When my boys were toddlers, they were constantly in the dog bowls. There was something so appealing to them about picking up the food bits and dropping them in the water. There was something so fun about pouring water into the bowls (and proceeding to play in it). As frustrating as this was at times, one day it hit me that this was an opportunity to teach them how to do some simple chores.
If you read my post about my daughter doing the dishes with me, you know I’m big on stuff like this. As soon as my kids were able and interested, I’ve tried to get them involved around the house.
This post is really focused on preschool-aged children but works just as well now that they’re in kindergarten and 1st grade. The toddler is right on their heels and can go through all the motions but still needs lots of mom’s help.
Walk your child through the whole process every day and slowly remove yourself.
Day 1: do it and have him watch.
Day 2: instruct as he does it.
Day 3: watch him do it.
Day 4: watch from a distance.
Day 5: allow him to do it alone but go in a check after, praising all he did right and mention what he forgot.
Before you know it, he won’t need any assistance. You may need more days than this!
You are not looking for perfection here; the goal is teach a life skill. Our dogs eat twice a day and one of those times they are fed by me. This way I don’t have to sweat it if the job is not done perfectly. Sometimes they are overfed and sometimes the boys forget the water but no one’s going to starve :).
What if they don’t want to?
Our most effective approach here has been humor. I will pretend the dog is speaking in a funny voice and say something like, “oh, Owen, I’m soooooooo hungry!!!” Then I’ll say “look she just lost five pounds!!” This usually gets them moving.
If not, the job goes up for grabs to be outsourced. We run a ticket system here for allowance. Each ticket is worth $.10 and they earn one ticket per job/task on their chore chart. If they earn all tickets for the day, they get a sticker on a chart that leads to a more handsome reward. Money talks, people, and in my opinion if you are going to be lazy, you better be rich so you can pay someone else to do the jobs you don’t like. If the other boys don’t want to earn the money, I do it and the job denier is charged one ticket.
How do you get your kids to help out around the house?
title photo courtesy Virtualpoe
Cindy Rinna is a full-time blogger and freelance writer as well as a wife and mom of four crazy and adorable children. You can read more from Cindy on her blog, My Life as a Rinnagade where she writes about educating her children, autism, ADHD & healthy living. Connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook and Google+.