My daughter Aislyn stood on the stool beside me in the kitchen for the first time this past Saturday morning. A third of a cup filled with mixed chopped berries, a bowl full of waffle batter, and a fascinating show of her first cracking egg brought back so many memories of our B and the first time he helped me cook. Much like Aislyn he was only two, and he stood next to me in our tiny apartment kitchen on a wobbly dining chair. I held him just like I did Aislyn for fear of falling and encouraged him as he stirred the boiling pasta in figure eights. His face beamed just like Aislyn’s with great pride and excitement at our trusting them with such a “grown up” task.
B has a great passion now for cooking, at the age of 5 he is able to work a skillet like no ones business. I had him customize his very own white apron with finger paints at three, and he is completely crippled from his great skills if he is not donning his chef’s hat as well.
Much goes the same for any other responsibilities he holds (outside of cleaning his room). He loves to pick okra out of the garden and is fascinated with watering the rapid growing pumpkin vines. He attempts to wash dishes on his own accord, and is very eager to pick up common areas of the house for a weekly allowance.
It is important for B to feel apart of the family when he is here. He is not a special guest and he is not more or less important than our daughters. It is difficult not to dance with glee when he walks in the door after such a long absence, and it is incredibly difficult not to just sit and stare at him in awe for hours on end as he plays in his room.
I have already discussed the daily routines we follow when he is here in a previous post and these routines help his transition but don’t necessarily help his normalcy. But I believe the true chores that most kids dread are what makes him feel a integral piece of the family.
Chores are important for children at all ages and for so many reasons. I by no means would every want some poor child treated like Cinderella, bestowed with all responsibilities of the household, only to be locked away when their services are no longer needed.
But I do believe a few chores they can do:
1. Builds self-confidence
2. Prepares them for life
3. Helps them to see their house as a home by allowing them to be a part of it as a working unit instead of just existing in it
4. Helps with appreciation of others
And Chores do not have to wait until they are 10 or 12. Actually if you start chores earlier in life they are accepted a little more easily as just a part of life.
How Parents should not treat chores:
1. Do not overwhelm child with too much responsibilities and task
2. Do not expect perfection, make sure to always offer encouragement before diving in on everything they did wrong.
3. Do not assign a chore because you don’t want to do it
4. Do not remove yourself from the chore, participate in the chore with the child, at least at first. A perfect example is the classic “I’ll wash, you dry”
5. Do not go without showing your child your appreciation for their efforts each day!