We live up in the mountains where mornings and evenings get very cold. Whenever we start a fire, B and M are there to help us. M (3 years 1 month) has experienced the process so many times, she can pretty much do the whole thing by herself, as long as an adult is there to help her light the fire.
M starts to clean out yesterday’s ashes…
and dumps it out in the trashcan.
She starts scooping again…
…gets a big scoopful, then dumps it in the trash.
After several trips, the fireplace is now clean and ready for new firewood.
She lays down firewood Mark has cut and prepared – starting with one large piece at the bottom…
…and some smaller pieces at top.
She gets the fire starter.
Then she gets the torch. Don’t worry, dear readers – Mom’s the one who lights it!
Now we have a warm fire to enjoy the rest of the day!
Look around your home and see if there is a task your family does everyday that your child could participate in – and maybe take over. Let them have the choice of doing the activity everyday, but a child under 5 is too young to be required to do it everyday.
When your child starts to help out around the house, don’t feel like you need to reward them or praise them excessively. If you rely heavily on qualitative praise (like, ‘you’re so smart’) or giving your child rewards (like toys, money or cookies) – it will take away from their own sense of accomplishment. Pretty soon, you’ll find that they only do things for your praise or reward. And their joy of doing the activity diminishes.
The best way to praise your child is by using simple phrases like, ‘You cleaned the fireplace,’ ‘You helped wash the dishes’ or ‘You brought your dishes to the sink.’ These descriptive praises tells them you noticed what they did – and your acknowledgement is all they need.
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