Pre-School and Kindergarten Kids Help at Home

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Increasing evidence suggests that rich stimulation early in life affects the intellectual development of children. Children need as much encouragement as possible to try new tasks. They also need to learn from doing. Only in this way can they come to know about their surroundings and how they will be personally affected by them.

Many adults find themselves intimidated by computers and newer technologies. Those of us who have learned to use computers and other high tech devices know their usefulness and are likely to appreciate them. Kids are no different. Direct experience is always the best teacher. The more firsthand experiences your child has, the more comfortable, secure and confident he will become.

In fact, it's never too early to start working on your child's self-image and self-confidence. Small infants sense feelings of security and safety when only weeks old. By 18 months, a child has a strong sense of himself and his place in the family. By the time he is three, his natural curiosity and confidence, combined with maturing social and physical skills, make him a willing and enthusiastic helper in the family.

Three-Year-Olds

Characteristics

The third year is a fascinating one in the growth of the child and is personally my very favorite. I have never met a three-year-old I didn't just adore. The three-year-old can do things. He can run, jump, ride a trike and go up and down stairs proficiently. He loves to run errands, and his best reward is a smile from his parents. He pays attention to adults and watches their facial expression for approval or disapproval. He is motivated by stories, games and songs to get a message across. He is very curious and loves to talk and learn.

Task Expectations

Pick up toys

Dress himself

Clear his own plate from the table

Clean the TV screen

Dust with a feather duster

Deliver items from one room to another

Drop extra change into the charity jars at the grocery store

Put clothing away (Cut pictures of clothing and put on 3 x 5 cards. Tape the cards to the corresponding drawers.)

Four-Year-Olds

Characteristics

If three is the age of doing, four is the age of finding out. Why and how are two of the words most frequently used by the four-year-old. But he is a doer also. This is the age where a child truly lives in the here and now. So when you say, "Let's hurry and clean the house and we can go to the circus tomorrow," you are really pushing his buttons. Yesterday means nothing. Tomorrow is a vague promise. However, he can get very excited about coming events, but because he cannot grasp the meaning of time, he may ask, "Is it tomorrow yet?" A typical four-year-old offers more enthusiastic help than children of most other ages. Too bad we can't combine the four-year-old's enthusiasm with the skill level of the twelve-year-old.

Task Expectations

Dress and undress himself

Comb his hair

Wash his hands and face

Brush his teeth

Tidy up the bedroom or playroom

Put away the silverware from the dishwasher

Empty the hamper and put dirty clothes in the washroom

Fold the washcloths and towels

Set and clear the table (mark old placemats with felt tip markers with the correct
placement of dishes and silverware)

Service projects like sorting outgrown clothing and toys for others

Five-Year-Olds

Characteristics

The five-year-old is surer of himself and is generally dependable. He has learned to do what is expected of him in the household. You can usually reason with him, and he will understand why you want something done a certain way. The 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 he was at four and less apt to get distracted on the way to the garbage can. He loves stories, learns best by repetition and loves group projects. The five-year-old is usually friendly, sympathetic, affectionate, and helpful, but when he doesn't get his own way he can become quarrelsome. It is very motivating for him to receive new privileges to show that he is "bigger" and "older."

Task Expectations

Make his own bed (comforters work best)

Clean and trim his fingernail nails

Wipe up spills

Pick up trash in the yard

Spot clean the walls

Shake area rugs

Wipe off furniture, fingerprints from walls, etc.

Feed and water the pets

Know his address and phone number

Dial 911 in an emergency

Service projects like helping pick up trash in the park

Parenting Pre-School & Kindergarteners Help At Home

Judy H. Wright is a parent educator, family coach, and personal historian who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family issues, including end of life. You are invited to visit our blog at www.AskAuntieArtichoke.com for answers and suggestions which will enhance your relationships. You will also find a full listing of free tele-classes and radio shows held each Thursday just for you at www.ArtichokePress.com.

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