When A baby is born it is difficult to think of a time when you will want to do anything but give your new little one everything he wants and needs. However, it is important that at least some limits be set eventually. To keep a child from acting spoiled on entitled, it is better to start developing guidelines sooner rather than later.
Although, a child’s ability to understand and follow through with tasks can vary depending on their age, even very young children can be included on a family chore chart. It is recommended that children as young as 3-4 years old can be given tasks such as folding washcloths, matching socks, throwing items in the trash and feeding pets.
But even before that children can be taught that when they make a mess, someone needs to clean it up. It is not uncommon for parents of toddlers to pick up their kids toys when their child is asleep or busy with some other activity. When parents do this, kids learn that child play toys will magically return to where they belong. This, of course, is not true. While a two year old may not understand when you say “pick up your toys,” they can be taught to put one or two things away while parents put away the other kids toys. No matter how many child play toys they actually put away, his efforts should be rewarded with plenty of praise. This way even very young children feel useful and build their sense of self worth.
Of course, as children get older they’ll want more of a reward than a “good job!” and a little clapping. By making a chore chart, a child can visualize what they are supposed to do. Whatever their chore, a clear reward system should be in place, especially for younger children. Many of the chores preschoolers have are really parts of chores adults or older children have, such as matching socks or folding washcloths. It is important to continue to encourage a child even when they do a chore “wrong” because it will help them develop a sense of pride and learn responsibility for more difficult tasks later on.
Preschoolers are still developing a sense of money and its value, so rewarding them with stickers or other tokens that they can turn in for new child play toys can be a good way to introduce this concept. As a child gets older, you may decide a cash allowance is appropriate or you may want to teach your child the difference between choresdone for the family, and those that deserve special compensation. Either way, there are times when teaching a child age appropriate chores is a lot harder than doing the chore yourself. However, making the effort is important for both caregivers and children and will help them develop a strong relationship built on respect.