When a new year begins I often just sit and gaze at my children while they are enjoying a splash in the pool on a hot summers day and think about what I’d like to see for them throughout the year. I guess you could call it new year resolutions for the young:) In past years I’ve concentrated on things like following an instruction straightaway, cleaning up their toys before they go onto something else or little things like put your pjs on your bed when you get dressed in the morning or take your plate to the kitchen when finished. All these little things when chipped away at, leads to the molding of a respectable and responsible little human being!
I’m quite happy with where my children are presently at! They are capable of so many more things now that they are getting older and it’s nice that there are a few of us now to pitch in and help when it’s needed! Even though they are almost 7, 2 and four and a half, they are all becoming helpful in one way or another! The success of this I believe is consistency. For anything to work, it has to be consistently practiced and from a young age, otherwise it just doesn’t sink in!
Just recently my two eldest children have really discovered the benefit of money and love receiving it for gifts! But of course once it’s spent they want more! So I thought it was time, time for the two little words I have been waiting to use until the time is right…pocket money! When I mentioned to them that they could earn pocket money by being responsible for certain things around the house, they were super excited and listened attentively while I explained that we go out to work to earn money and that is how pocket money works.
Each child has been given 5 jobs that I know they are capable to do. This was done by negotiation between myself and the child. Most jobs are daily ones that are a huge help to the running of our home. At the end of the week, if they have done their jobs well and consistently without any complaining, they get $5 (basically $1 per job)! They asked what they were allowed to spend their money on…my reply was something specific that they need wanted or needed. They are always saying I need new shoes or I need a new skate board. Now they can learn the art of saving for things they want or need!
It’s day 3 and so far so good. All I have to say is “Bailey or Sienna you need to do your job!” and they ask which one and do it! I’ve had the occasional whine and all I’ve said is “a dollar will be taken away if you don’t do your job properly!” and they soon change their tune! My aim of this is to create independence and responsibility around the running of a home. At this stage I don’t expect them to be cooking dinner or even doing the dishes yet, but it’s never too early to create independence in a child.
Right from when my children start toddling I start teaching them to pack their toys away, get the stuff to change their nappy or get a cup or plate out of the cupboard. By the time my kids are one they are usually pretty good with their receptive skills and can follow a command quite well. Again it’s the consistency in this practice that makes it a success. For Mia this year her independence will come from toilet training. She is about to turn 2 next month and is coming along so well with both her receptive and expressive language, so at some stage between now and mid year I’d love to think she will be toilet trained.
2 is the perfect age for establishing independence with feeding themselves and helping with odd things around the house. Mia loves helping (sometimes too much lol) and of course it’s so important to praise them when they do! Even my two older children thrive on praise. Bailey asked “when we do our job well do we get extra money?”…my response “no mate I’ll praise you and give you a high 5!”…his response his beautiful little grin:)
I don’t for one second think that children are our human slaves, but if we start teaching independence and responsibility from when they are little, it not only will help them when they start school, but hopefully will carry onto their adult life. Now that my husband has a new job with long hours and I work two days a week to, it’s all about pitching in and helping together! And I don’t care what gender you are, everyone should be taught this. I know it’s way off, but I’d love to think once my children marry, their respective partners appreciate the up bringing our children have had!
So it’s a big year in My Party of 5’s house! We’ll have 2 children in school now Sienna is starting prep and once Mia is out of nappies we won’t have a baby anymore:( But we have so much to look forward to!