As your children grow and develop there will be different stages in teaching them responsibility and skills. This article gives you some ways to encourage your children at each stage.
Parent does it all
When your child is an infant, you must do everything for him or her. Feed, change, entertain — you do it all as a parent at this stage. Finding out what your child needs and providing it are the keys to happiness and peace.
Encouraging your child to communicate with eye contact, smiles and cooing helps you start building his confidence in his skills.
Parent helps a lot
As your child matures and gains physical and mental strength, you will do less and less for him as he does more and more for himself.
Entertaining himself with his hands and feet, propelling himself with crawling, cruising and then walking are some of the first skills your child masters.
Eating finger foods, then using utensils will soon follow. Your encouragement through games and your approval keeps your child trying at this stage.
Parent helps a little
Once your child begins to show a preference for certain foods, clothing or toys you can begin to help them learn choice. Giving a child a limited choice whenever possible helps them to be confident in themselves.
Along with learning to choose comes learning to take care of oneself. Dressing skills can be a game and so can cleaning up after playtime. Making the bed, helping with cooking or laundry and other daily responsibilities need to be done alongside the child at this point.
Working together to learn the details of personal and family responsibility is one of the best ways to spend time with your child. Take some time to enjoy the fruit of your labors. Survey the clean room or yard and take pleasure in it together.
When your child shows maturity in working with you, you can give him an assignment and watch while it is done. Help when asked or when it is obviously beyond your child’s capability.
This stage will come and go at different times for different skills. For example: a 1-year-old can put their dirty clothes in a hamper while a 3-year-old could sort them into whites and colors. Sometimes it takes physical height or strength to do a job, not just age.
This is a good time to use some form of a chore chart. The main thing is to be consistent in your rewards, whatever they may be.
Parent checks work
At some point your child will no longer need your help in performing tasks. Their skill level is at the point where you can come and check after the task is completed. Requiring all the steps is the key here.
At this stage it is most important that you are consistent in your checking. Your child still needs your positive reinforcement.
Parent is confident in child’s work
Here you are, you’ve worked yourself out of a job! Isn’t it a wonderful feeling to know that your child is a competent person, capable of caring for himself and contributing to the family and community!