Monday, 29 February 2016

Helping the kids to help.

Chick 2 is very much 'ready' for school. At the moment he needs lots of entertaining and could really benefit from the socialization that school brings. He goes to nursery 2 days a week - the days that I work, but the rest of the week he stays with me and Chick 3. He's really good company and is super keen to help out. There are day's that he'd be quite happy sat infront of the telly, and as easy as that would make my life... I know that I've only got a few short months left with this little man before he embarks on the adventure of full time school. 

We try and fit in at least a couple of fun crafts and games each day where possible. But then there are always the relentless 'to-do' jobs around the house... which truth be told, would be twice as quick if you were doing it all with an empty house and not with two rambunctious boys who love to pull out everything at once. 

Today in my attempt to keep chick 2 entertained while still getting through my endless list, I came up with a little sorting game. He wrote a name label for each person in the family and placed it on a chair. He was then given the very important job of sorting out which clothes belonged to which person. This turned out to be quite a lovely writing and sorting and matching game. He managed to get through a very large pile of dry clothes with very little help from me - all I had to do was fold each chair's pile at the end :) He even got to earn 2 marbles for his jar - win/win!

3 Key things I have learnt to do with my kids when trying to foster in them a desire to help with jobs are:

1. Help them take ownership of a task  - let them do it... don't interfere (even if it does take twice as long and isn't as good as you would have done it). It is easier to do a job yourself, but if they are to learn, they need to be given the space to try it their way first. 

2. Pile on the praise - make them feel like their help has really made a difference to your day. Children naturally want to please and feel like their doing the right thing. Even if they are dropping bits of food off the plate as they help clear the table, notice the things they are doing right - "wow, you're really trying to carry that as carefully as you can, I know it can be tricky balancing cutlery on a plate".

3. Simple rewards - Some people give pocket money for jobs, other people expect children to help because they are part of the family and so do not offer any kind of reward at the end. I think there is a happy medium to be struck. For us, the children gain marbles for each job they do that is above and beyond what their normal expected roles are. These marbles accumulate, and when they have filled their jar they can then choose a toy/family day out. 

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