Responsibilities help your child grow up

Responsibilities help your child grow up
Ideally, it’s best to try to avoid perpetuating stereotypes when you assign small responsibilities to your child.

As soon as her boys started to walk, Mélanie gave them little things to do, such as putting away their toy cars in the toy chest or placing their stuffed animals on the shelf. Now2 years old, Étienne puts his dirty laundry in the hamper and separates the black from the white socks when mom folds the clothes. Rafaël, 4-year-old, feeds the dog, folds the washcloths and washes himself nearly all by himself (under a parent’s supervision). And both help put away the groceries and set the table. “It’s a game for them and they love it,” says Mélanie. “It also gives them a sense of responsibility and helps them appreciate the importance of having everyone participate in family chores.” Pierre, 4-year-old Loïk’s father, gives his son missions: “Your mission today is to put away the toys lying on the floor in your room.” The little guy also loves to help empty the dishwasher.

Ideally, it’s best to try to avoid perpetuating stereotypes when you assign small responsibilities to your child. For example, your son is perfectly capable of sweeping the floor in the kitchen, and your daughter, shoveling snow off the balcony. Here are some ideas for responsibilities you can set your child—the objective being to have him participate, even if the task is not carried out to perfection.

18 months to 3 years

  • Take his toys out of the bathtub.
  • Wash and dry his hands (under supervision).
  • Wipe up a small spill (some water or milk) from the table or floor.

3 to 4 years

  • Hang up his coat on a hook within his reach.
  • Put his clothes away in drawers.
  • Clean up his place at the table.

4 to 5 years

  • Pour himself a glass of milk.
  • Help clear the table.
  • Dust a piece of furniture (clear of all trinkets).
My child is regressing
He used to be potty-trained, but now he’s back in diapers. He spoke well, but now he’s starting to babble again. Why? Regressions are often caused by changes that your child needs time to adapt to, such as the birth of a baby, a separation, a move or an illness. It could also be that your child is reacting to expectations that are too high, such as you insisting that he be potty-trained before he’s ready. When he regresses, your child is unconsciously expressing his need for attention and his need for you to reassure him of your love.
It’s best not to reprimand any baby-like behaviour, but rather to focus on his grown-up behaviour. You can also talk to him about the advantages of being a big kid (going to bed later, playing such-and-such game, eating certain foods, etc.). Giving him some one-on-one time is also a good idea (e.g.: playing with him for 15 minutes or reading him a story). Finally, reassure him by telling him that you’ll always love him. Everything should fall back into place within a few weeks.
Remember

  • Becoming self-sufficient boosts your child’s creativity, initiative, confidence, esteem, and ability to affirm herself.
  • In order to help your child become independent, show and explain to him how to do something instead of doing it for him.
  • Observe your child to know which activity to suggest based on his age and abilities.