As you give your child age-appropriate responsibilities around the house, break them down into small, easy-to-understand steps. For example, instead of telling your child to pick up her room, a non-specific task that might frustrate her, give her exact instructions, such as putting all of her dirty clothes in the hamper and putting all of her toys in the toy bin. If the amount of time a task will take is overwhelming, try using a kitchen timer to complete it in smaller increments. Finding ways to make a task easier or more enjoyable will encourage your child to get it done. This “Clean Your Room” visual checklist can help give her some direction.
As your child takes on more advanced tasks and chores as she gets older, offer verbal guidance and encouragement, while giving her the space to figure things out on her own. This will help build her confidence, and allow her to learn from doing.
The same applies for chores. If your child expects an allowance, he needs to get his chores done, right? If he doesn’t do his chores, consider withholding his allowance. It might be hard for you to see your child mad or upset, but it’s important to teach your child about rewards and consequences. Remain as consistent as possible to help drive this point home.
This can help with older kids, too. For example, if your teen is going to be responsible for preparing her own dinner, have the ingredients on hand for a simple, healthy meal that she can cook herself. This will help hone her kitchen skills, encourage healthy eating, and keep her from hitting up the drive-thru.
Problem-solving skills become more and more important as your child gets older and begins to navigate the ups and downs of life. Although you want him to be independent and confident enough to know how to work out any issues he might have on his own, make sure he also knows he can always come to you for help.