WHEN IS A CHILD READY? PART I
Updated: Nov 18, 2021
Many parents have asked me to resolve a conflict between them on how much is too much or too little to expect out of a child as far as helping around the home or doing chores. So, when is a child ready for the next step in spiritual choices and life responsibilities?
The answer is that you watch for the mental and physical development to connect then make a move on it. For example, when a child has developed physically enough to grasp a toy and pick it up off of the floor he is ready to learn to put his toys away at the end of play time. The parent should start in a simple way by directing the child to pick up a specific toy and then drop it into a box or a basket where it is stored. Clapping your hands and saying "Yay!" as each toy goes into the basket is part of the reward for this job. Don't expect a two year old to pick up more than ten toys and Mommy or Daddy may have to help carry the "heavy" last two or three. As the child turns three it is now time to train their eye. This is now when you say, "pick up your toys" and the child will likely pick up four or five toys before stopping. Now you bring them to the doorway of the room and get them to look from left to right to see if any toys are "hiding on them". When they spot a toy or two that they missed, have them put those away and brag on how "those toys couldn't hide from you". Then bring the child back to the doorway and scan the room from left to right again. Make this a hide and seek game as you are training their eye to actually see what is on the floor and become thorough in their job. As their physical dexterity develops they can learn to make their bed set the table or fill the dish washer. Being a needed part of a family gives worth and purpose to a child. Remember they are short in focus and easily discouraged with too big of a job. Starting out on any new job the parent may need to take care of a few things and the child takes care of a few things. Little by little they will get efficient at the job and can be expected to do it all by themselves with minor supervision. Taking in account for tiredness or cranky days you should give a bit more help but never let that keep them from fulfilling their responsibility. Not doing your job when you are an adult because you are tired will put you on the unemployment line. So, it is better for your child to build the character that will earn later promotions while they are in their youth.