Raising Independent Children

 

My son learned about chores at an early age. Playing a game of Where’s the LooHoos was not only fun, it was productive.

 

By the age of 3, he was charged with gathering any stray wool dryer balls while I did the laundry. He’d search inside the dryer and among the piles of cleaned clothes. He’d also check the floors and behind nearby doors.

 

As the maker of all-natural LooHoos, we have always had a lot of the dryer balls around. At first, my son would find two or three. But after several missions, he was gathering up to a dozen balls and proudly returning them to the dryer.

 

 

The best part was he was learning a valuable lesson. My son didn’t realize it at the time, but he was becoming independent.

 

My son enjoys having a job and is very focused on completing a task. That has inspired me to encourage his willingness to help around the house whenever an opportunity arises.

 


Here are a few ways to reinforce your child’s independence, regardless of how fun the chores may be.


1.    Keep the Change. When I was a child, a quarter went a long way. It was usually spent on ice cream or a candy bar. Kids learn the value of spare change pretty quickly, which makes it a great incentive to help in the laundry room. The chore? Search all of the pockets in a pile of unwashed laundry. The reward? Whatever coins are found.


2.     Bake me a Cake. Kids love helping in the kitchen, especially when their efforts result in a tasty treat. Teach your children valuable skills like units of measurements and how to mix and pour. Don’t forget the importance of proper clean up. They’ll be proud to serve what they’ve cooked up and that’s just desserts.


3.    Chart It. Heading upstairs? Don’t forget to take the laundry on the stairs. That’s what I insist. And while the kids are there, expect everything to be picked off their bedroom floor. Keep track with a simple sticker chart and offer an award at the end of the week. Now that’s positive reinforcement.


4.    Expect it. Do you have a hungry child? There’s no better incentive to set the table than an empty stomach. It may take a few requests, and some grumpy responses, but a child will eventually learn what is expected. And before you know it, the table will be set without a battle waged.


How do you encourage your kids to help out around the house? Share your best tip below.

 


2 Comments

Cathy Risling
Cathy Risling

July 23, 2015

Coming from a family of five kids we did it all—cooked, cleaned, ironed (including sheets!) dusted and polished. That’s probably why it’s so important for me that our kids contribute at home, even though they’re only 4 and 7. Instilling independence starts early!

Airika
Airika

July 16, 2015

I agree that you have to start young… teach children that everyone lives in the house and therefore everyone should share in the upkeep of the house. By asking ‘would you’ or ‘could you’, gives a choice of saying ‘no.’ Instead, give them a choice of what they can do. ‘We need to clean the kitchen. Would you like to clear the table or sweep the floor?’ A choice, provides them with their own sense of responsibility. Household tasks should be a family responsibility.

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