It’s a good thing we like to be needed. As single moms, we sure seem to be needed a lot. Besides being needed to bring in the money needed to run the household, we’re needed to purchase and prepare the food, pay the bills, do the upkeep on the home and never take our eyes off of our parenting duties.
Did you ever stop to think that your kids would benefit from feeling like they’re needed? What better way to show your young child how valued they are in your family than letting them contribute in the way of chores.
Even at the young ages between 5 and 9 years, there are many tasks that mom can assign to the child that will not only relieve the single mom of simple yet time consuming tasks, but let the child build self competence and understanding of how the family works together to make a happy home.
When assigning the tasks to the child, make sure that it’s a task that he’s mature enough and physically capable of managing. If mom has to redo the task, it is no help to her and can also be seen as failing through the child’s eyes. If the child isn’t tall enough to properly lay out the dinnerware on the table, change the scope of the task to just bringing the silverware or plates to the table.
Tasks that young kids should be able to manage include:
- Bringing in the newspaper
- Clearing their own dishes, or even the table
- Weeding the garden
- Straightening up the bedroom
- Helping to unload the dishwasher
- Placing dirty clothes in the hamper
- Making their own bed
- Sweeping the floor
- Feeding the pet
- Emptying waste baskets
- Helping with meal preparation
- Making their own snacks
Mom doesn’t want to assign too many chores, or the child will start to rebel. Once a chore is given to a child, it’s important that the child does it regularly. Being inconsistent in requiring the job is completed will only give the youngster the idea that if they put off doing the job long enough they can completely escape the duty.
Get a double reward when the child is helping you by doing chores by chatting as you both go about your tasks. This is valuable one on one time with your child. Remember to acknowledge how much help the child is giving you and hand out praise for a job well done.
A behavior chart can be a positive way to reinforce the behaviors you want your children to exhibit and limit those behaviors you wish to put a stop to. However, you need to use them carefully to make them as effective as possible. These behavior chart tips will help you make the most of this.
First, you need to keep the process fun. One of the easiest ways to do this is to emphasize positive behaviors, helping the children earn marks or stickers when they perform activities you want them to perform. Decide on just a few behaviors to zero in on at a time. Too many can overwhelm your child, especially if he or she is little.
You have to be consistent to make a behavior chart work, so make it in a manner that makes sense to you and is something you can follow through on. Decide when you will “finish” the chart, whether it be a week or a month. When it is time for the “points” to be tallied and rewards given out, do so consistently, every time.
Your children will be motivated by things they can see, so put the chart somewhere they can see it, but if your children will be tempted to add to the chart or mess with it, hang it in a visible place that is out of reach.
You need to keep the rewards simple. Large rewards can be hard to maintain. A reward can be something as simple as choosing dinner, deciding what movie night movie will be, or other simple things. New sticker packages are popular with young children and are quite affordable. Be creative, knowing your children’s interests, but avoid making the rewards too exciting, because eventually you will have to make the reward “better” and you can eventually run out of ideas.
As you implement a behavior chart, be creative. Use these behavior chart tips to make it fun and effective in your home. Soon you will be seeing the behaviors your want to reinforce creeping into your home and becoming habits.
As a single mom, you do not have another adult to help you with the chores around your home, so you have even more of a need to enlist your kids to help. Chores and kids are a great combination to teach responsibility, and in your home, this combination is necessity to keep things running smoothly. The key to making this work is keeping things fun.
When it’s time to clean up, play your kids’ favorite tunes. Fun, upbeat music can make work more exciting. It can also encourage them to pick up their pace and get it done faster.
If your kids are old enough to enjoy some good-natured competition, make cleanup a contest. You can use a timer and let the person who gets their jobs done first have some reward, such as choosing the movie or bedtime story. Do not use this, however, if you have child who cannot win the competition and will get discouraged.
One way to keep work fun is to rotate responsibilities. No one wants to clean the same part of the home every single day for days on end. Create some sort of system of rotation that lets each kid try his or her hand at a different chore each week.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your kids what they think. They might have a great idea to make cleanup time a little bit more fun. Remember, when it comes to kids and chores, keeping it entertaining will get the job done.