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.
It seems that just as many children begin to find themselves really mucky by the end of the day: food, paint, sand, mud all over them, that they develop a fear of the bath! Between the age of 1 and 2 it is common to hear of toddlers who cry, scream and refuse to get into their lovely, warm, foaming water despite lots of encouragement. There are various things that might scare children about bathing - even if they cannot necessarily articulate the problem, bear the following in mind.
- They may be fearful of the soap in their eyes when they wash with soap or wash their hair.
- They may not like the sound of the water filling the bath - it may be loud for them.
- They may not like the gurgling water going down the drain at the end of the bath.
- They may be scared of going under water or slipping.
- They may not like the coldness as they undress and when they get out all wet.
Try to reduce the fears by:-
- Not using slippy soap and ensuring you wash faces without soap on the cloth, just water.
- Filling the bath before they come in and emptying it after they have gone.
- Using baby shampoo and concentrate on the back of the head rather than the scalp so to avoid dripping.
- Wrapping them up nice and warmly in a dry towel as soon as they come out.
If they really refuse, don't force them. Try a stand up wash, then progress to a stand-up wash in the bath. Then with a little water and gradually build up the water over a couple of weeks, if that's what it takes.
Make bath time fun with a few toys to play with and calm lighting. Even try getting in yourself! That might be fun!