Preschool children love to be rewarded, if they do something good then heap on praise and offer a reward - in turn, you will be rewarded as you begin to condition their behaviour. Even the most trivial or trifling rewards can fill a toddler's pride. Sometimes you may reward with food, but try to coax with healthy foods rather than sweets and chocolate. Offer raisins or other dried fruit or perhaps rice cakes as an incentive for good behaviour or simply for being helpful.
Children will be just as stimulated by earning points or stickers. A sticker chart offers a simple visual reward mechanism. Even the youngest children will understand that when they do good or clever things, they will be rewarded with another sticker on the chart. If you don't have stickers, just draw stars onto a piece of paper. Even before they can count, young children will be able to sense quantity from the number of stars staring back at them.
Schools reward with responsibility; young children may take it in turns to deliver the register to the school reception, or to tidy away craft at the end of a session. Wiping the table after dinner may be seen as a privilege rather than a chore. See if you can instigate that same sense of importance and value by offering chores as a privilege. Invite your little ones to pair shoes or wellies by the door, to place their dirty clothes in the washing basket, or to collect waste bins from around the house before bin collection. There are a number of small jobs that young children will be able to take on around the house and by offering these as a reward for good behaviour, you will start to instil a sense of value and worth.
If they can ride a scooter, eat with a spoon and fork, sing the alphabet and reach the top of a playground climbing frame, then even the littlest children can help around the house. Introduce chores and rewards and get your little ones used to the idea of being helpful around the house. Here are some jobs that young children can help with:-
- Putting shoes away: teach your little ones to pair up shoes and place them nicely by the door, or wherever you store them, when they get a little unsightly.
- Collecting rubbish: if you have waste bins around the house then invite your children to collect them on bin days so that you can empty them into the dustbins.
- Laying the table: give them the right cutlery and see if your children can lay the table for you. They may have seen a table set hundreds of times, but see if they know where the knife, the fork and the spoon should go themselves!
- Putting out washing: it's so easy to discard dirty clothes at the end of the day and leave them all over the bedroom - yes, even you do it, and you'll wonder why the kids do in a couple of years! Have them take their dirty laundry through to the washing basket.
- Straightening the bed: if they aren't in a cot any more then your little ones should be able to straighten their bedclothes in the morning. Encourage them to do so, and to lay their pyjamas under their pillow.
- Turning off the television: if your children watch a little bit of TV, teach them to turn it off when you ask them to. Most children love turning things on and off, and they will love the responsibility of this job. Hopefully it will make it easier for you to extract them from the telly when you need to!
There are so many chores that you can find for your little ones to do. Draw up a reward chart for them, or even start giving them pocket money, just a few pence for each task. The reward is only half the motivator, most children will also be driven by the fact that they are being helpful around the house, and receiving praise for being so.
While Nannies, Childminders and Au Pairs are all there to help look after your children, the terms of engagement are very different, and that is what distinguishes the different roles.
A Nanny is paid to come into your house and help look after the children. A nany has set hours and will generally work to a routine, but usually only looks after your children, possibly alongside her own. You effectively employ a nanny and they have certain employment rights, including the ability to take paid maternity leave.
A childminder is someone who you pay to look after your children in their own setting. They may pick children up from your home or from school, you usually have set hours and may be responsible for paying additional for any overtime incurred. They will usually be OFSTED registered and inspected, and will look after a children from various families, often of varying age groups.
An au pair is someone who looks after your children, usually in return for board and lodging and a small amount of 'pocket money' (typically less than £100 per week). Au Pair's are usually foreign nationals and often young women and men taking a 'gap year' before or after higher education and are generally looking to spend some time in this country and improve their language skills. In addition to working an agreed number of hours looking after children, they may do light housework and other chores such as cooking meals. Usually an au pair is a 'live in' position so you must have a spare room for them to live in, and you must share bathroom and kitchen facilities as required.
You will generally have a contract in place for each of these types of role, and you should look at insurance cover to make sure that they are covered for the work they do for you. All may look after children of all ages, including babies, although they are restricted by law as to how many children of different age group they may look after at once. Therefore, for practical reasons, not all child carers have the necessary space to take on your children, and they may focus on offering services to children of a specific age or attending certain settings or schools.
Although the EYFS is a prescriptive programme to help cover a wide variety of development topics, almost everything we do covers aspects of EYFS without even having to try, and that's because EYFS is really gearing us up to learning about the real world.
Take a trip to the supermarket for example, your little ones are learning where their food comes from, they can help find products on the shelves, they help you with the money when you come to pay. These activities touch elements of health and bodily awareness (PD), place (KUW), and shapes, space and measures and calculating (PSRN).
Picking up siblings or other children from school and chatting with mum's at the school gate aids language (CLL) and sense of community (PSED) as well as helping grow confidence (PSED), the walk alone contributing to Physical Development.
Familiarity with the goals of EYFS will let you turn every routine task or chore into a learning game. Accentuate the lessons across the different areas of the EYFS and at every step you will be nurturing your children in understanding the world, their place within, and in how everything works. Don't forget to log the lessons learned in your Daily Diary at ToucanLearn!