisely, helps us to improve our parenting as one generation takes over from the last.  When not done wisely, however, it can be a dangerous path.

Your children are not you, and they cannot make up for the stings of your childhood.  Parents sometimes confide in me that they struggled in school and are determined that their children do not.  Others worry that their children will suffer the social stigma of being unpopular as they did in their past.  At what point do we cross the line and set a stage for our children that is impossible to achieve because it actually has nothing to do with who they are?

Your children are not you, and they do not have the same baggage as you do.  Be careful not to visit your scars on them.  They will end up with their own scars.  There is no need to pile yours on top of theirs. 

Your children are not you, and they do not need to be smothered in an attempt to protect them from all hurt.  They need to cope with who they are in this world and not become fearful of those things that scare you.  They need the space to be hurt and learn that they can survive it.  They need to develop coping skills so that someday, when you are not here to be their shield and think for them, they will be able to carry on.

Your children are not you, and they were not born to rectify mistakes of the past.  They are the future.  If you really want them to lead better lives, take a good look at them.  Know who they are and not who you don’t want them to be. 

Albert Cullum, an educational innovator of the 1960’s, taught that every child has a “touch of greatness.”  Find it.  Help your children to nurture it.  That “touch of greatness” holds the secret to their happiness and success.  Your past does not. 


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Read this blog for more articles.  Learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.
Information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC

Copyright 2015 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.