Encourage your child to help


May 08, 1991

This is the Maryland Week of the Working Parent, a few day set aside to recognize the role of parents in the state's work force and to help employers find practical approaches to work and family issues that affect their employees.

It's also a time to offer those parents a helping hand by sharing these Tips for Working Parents, developed by The Maryland Committee for Children, which is sponsoring the week. Today's tips focus on encouraging children to help at home.

Parents have so much to do and so little time in which to do it.

With support, children can help around the house. Here are some ideas for lightening your load:

* A child likes to feel that his help is important to a family. Letting him feel useful and share chores strengthens family ties.

* Explain to a child you need his help in the morning and at night.

* Offer your child jobs that match his ability (a 5-year-old can set the table; a 9-year-old can empty the dishwasher). Let a child choose from among different jobs.

* Use a simple chart to keep track of a child's good work and to help make it habit-forming.

* Recognize a child's accomplishments often -- with a hug, a smile or a shared snack.

* The key to encouraging your child to help at home is to choose tasks he can complete successfully.

L Tomorrow: Tips on communication with your child's caregiver.

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