Why do I keep harping on giving children jobs? Because believe it or not, children need to feel USEFUL. In fact, all people have to feel as though they are being helpful and making a contribution. When a person participates and does a job or gives of their time and talents it creates a sense of affiliation and belonging that is the sticky glue that pulls a group together. Since the urbanization of society, children have been asked to do less and less for the family. No more collecting the eggs or milking the cows. Today's children are often nothing more than inert tumors on the family! They only experience take take take with out any of the lovely benefits that come from GIVING back in. Children who have responsibilities to the family develop a sense of their importance, belonging and their self -esteem grows as their competencies grow. So check it out. How are your kids doing?
Here is the check list thanks to Marion Balla of the Adlerian Counselling Centre in Ottawa Canada.
HOME RESPONSIBILITIES FOR A 2 and 3 YEAR OLD
- Pick up unused toys and put in the proper place.
- Put books and magazines in a rack.
- Sweep the floor.
- Place napkins, plates and silverware on the table. The silver is on but not correctly at first.
- Clean up what they drop after eating.
- Given a choice of two foods for breakfast. Learning to make simple decisions.
- Toilet training.
- Simple hygiene -brush teeth, wash and dry hands and brush hair.
- Undress self - dresses with some help.
- Wipes up own accidents.
- Carrying boxed or canned goods from the grocery sacks to the proper shelf.
- Putting some things away on a lower shelf.
- Clears own place at the table. Puts the dishes on the counter after cleaning the leftovers off the plate.
HOME RESPONSIBILITIES FOR A 4 YEAR OLD
- Setting the table.
- Put the groceries away.
- Help with grocery shopping and compile a grocery list.
- Follow a schedule for feeding pets.
- Help do yard and garden work.
- Help make the beds and vacuum.
- Help do the dishes or fill the dishwasher.
- Spreading butter on sandwiches.
- Preparing cold cereal.
- Help parent prepare plates of food for the family dinner.
- Make a simple dessert (add topping to cupcakes, jello, pour the toppings on ice cream)
- Hold the hand mixer to whip potatoes or mix up a cake.
- Share toys with friends (practice courtesy).
- Getting the mail.
- Tell parent his/her whereabouts before going out to play.
- Should be able to play without constant adult supervision and attention.
- Hanging socks, handkerchiefs and washclothes on a lower line.
- Bringing the milk from the fridge.
- Sharpen pencils.
HOME RESPONSIBILITIES FOR 5 and 6 YEAR OLD
- Help with the meal planning and grocery shopping.
- Making own sandwich or simple breakfast. Then cleaning up.
- Pouring own drink.
- Preparing the dinner table.
- Tearing up lettuce for the salad.
- Putting in certain ingredients to a recipe.
- Making bed and cleaning room.
- Dressing on own and choosing outfit for the day.
- Scrubbing the sink, toilet and bathtub.
- Cleaning mirrors and windows.
- Separate clothing for washing. Putting white clothes in one separate pile and colored in another.
- Fold clean clothes and put them away.
- Answer the telephone and dial the phone for use.
- Yard work.
- Paying for small purchases.
- Taking out the garbage
- Feeding his/her pets and cleaning their living area.
HOME RESPONSIBILITIES FOR 7 YEAR OLD
- Oil and care for bike and lock it when unused.
- Take phone messages and write it down.
- Run errands for parents.
- Water the lawn.
- Proper care for bike and other outside toy or equipment.
- Wash dog or cat.
- Train pets.
- Carry in the grocery sacks.
- Get self up in the morning with an alarm clock. Do preparations for bedtime on his/her own and then involve parent.
- Learning to be polite, courteous and to share: respect others.
- Responsibilities like carrying own lunch money and notes back to school.
- Leave the bathroom in order: hang up clean towels.
HOME RESPONSIBILITIES FOR 8-9 YEAR OLD
- Fold napkins properly and set silverware properly.
- Mop the floor.
- Help rearrange furniture. Help plan the layout.
- Run own bath water.
- Help others with their work when asked.
- Straighten own closet and drawers.
- Shop for and select own clothing and shoes with parents.
- Fold blankets.
- Sew buttons.
- Sew rips in seams.
- Clean up animal "messes" in the yard and house.
- Begin to read recipes and cook for the family.
- Baby sit for short periods of time with adults present.
- Get items ready for a barbeque (charcoal, hamburgers).
- Painting fence or shelves.
- Help write simple letters.
- Help with defrosting and cleaning of the refrigerator.
HOME RESPONSIBILITIES FOR 9-10 YEAR OLD
- Change sheets on the bed and put dirty sheets in the hamper.
- Operating the washer and/or dryer.
- Measure detergent and bleach.
- Buying groceries using a list and comparative shopping.
- Crossing streets unassisted.
- Keeping own appointments (dentist, school, etc. and making them within bike distance).
- Preparing family meal.
- Pouring and making tea, coffee and kool-aid.
- Planning own birthday or other parties.
- Doing neighbourhood chores.
- Do chores without a reminder.
- Learning to use allowance wisely.
HOME RESPONSIBILITIES FOR 10-11 YEAR OLD
- Earn own money (baby-sit) as helper to adult.
- Able to take the city bus.
- Proper conduct when staying overnight with a friend.
- Packing own suitcase.
- Responsible for personal hobby.
- Able to handle self properly when in public places alone or with peers (movies).
- Responsible for a paper route.
- Borrow and return books to library.
Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of the nationís leading parenting experts. Sheís the author of the bestselling Breaking the Good Mom Myth (Wiley, 2006) and more recently "Honey, I Wrecked The Kids" (Wiley, 2009). She is host of The Parenting Show on Rogers TV. The media relies on Alysonís comments and opinions; she has appeared on The Montel Williams Show, The National, BTV, and you can find her interviewed and quoted extensively in countless publications including Todayís Parent, Cosmopolitan, Readerís Digest and Chatelaine. Visit her online at www.alyson.ca
(Published on The Parent Link on Feb 1, 2009)
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