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7 Reasons Why Your Child Should Help

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By Deanna Mascle

The other day was a busy one at our house. Several rooms needed tidying, vacuuming, and dusting. Several errands needed to be run. Food needed to be prepared. My 4-year-old and I got through it all as a team. I straightened while he returned items to the proper place. We both dusted, vacuumed, and loaded the dishwasher. He tidied his arts and crafts and wiped down the table and counters while I handwashed the remaining dishes. At the post office Noah mailed our package off. At the pharmacy he collected a prescription. At the grocery store he helped locate various items on our list and transfer our intended purchases from the cart onto the conveyor belt. When we returned home he helped measure ingredients for spaghetti sauce and then add them to the crockpot. Then he helped mix and shape cookie dough.

How much does your child help at home? If the answer is "not much" then you might want to rethink that choice. Children as young as 2 can be a help and certainly by the age of 4 can take on many simple tasks. There are several reasons why you should enlist your little helpers.

1. It gives you more time together. The one regret every parent expresses is the wish for more time with their children. Why not make the most of all those taks you have to do and share them.

2. It teaches your child to be a good citizen. Most of the time my son is eager to help, but sometimes he'd rather do something else. However I remind him that being a part of our family brings responsibilities as well as privileges.

3. It teaches life skills. My child can prepare his own breakfast, load the dishes into the dishwasher, and then clear the table and floor when he is done. He can dress himself and put his pajamas away.He is not fully independent and certainly requires supervision, but he can take care of himself in many ways. I am proud as he masters each new skill because I know I am raising a person, not a child, who will eventually need to take care of himself.

4. It teaches important lessons. Our various tasks during the day involve reading, counting, math, and shapes, to name just a few essential skills. In addition, my son is learning to listen and follow instructions. The acquisition of all these skills will help in school and in life.

5. It is more fun. I loathe cleaning, but when I clean with my son wemake it more fun with games, songs, dances, and jokes. Just about everything is more fun with help and the only thing more depressing than cleaning (to me anyway) is cleaning alone.

6. The TV is off. We all know our children watch too much TV and we are all the more likely to let them watch when we are focused on sometask. If they are involved with helping then that is that much less TV watching they will do that day.

7. You are creating a good habit. As children grow older they are much more able to help, but they are also much less likely to want to help -- especially if they haven't been required to before. If you get your children started young when they want to help then you can make helping a good habit.

There are a number of advantages to encouraging your children to help. Sure in the early years it will take more time to accomplish tasks with help than it would if you did them alone, but in the end the long-term benefits will make it well worthwhile.

About The Author: Deanna Mascle shares other family articles at officialfamily.us and answersforyourfamily.com .