Our Allie is a helper. The kind of kid who takes genuine pleasure out of aiding you in any task around the home. It never seems to matter what I am doing, Allie is right there asking if she can help. I must admit that I always acknowledged the offer with praise but there are times I would kindly reject her help for various reasons. I would say no if I was already in the middle of cooking or folding laundry or even scooping the cat poop from the litter box. I guess it was the mentality that I want it done a certain way, or the stovetop could be too dangerous or scooping poop is too dirty of a job for a 6 year old.
Not too long ago, I over heard a mother mention that you should always welcome your Childs offer to help when possible…. especially while their desire to help still exists. I chimed in and talked about Allies sweet offers to help at home. She mentioned that this is a good time to recognize our Childs need for responsibility. I started to realize that if I slowed down and thought things through, I could satisfy Allies need to participate and I could capitalize on the opportunity to make her a valued team player in this family . If Allie wants to cook, teach her. If she wants to fold, show her how. If Allie wants to scoop the poop, by all means…..LET HER!
I imagine there are mothers out there who would love to have their children take a genuine interest in helping out. I too enjoy when she asks but there was an obvious problem in our home ……… Step Mom needed to understand a growing girls need for responsibility and with that, I needed to admit that I was too caught up in what I was doing to recognize it! Since I usually felt caught off guard when Allie would ask to help, I needed to create opportunities for her that I could plan ahead for. If I plan for it, I can make sure that I have the time set aside to instruct her.
I developed a weekly after school agenda to incorporate responsibilities. Our parenting time schedule runs Wednesday to Wednesday so we start the week off with time at the Park. That gives us the opportunity to catch up and have some fun after not seeing each other for a week. Thursday nights are “Learn to Cook” night! She LOVE, Love, loves, to help in the kitchen and embraces everything with the exception of mashing raw meat with her hands!
Friday through Sunday carries on the same way with a heavy emphasis on family time, church and our usual Sunday prep. Come Monday, Allie is hard at work tackling her weekly homework . She says that she likes to get it all done at once so that she doesn’t have to do it everyday! We love that about her. Tuedays are laundry days and Allie is embracing her new responsibility with getting her laundry downstairs and learning to fold it and put it away.
We have a set of expectations for Allie when she is with us. Allie starts her mornings by getting ready for school, and makes her bed before breakfast. When she comes home from school, she changes out of her school clothes, scoops the litter box, and starts any left over homework and ends with reading a book for 15 to 20 minutes. Her evening ends with picking up after herself and cleaning her room. These expectations provide Allie with the routine and structure that all kids need.
Allie thrives on routine and is very used to it. The added responsibilities have added such a sense of pride to Allie’s character. There is nothing more satisfying for her then when she has a bag of dirty litter and shows me that she has scooped the poop. I kid you not, that kid is glowing with pride when it’s complete.
Placing responsibility on your child gives them a sense of self worth. It tells your child that not only do you feel they can handle it but that you place value on their participation in making home a great place to be . The earlier you start to entrust them with duties around the home, the less likely you are to face resistance later. Wonder where to start you kids? Here are some ideas on age appropriate chores.