How to teach children to participate in the life of the house?
Help to prepare the meal, set the table, put away …: from the age of 3; a child can participate in these tasks. Doing like a big, “all alone,” remains his primary subject of pride! For the parent, it’s a little help and an opportunity for a shared moment with his child. And for this one, it is a big step towards the autonomy and the confidence in him. Indeed, this approach of independence requires patience and some tricks! Our advice…
To support the desire for autonomy of our children.
Let’s face it, in terms of autonomy, the paradoxes do not scare us: we dream that our children put their room spontaneously, but we do not hesitate to say to them: ” Let me do it, it will go faster … ” when they insist on making their laces alone at 8:25. Not wrong: with cooks from 2 to 8 years, better start preparing dinner at 17:30!
We also hesitate to give them the reins when it seems too dangerous: handle a knife to slice vegetables, fill the carafe with water, climb on the stool to catch the toothpaste stock … Some parents, finally, tells the psychologist Anne Bacus, continue to dress their big CP in the morning, offer him a bottle at breakfast, and wipe his buttocks … because they unwittingly refuse to see him grow up.
But too bad for our comfort, our efficiency, and our fears: it is imperative to value their desire for autonomy. ” It’s essential that they feel capable of doing things and can say to themselves:” I am a good person, one can count on, “says the psychologist. Parents should be aware that their children are being educated to get them to leave. And that starts at the baby stage!
Through this autonomy, it is, therefore, their self-esteem that we build. So when we refuse to accede to a request for emancipation, we must carefully justify our choice, so that the child can deduce that we do not trust him. Even in case of lousy surprise (” Look, I cleaned the toilet with my washcloth !”), It is necessary to draw on its reserve of self-control not to undermine the disarming goodwill of a house fairy. Young, accusing him of having made a “stupidity.”
Encourage the little ones to participate in the life of the house
It is sometimes difficult to know at what age you can expect what. The child gives some indications of himself: ” It is I who do! “, Declares Laura, carefully placing her plate in the dishwasher. In fact, as early as three years old, a child can put his shoes in the designated place, put his clothes dirty, help empty the dishwasher, get dressed and wash himself (which does not mean that checking is not necessary), pair socks in pairs …
The tasks entrusted to him for the first time will excite him: pass the brush, clean a pan, handle the vacuum … The older ones have more pride and excitement the first time, and it is often difficult to make them contribute to the domestic tasks without hearing protests or running up against their immobilism. Also, here are some ways to encourage them to participate in the life of the house:
- Say ” I need help,” rather than order “Set the table!” We can organize a family reunion to explain: “In the evening, there are many things to do, and without you, I do cannot do it.
- Make small adjustments: a step to access the sink, the choice of a low cupboard to put away the dishes, hooks located at 90 cm from the ground rather than 1.70 m …
- Explaining your expectations: setting the table is not always bright for a child. You have to take the time to tell – why not with a drawing posted in the kitchen? – that it is a question of arranging the plates, the cutlery, the glasses, but also the towels, the trivets …
- Empower, thank and congratulate: ” I appoint you the chef of cutlery throughout the meal,” or ” Owl, every sock has found his twin !”
- Two is better! The storage of the room, in particular, is delicate: a child does not discern the utility (the Playmobil on the ground, it does not bother him, on the contrary!), And the task seems to him impossible to accomplish and therefore to discourage. To demand that he do it alone is too much!
- Rather than reproach: the reproaches are ineffective because the child feels accused and incapable: ” You have forgotten to put your clothes dirty! “By just changing the wording, we go from reproach to benevolent communication. Thus, a finding is often enough: ” I see little panties on the carpet. “You will see, it will disappear!
- Do not dream too much … Yes, you will have to repeat thousands of times that when you get out of the bath, you do not let your wet towel hang on the floor. Yes, the room arranged spontaneously by its small occupants, it is illusory. But we sometimes have surprises: a breakfast table prepared with care “to make a surprise,” all the illustrated albums ranged “by size because it’s prettier,” the trash bag descended by a little man filled with pride … Patience, it happens!
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