How do we build a habit of helping in the house?
Capable children are competent children
What kind of parent are you? Overprotective parents tend to say ‘I will do that; you are too small; let me do it’ to the child who ask ‘Can I do it?’. Overprotection disables children over time as children give up asking, never learn to do age appropriate tasks and then doubt their abilities to undertake challenges.
Self Esteem is about feeling competent and confident
1. Weekly chore Chart & let them choose
Children become remarkilby responsible when given responsibility. Take time to show them how to do things and encourage. Seven olds can make their own lunches. A little older, buy them an alarm clock and let them take responsibility for getting up for school. Children learn nothing from constant prompting. For school mornings have a list of what each child needs to do (you can use pictures for younger children) and let them tick off as they do their tasks. Up – Dressed – Breakfast – Teeth – Bag at Door – 10 minutes playtime at the end.
After dinner, let each person choose a job and one sweeps, one clears the table, one loads the dishwasher and one wipes countertops.
2. Take the time to show them how to do the new task & never criticise!
I remember the first time my daughter hovered, I said ‘Hang on; you missed a bit!’ How would that have made you feel when you had undertaken a new challenge? What would you have needed to hear?
‘Well done, you worked hard at that; thank you; that really saves me; I appreciate your help!’
Instead – she never wanted to hoover again. Why? She wanted to avoid criticism. My focus had been in the wrong place – See the effort instead of focusing on the performance. Focus on performance either dries up effort or leads to over performance (perfectionism).
3. Reward System – Yet it’s your praise that’s most important
Star Charts work! The moment the child has earned the star, ensure you praise them and put the star up immediately. Younger children require tiny daily rewards; older children should aim for a weekly reward (pizza/movie on Friday). Encourage, encourage, support and praise your child’s learning efforts. Do I need to say that you never, ever take a Star that has been earned back?!
All behaviour reinforces, so they more you praise encourage and support; the less negative attention you will experience.
4. Realistic Expectations – It needs to be ok to make a mistake & tons of praise!
Notice the effort or the improvement and your child’s effort will continue. Remember, they are children, so ease up a little and remember that your child is always more important than the behaviour. Don’t sweat the small stuff, so a teen’s room is their space, so close the door if it bothers you, although they must respect public areas in the home! My mantra for easier parenting is ‘Children before housework’ a less than perfect home maybe one where people come before the ‘To Do’ list!