Active parenting to foster a love of reading from infancy

Archive for September, 2009

The Chore Chart: A Valuable Tool to Teach Your Children the Value of Hard Work

Are you frustrated that you have to ask your children not once, but several times, to do their chores and still they don’t get them done? You’d think your children have developed hearing problems or they have learned to tune you out. It may be time for you to try a new strategy.

Have you ever thought of using a chore chart? You can use it to prod your children to do their chores and teach them a few valuable things in the process. You can assign your children chores such as cleaning their room, taking out the garbage, doing yard work, doing the dishes, and folding up their clothes.

Give your children their own chore chart that lists the chores they need to accomplish each week. Let your children know that they only need to do each chore on their list once or twice each week. Each time they complete a chore, they can check it off their chore list. At the end of the week, you and your children can have a “meeting” and look over their chore charts and see what they have accomplished. Praise your children’s accomplishments. Your children will learn to take pride in their work and in completing what they have been assigned to do for the week.

Before implementing the chore chart, sit down with your children and explain your plans and how you need their help. Talk to them about the rewards for each task they accomplish. Rewards can be monetary or non-monetary. Give your children the option of choosing what kind of reward they want to receive for accomplishing their chores. This will make them feel more motivated to participate.

If you are going to pay your children for completing their chores with non-monetary incentives, make sure they understand the rules for getting the non-monetary payment. For instance, they can spend two hours playing video games each weekend only if they successfully complete all the chores in their list. If they don’t, they don’t get to play. You can even make it more fun for your children if you issue their rewards as coupons that they can redeem when they want.

As for monetary rewards, be sure that the amount of money your children receive is age appropriate and given regularly. For instance, your children can earn 50 cents per year of age. Thus, you can pay your 6-year-old daughter $3 per week if she completes all the tasks in her chore list and you can pay your 9-year-old son $4.50 per week if he completes all the tasks in his chore list. Again, make sure your children understand the rules for getting the monetary payment. If they do not complete their chores for the week, they do not get paid.

If you are paying your children money for completing their chores each week, know that this is a wonderful opportunity for you as a parent to teach your children the importance of the three S’s as they pertain to money: Save, Share, Spend. You can teach your child to divide their earnings in thirds. They can save a third, share another third to others, and spend a third for themselves.

Some parents would “pay” their children for every task they accomplish. However, this strategy is not going to teach your children the value of completing tasks that have been given them. It will only teach them to become selective in what to do for the week since they know they will get a reward, monetary or non-monetary, even if they only manage to accomplish one or two tasks from their chore list.

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Tips for Finding a Home-Based After-School Program

If your child’s school schedules do not include extra curricular activities, you may still find other ways to provide your child opportunities to gain more knowledge and have fun. Your choice of after-school programs need not be limited to structured plans that are similar to school courses that are taught by professional teachers. You may want to consider even the informal after-school programs as long as they can provide enhancement and support to the academic, social and physical development of your child.

Children should realize the importance of giving priority to their school attendance to include the need for doing their homework. Similarly, they need to devote time for their daily assignments on reading or writing. As they study different subjects, children are apt to develop particular interests and preferences.

When you have identified the specific field that fascinates your child, you may want to seek for a related program in a nearby college or a community center where she can go to for supplemental studies. Alternatively, your child can search the Internet for relevant information. Help your child develop an inquisitive mind by encouraging her to undertake independent research so she can expand her knowledge even without going through any formal course.

If you observe your child to be deficient in social life, you can convince her to join a club. Although it is not necessary that your child makes friends with other children within the same age bracket, a reading club will be a good idea. See if your child will be interested to visit public libraries or the theater. Or, explore the possibility of doing a parent-child book reading. It would be great if you can get together with other parents and children who are also looking for an after-school program.

And if you can’t seem to locate any organized group activity, you may check with your local community. Most children are interested in getting involved with social problems. They get to understand about suffering, the concept of charity and the means of community help by getting involved through volunteer services. By participating in clean-up sessions or adult education programs, children get to learn some realities of life.

On the other hand, if you are worried about your child’s lack of physical activity, you may want to enroll your child to take up dancing lessons. Or at least, get her to enlist in a gym where she can meet new friends and learn to like the treadmill.

It is not necessary for your child to take part in an organized activity to reap the benefits from after-school programs. There are many different ways that you can explore. If your child is enthusiastic about daily household activities, encourage her to explore the different aspects of the activity like cooking or gardening and the like so she can fully enjoy the extracurricular experience. Joining your child in the activity will provide an opportunity for extra bonding within the family. 
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