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Pre-School and Kindergarten Kids Help at Home
A growing body of evidence suggests that rich stimulation at an early age influences children’s intellectual development. Children need as much encouragement as possible to try new tasks. They also need to learn from their actions. This is the only way they can get to know their surroundings and how it affects them personally.
Many adults feel intimidated by computers and newer technology. Those of us who have learned to use computers and other high-tech devices know their usefulness and probably appreciate them. Children are no different. Direct experience is always the best teacher. The more first-hand experiences your child has, the more comfortable, safe and confident they will be.
In fact, it’s never too early to start working on your child’s self-image and self-esteem. Young babies feel a sense of security and safety when they are only a few weeks old. At 18 months, the child has a strong sense of himself and his place in the family. At three years old, his natural curiosity and self-confidence, combined with maturing social and physical skills, make him a willing and enthusiastic helper in the family.
Three year olds
The third year is fascinating in a child’s growth and is personally my very favorite. I’ve never met a three-year-old that I didn’t just adore. A three-year-old can do things. He can run, jump, ride a tricycle and walk up and down stairs proficiently. He likes to run errands and his best reward is a smile from his parents. Pays attention to adults and watches their facial expressions to see if they agree or not. He is motivated by stories, games and songs to convey the message. He is very curious and loves to talk and learn.
Expectations of tasks
Pick up the toys
Remove his own plate from the table
Clean the TV screen
Dust with a duster
Deliver items from one room to another
Drop change in charity bins at the grocery store
Put clothes away (Cut out pictures of clothes and insert 3 x 5 cards. Tape the cards to the appropriate drawers.)
Four years old
If three is the age of doing, four is the age of finding out. Why and how are the two words most often used by a four-year-old. But he is also an official. This is the age when the child really lives in the here and now. So when you say, “Let’s hurry up and clean the house and we can go to the circus tomorrow,” you’re really pushing his buttons. Yesterday means nothing. Tomorrow is a vague promise. However, he may get excited about upcoming events, but because he cannot understand the meaning of time, he may ask, “Is tomorrow already?” The typical four-year-old offers more enthusiastic help than children of most other ages. Too bad we can’t combine the enthusiasm of a four-year-old with the skill level of a twelve-year-old.
Expectations of tasks
Dressing and undressing myself
Brush his hair
Wash his hands and face
Brush his teeth
Clean up your bedroom or playroom
Remove the cutlery from the dishwasher
Empty the basket and put the dirty clothes in the washroom
Fold washcloths and towels
Set and clean the table (mark the old table setting with a felt tip marker correctly
placement of dishes and cutlery)
Service projects such as sorting outgrown clothes and toys for others
A five-year-old child is more sure of himself and is generally reliable. He learned to do what was expected of him in the household. You can usually negotiate with him and he will understand why you want to do something a certain way. A five-year-old may still have some difficulty using his small muscles, but he can usually print his name and a few other words. He is much more reliable and independent than in four and is less distracted on the way to the litter box. He loves stories, learns best through repetition and loves group projects. A five-year-old is usually friendly, likable, cuddly and helpful, but when he doesn’t get his own way, he can become cantankerous. It is very motivating for him to get new privileges to show that he is “bigger” and “older”.
Expectations of tasks
Make his own bed (blankets work best)
Clean and trim his nails
Wipe up spills
Pick up trash in the yard
Spot clean the walls
Carpets for shaking surface
Wipe furniture, fingerprints off walls, etc.
Feed and water the pets
Know his address and phone number
In an emergency, call 911
Service projects, such as helping pick up trash in the park
Parent preschools and kindergartens help at home
© Judy H. Wright, parent educator, author and international speaker
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