With increasing physical skills and an emerging drive for independence, your child slowly enters the stage of life where he wants to join you doing things around the house. You can help maintain his natural enthusiasm by bearing in mind the following general principles.
Remember to keep all lessons on the light side. Your role should be one of gentle guidance and encouragement, not drilling or nagging. Your primary goal is not to train your little worker, but to show your child how things are done and allow him to the fun of taking part.
Before your little one is old enough for regular chores, you can give him a feeling of usefulness by allowing him to help you spontaneously from time to time. When you feel that your child is ready to tackle a job of his own, make sure the task is a real one.
A youngster who helps to set the table everyday or takes the clothes out of the dryer feels proud to know that what he is doing is important to the running of the household. Although your youngster can participate in many household activities from the time he is two, you should be careful to match the job to his skills. He will become frustrated and lose his interest if you ask him to do something for which he is not quite ready.
Teaching new skills to a youngster takes time and practice, even when your little one is ready and eager for the job. You might give him a sponge and a spray bottle filled with water when you are cleaning the kitchen and let him spray and wipe part of the counter while you do the rest of it. If you show your child patiently how to do the job and then work with him, he will learn to do it while you watch.
A child is often ready to move from simple to more complex tasks when he reaches a new development milestone. But if you misjudge your youngster’s skill and feel that it is necessary to lighten the responsibility, try not to make it seem like a punishment. Always praise him for what he is able to do.