I’ve been writing about TRAINING AHEAD – meaning training your child BEFORE they are expected to do something. This involves YOU teaching them by talking in a calm adult voice (not baby-talk), at their eye level, with clear communication, and letting THEM HOLD whatever ITEM there is so that they are DOING whatever thing you are teaching them. (Not YOU telling them how and YOU doing it, then leaving them to do it on their own.)
Most parents wait farrrrrr too long to begin teaching their children how to help.
Let’s start with one of the early chores that can be taught – UNLOADING THE DISHWASHER.
Look at this picture. John is 6; Alexis is 3.
I hope you’re still reading.. I realize having a child ON the counter-top may have scared you a little. No worries. This was supervised and how else can HE reach the cabinet to put the glasses away? I could help him or steady him each and every time, but that’s NOT the ultimate goal here – independence is, as well as INITIATIVE to see the need and do it without being told. He had been taught how to safely climb onto and off of the chair and the countertop. He had also been taught to think ahead – and put the items that go in that cabinet onto the countertop BEFORE climbing up (and the why behind that so he can think on his own.)
Alexis is putting silverware away. She, too, was taught the safety in climbing along with how to properly sort the silverware and put into the right compartments. (This is a great skill! Some adults struggle with putting LIKE things together!)
Here’s a sample dialogue of how this might go:
Hold up a small and a large fork, for example and ask, “What are both of these?” and then “What is the difference?” and then “So, where does this one go?” .. “and this one?” and LET THEM HOLD THE ITEM and DO the placement of the item.
You will also show them a KNIFE – yes, a KNIFE… and talk with them about the dangerous side that cuts and how to hold it safely and how to place it in the drawer as well – or the knife rack thing.
See? You’re showing RESPECT to your child in this process by TEACHING them a skill thoroughly, TRUSTING them to do it. And..great news… INITIATIVE happens when a child understands, is well-trained, understands the dynamics of how this plays in a home running effectively,understands how to identify the need before being told, and feels confident in meeting the need.
SELF-CHECK on your expectations: are you a PERFECTIONIST?
For example, your child needs to SORT the silverware properly into the drawer, recognizing differences in large and small spoons and forks, but does it REALLY matter if the forks within each compartment are PERFECTLY stacked? Or, is the goal met when they have properly sorted and placed them within the separate sections.
Rhonda INITIATIVEcan’thappenwithoutSKILLS ellis