Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting Liz Pryor at an event in New York City. She was participating in a panel for Samsung’s “Make Your House Work”. Liz is Samsung’s parenting expert. After the panel, she & I got to talking about the importance of children helping out around the house, even at a young age. She offered to write a guest post to help all of our readers with this very important topic.
Liz Pryor is Good Morning America’s Advice Guru as well as an author & Mom of 3 young teenagers. Please visit www.LizPryor.com with any & all parenting questions. She is a big help with parenting tips!
EARLIER THE BETTER
to write a piece for the chirping moms. I receive hundreds of letters from
parents every week, and the
opportunity to offer my two cents to an entire group with very young children
is an enticing opportunity for me.
come from parents of children who are older, who find themselves battling
against the things they wish they’d instilled when the kids were young. One of
the more common issues is in the area of helping around the house, and pitching
in as members of the family. It’s maddening for parents who have worked hard to
provide their children good lives, who have schlepped, and fed, and cooked, and
done it all; to find themselves at their wits end with the lack of contribution
their kids make within the home.
children are creatures of habit, just as we are. They do what they know, what
they’re used to, and become accustomed to the daily patterns we instill. One of the many traps parents fall in,
is imagining that because our children turn a certain age, look to be old
enough to handle certain chores, that they will do them. That they will suddenly behave like the
responsible people we hope to be raising. It doesn’t work that way. Responsibility, accountability,
competence graciousness doesn’t automatically arrive with a certain age. It
comes with wise parenting, thoughtful teaching, and consistency. My motto is, the younger the
better. I heard my thirteen-year-old son’s friend say to him the other day, how
long have you been taking out that trash?
My son answered, “Ever since I can remember”. And I thought, Good!
year-old, 3 year old, 5-year-old children will actually become teenagers. Yep, the big annoying kids at the park
will one day be your kids, who by nature
can be rebellious, contentious, contrarian and otherwise temporarily-impossible
to be around. Imagine the beauty
of having already done the groundwork for their tasks in the home. Imagine what you get to bypass by
paying attention early. To be able to get your child to understand that being a
part of a family comes with some sort of contribution on their part. It’s a
goal worth its weight in gold.
trash, or folding laundry is so enormously important. The gift as I call it,
and it is a gift; is far greater than the tasks. It’s about teaching them the behaviors of responsibility and
productivity and a sense of pride. They will call upon this experience for the
rest of their lives.
young can we begin? Can your child
walk? Okay just kidding. My thought is to begin paying attention
to the entire concept by age 2.
A lot of women say that kids this age are willing participants in their
daily tasks but it can become frustrating as the children’s willingness to do
our work at home slows us down. This is true, and where we want to work on our patience and
remember that everything in life that is really great takes time and hard
you’re doing your daily tasks. Set them up with their own version of your work
time. Keep it all in a basket nearby, and let them go at it, same place every
kitchen- find something to give them that matches what you are doing. Put them
in the same place each day. When you have the time and patience go ahead and
make them a real part of the chore if you can.
things out of the dryer, water the plants with you, help feed the dog. It all takes time, but it will be well
worth it later. At this age it’s about the child knowing what you do, and being
familiar with how it’s done.
AGE 3 almost 4
you and know more than you think. Find one thing they can actually do that
helps you, and gives them a feeling of accomplishment. And be consistent
throughout the week with it.
find something, and stick with it.
AGE 4 and 5
totally willing participant and find something they can do for the house and family-team
during the day. Their sense of
accomplishment will astound you. Write the responsibility on a chalk or
bulletin board with your child’s name on it and refer to it when the time comes
to get it done.
the napkins and placemats and put them on the table at mealtime.
they can do everyday that is their very own responsibility is ideal.
child to have an understating that even at this very young age, they are
expected to contribute as part of the family team. Your attitude about house hold work and family
responsibilities sets the tone for the entire family, so be aware of your
negativity when it comes to doing the things that need to be done. You want a “Gitter done” attitude as
opposed to “oh wow this is awful”.
parenting is so much more about staying connected to, and following your
instincts, rather than following rules.
As you may realize by now, there are no actual rules when it comes to
effective parenting, it truly is what works for you and your family. Take guidelines and let them point you
in a direction, but you are the master of what will work in your home. If
you’re mindful, thoughtful, and find your patience, most of the time, you’re on
your way—Happy chore-ing.