As a parent of young children, you are often busy, so it would be nice if your offspring could help every now and then. For example, by helping with the household or with small jobs. But from when can you ask them about this and how do you do it best?
“The sooner you involve children in the household and get chores done, the sooner they understand that work is a part of life.” That is the opinion of the American parenting expert Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to raise an adult. The expert bases this statement on a lengthy Harvard study that examined children’s housework.
“If children do not have to do annoying tasks, someone else has to take care of them. The result: the children take less initiative. They wait for someone to give them a checklist of tasks to mark, but this is not always available in work situations. They more often lack the ability to see the work and justify how they can be useful. ” Lythcott-Haims is therefore convinced that children who help in the household will later become better employees and more successful in their professional lives. This allows them to collaborate better with colleagues, show more empathy and perform tasks independently.
Independence and self-confidence
“If you think independence is important, it is useful to give your child tasks,” confirms parenting expert Eva Bronsveld, author of De Opvoedingkalender. ,, With this you give your son or daughter responsibility early and you do not have to do everything alone. It requires some investment, because a child who just needs to learn to fill the dishwasher takes more time than it saves. But in the long run, you will reap the benefits. ”
If you go to rooms later, it’s nice if you know how the vacuum cleaner works
A child who helps from an early age also gains more self-confidence, adds help educator Mariëlle Beckers. And he or she is being prepared for real life. When you go to the room later, it’s nice to know how the vacuum cleaner works. ” According to her, there are a lot of other benefits: it helps with the development of executive brain functions such as impulse control, concentration, flexibility and prioritization.
Beckers: ,, If you take too much from the hands of children, they can practice those skills less often. But if you make a meal together, you learn the things that are not only necessary to be able to cook, but also, for example, to initiate tasks and come up with a schedule. ”
Admittedly, it is easier said than done to involve your child in the household. Some chores are more fun than others. Are you struggling to get your offspring motivated? These tips can make it easier.
Do it visually
For children, a picture often works better than a simple to-do list. Therefore, print pictures of your children reading the dishwasher or cleaning the table and hang them on the fridge, for example. As an added motivator, you can also take a picture of your child eating dessert, the predetermined reward when all tasks are completed.
Install a routine
For children, a routine is an easy coat rack. They like to know what the next step is and it helps them stick to a task. Do you want your daughter to throw her pajamas in the laundry basket? Do it with her every morning, right after she brushes her teeth and just before she puts on her clothes to go to school. That structure naturally becomes a habit after a while.
Make it a family moment
The earlier your children see their parents perform duties together, the more likely they are to want to be involved. Washing up together as a family, with good music, can be a great moment of quality time.
Children, especially when they are young, have more difficulty following the instructions in several steps. Asking a small child to set the table is not impossible, but concrete instructions are needed to complete the task successfully. Explain clearly that you will need four placemats, four plates and four knives and forks. Also show where to place them. Do not set your expectations too high and above all, be patient.
You can reward your children for their participation in the household. But that does not mean that every task ends with a trip to the candy or toy store. For example, work with a system where children earn one coin for each task and that they can save with these coins for a reward. It can be anything from an ice cream on a Friday night to staying ten minutes further up.
All people – no matter how small they are – want to be loved, indispensable and valued. Instead of giving empty compliments like “well done!” or ‘you are amazing!’, you can better explain why your child’s cooperation helps. For example: ‘If you make your own bed, we will all be on time for school and work. That’s really nice for me. ‘ Such compliments are much more useful in the long run.
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