Good Home Habits Taught Early On Have
Responsibilities To Kids Increases Overall Healthy Behavior
(ARA) - Rarely does a day go by when negative behavior or violence
among today's youth isn't covered in the country's national news
reports. More and more parents are coming under fire for their
child's actions, although they are equally concerned and confused.
What steps can be taken to turn this trend around - to keep semblance
in the home and order in the schools? Susan Turben, Ph.D., a
nationally recognized Parent Educator and Child Development Specialist,
offers several suggestions to parents in raising today's youth.
"Early on, parents need to communicate who's in charge of
the household, and that can be done many ways," said Turben.
"One such way is to assign responsibilities to children
and treat those activities as having real value. Stay away from
the word 'chores' - which can give the impression that the activity
lacks real work."
"One of the key benefits
of establishing responsibility is that children learn very early
on that parents and family members want them to help, which happens
to be one of the most positive reinforcements they can have at
a young age. And by helping, children also learn to cooperate
with siblings and other family members - essentially leading
to a strong sense of partnership and trust," continued Turben.
"This sense of trust also allows for better communication."
If children are taught and entrusted
to work with useful and special equipment, such as vacuums or
other household appliances, and can complete each task successfully,
then the child's confidence is nurtured.
This is called multi-sensory
learning - or in simple terms - children feel competent to use
their motor functions, intellect and social skills, all at the
"Good habits require a lot
of training, yet most of children's habits, values and beliefs
tend to stem from those of their parents," commented Turben.
"Children incorporate these habits by imitating and repeating
what their parents do, including the tools and equipment they
use. In fact, objects that toddlers see their parents using regularly,
often become their chosen play toys."
Understanding the needs of families
today have become key elements of consideration in the design
and development of new products at many top manufacturers. For
example, the overall importance of having lightweight, easy-to-use
household tools have become paramount for many families.
"Family time today is more
limited than ever before," commented Rick Farone, Dirt Devil's
Vice President of Product Development. "And while cleaning
is a necessity in every home, people do not want to spend a lot
of time on housework. That's why Dirt Devil is so focused on
developing upright vacuums and specialty home care products that
are powerful, yet easy enough for anyone in the home to use,
"By popular demand from
parents and child care providers alike, Dirt Devil also offers
toy-sized working replicas of our most popular products. This
way kids of all ages can work side-by-side with Mom or Dad and
learn to 'help out' with the housework, while also acquiring
valuable skills associated with role-playing and responsibility,"
In addition, children also develop
a sense of value by being given various responsibilities. For
example, if a child helps with the vacuuming of carpets and dusting
of furniture, he or she will assign a greater value to those
items. This generally applies to specific play areas when they're
young and transcends to other practical applications around the
home or yard as they become young adults.
Tips To Remember In Assigning
Responsibilities To Kids
So where does a parent begin,
and how should they go about the process of assigning responsibility
to their children?
Make a list, assign tasks
and stick to it. Remember
that assigning housework establishes a sense of teamwork and
participation, especially when the outcome is to go out and have
Develop a weekly schedule. For children and parents of all ages,
scheduling is imperative so that each person has an active role
and a sense of ownership in running the household. A comprehensive
schedule is also a great time-saver for working parents.
Let children help. Even if it is a simple activity, such
as making a leafy salad or loading plastic dishes into the dishwasher,
encourage children and even toddlers to participate. By doing
so, children get a better sense that they are being constructive
Remember that there is more
than one way to complete a specific task. Observe a measure of flexibility and let children
be creative as they work, especially if they offer suggestions.
Think in terms of "two"
sets of devices or tools.
Small children benefit from using a like-version (smaller or
toy version, if available) of regularly used household devices,
tools or appliances, such as a vacuum cleaner, lawn mower or
Work side-by-side. A good
work ethic can be easily learned at an early age. Besides, it's a great opportunity to
spend time together and get some work done!
Let children imitate. Allow and encourage children to share
in the same experiences and activities with which you may be
engaged, even if it's as simple as using the phone or brushing
your hair. After all, imitation is an important element in the
development process. Parents should see this as a form of flattery
- their children want to be just like them!
Spend more time in or around
the home. If children
learn to play and work in the home at an early age, they will
value "home" as a haven later in life as well.
Reward a job well done. Remember to acknowledge their good
work as a valuable contribution. Catch children being "good,"
and praise and encourage them often.
"There are many variables
to consider when raising children today," concluded Turben.
"But with all things considered, a regular routine - assigning
household responsibilities and offering encouragement - is a
great way for parents to establish consistent family guidelines
for work time and play time. This will lead to healthier, happier