Your little tyke won’t forever be scampering around the house carefree and unaccountable for anything. Growing up is inevitable, and responsibility comes with the package. Experts say the first step to raising an independent and diligent child is to encourage him to help with household chores.
According to Bernadette Benitez, M.D., section chief of the Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City, it’s never too early to teach life skills to kids. Even if help is available around the house, we need to encourage our children to contribute to the tasks being done at home.
Involving them in household chores will boost their self-confidence, too, Dr. Benitez adds. Maricar Gustillo-De Ocampo, Ph.D., psychologist and education consultant for various schools, says there are a lot of alternative activities in the house that build character, cognitive, social, and life skills. If parents know what kids can do at every age and stage, then they’re well on their way to raising helpful and smart youngsters.
Ready to be responsible. Asking a preschooler to help with simple household chores can be a venue for learning various concepts. However, we always have to consider the developmental level of preschoolers when giving them tasks, whether in school or at home, says Dr. Gustillo-De Ocampo.
A preschooler is typically more agile than a toddler. He has better dexterity in manipulating and handling things, she says.
Most of all, his cognitive and language skill levels are already more complex, giving him the ability to understand higher order concepts (such as associative thinking) and to explore novel activities by asking questions, Dr. Gustillo-De Ocampo explains.
Be ready with short but precise and clear explanations for some tasks (We pack away toys so we don’t trip over them when we walk or run in the room).
Keep in mind, too, that a preschooler’s judgment (for right and wrong) and concept of safety and danger are still not completely in place. Therefore, close supervision should be exercised when he is allowed to take part in household chores, adds Dr. Benitez.
Child-friendly cleaning aids and products should also be chosen well to keep your child away from injuries.
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