Last week I assigned my son the most basic weekend task. To water the plants.
‘But, mumma, how do I know which plants need water?”
He is a 6-year old not-so-tiny-little boy of mine who would know how to water every known and unknown during Holi, but watering the plants? Damn, that’s trickier than Engima and even Alan Turing would’ve not been able to decode it!
The same evening, the same 6-year-old announced that he would need to finish his Hindi assignment, and shamelessly turned to me with that innocent look, “You are helping me, aren’t you?” I soaked… I soaked the moment and rolled my eyes. I looked at the dry pots and directed him.
That night, we (he) learnt a lesson. The lesson on how life isn’t about free lunches and that help is offered as much as it’s sought! If I’d not directed him to the dry pots which were withering, had it been that I’d watered the plants on his behalf, he would’ve never valued the effort that had gone finalising his Hindi assignment.
The point that I’m trying to make here is that as parents we dress our children for the weather (metaphorically), and then protect them from the same!
What Am I trying to Build?
I am a firm believer of building independence at home and outside. Parents really, really should strive to make their kids independent! Right at the onset, involve them in little tasks, which are less time-consuming.
Also, involving kids in age appropriate chores is mandatory, else they are bound to find chores daunting and tend to lose interest. One thing that we should remember though is that children are smart and are capable problem-solvers. Never underestimate their capabilities.
To involve them in helping and supporting parents in their daily or weekly chores can be super beneficial in shaping a child’s future.
Children learn to build a healthy decision-making capacity, are able to measure the impact of a problem or a challenge, develop a sense of gratitude, become independent.
So, how does it work?
You could develop a simple mechanism at home to ensure kids know and perform their tasks/help you with your chores. Take for instance a bulletin board. It’s called ‘The Help Wanted Bulletin Board’ at my place. It sits like a queen on our bookshelf!
- Throughout the week, my husband, my son and I take a piece of paper, jot down a chore we anticipate may require assistance, and pin it to the board. Each person posts two jobs in total for that entire week. Means 6 in all!
- The activities are generic and don’t involve age-appropriateness at all times. Right from cleaning out the toy chests, to arranging books in the shelves to changing sheets, and other linen, and yes- building legos, too! That’s fun
- All requests are posted on Saturday
- Each one gathers around the board with their fav snack and picks 2 jobs each. We don’t let our son cherry pick and be the first one to select from the options! You must never ever do this. They might feel imcomptetnt or find an easy way out and escape jobs they feel aren’t likeable or easy
- All jobs are time-bound. There’s a penalty in the form of no play-date or salon-visit!
- When a job is done, the posting is crossed out. Our boy feels like an achiever after this
- We take some time out to reflect on the week and tasks accomplished. A sense of gratitude and heaps of pride. It’s our moment to feel great looking at our house and each other.
Fun Ways to Involve Your Little Ones:
1. Care for pets
2. Change sheets and other linen at home
3. Measure detergent for washing or ingredients for cooking
4. Caring for grandparents
5. Create a grocery list
6. Offering to read a book to the sibling
7. Set reminders
8. Pick up newspaper from porsche
9. Laying dishes/prepping up before meals
10. Pour and make lemonade in summers
11. Answer the phone with grace and courtesy
12. Greet and attend to guests
13. Tidying up rooms
14. Create DIY greeting cards and write thank you notes
15. Wash dirty utensils
16. Fill up water bottles during bedtime
17. Packing tiffin boxes
Authored by Vaishali Sudan Sharma, Founder, The Champa Tree