Rosie Molinary explains what life-skills kids of Preschool age should have in order to help the family succeed as such.
Years ago, before I was a mother, I flew halfway across the country to take care of a dear friend’s children so she and her husband could take a much needed vacation. Though her three kids were still young, they were all well-trained in how to pitch in around the house. That visit gave me insights as to how I wanted to be as a mother, empowering my child to take on tasks that he really can accomplish, giving him a sense of confidence and responsibility at an early age.
Even if our little ones still love cuddling, they are ready for us to expect more from them than just cleaning up their toys. Here, we suggest six experiences your children should have or be able to do by the age of five, to teach them responsibility.
1. Set and clear the table.
Getting a family meal on the table can be daunting after a long day of parenting and/or work and in the midst of supervising homework for your older kids. While your big kids are doing their jobs as students and you’re doing your job as a mom, give your little kid a job, too. Teach him to put out napkins and cutlery and even carefully take the necessary condiments to the table. Don’t stop there. Always have your child clear his dishes after the meal. These small responsibilities will give him a sense of ownership in the family meal and make your life a little easier.
2. Put away laundry.
If you aren’t too concerned with everything being perfect, your child can help with more than dishes. Teach him where his clothing is stored and have him put away his folded laundry.
Read Related: How a Working Mother Organizes Household Chores
3. Donate toys, clothes, or books.
Periodically, you’ve gone through your kids’ toys and put together a donation pile of those they’ll never miss. That’s a great way to help your community, but take that effort a bit further and make your children a part of it. Gently explain that some kids don’t have many toys or books and encourage your kids to share some of the toys they don’t play with, to help make another little child happy. Then ask your children which toys and books are not as fun for them any more. Help them set a target number of toys to donate. To see the project through, let them accompany you to the place where you choose to donate (try shelters, non-profit daycares, and after-school programs). For more ideas, visit Second Chance Toys.
Research from the U.S. Swimming Foundation indicates that up to 70% of Latino children cannot swim. Empower your child by starting swimming lessons early on. By familiarizing your child with water safety procedures you are not only teaching him a valuable skill, but ensuring he is safe around a swimming pool when he is older.
5. Know one emergency number.
If you and your child are ever separated, could she tell a concerned adult her whole name and a phone number to call? Help your preschooler learn your phone number by heart, just in case.
6. Name three great things.
Start a family tradition at dinner or bedtime where everyone names three great things that happened during the day. It allows all of you to connect in a deeper way and teaches your little one to keep her eyes peeled for the good stuff in life.