“Does your child pick up her toys when asked?” I waited.
The young mom looked bewildered as she pondered her answer. “Well…I don’t know. I guess I never ask her to pick up her toys,” she finally admitted.
I would love to tell you the above exchange is a rare occurrence. But, it’s not.
As a physical therapist for the Early Steps Program (a program for children ages birth to three years old at risk for a developmental delay), I am tasked with administering a standardized test of development. It covers multiple areas of a child’s development: physical, communication, personal/social, adaptive, and cognitive.
The question about picking up toys is under the personal responsibility section and is an anticipated skill for a child starting at two years of age.
Welcome to week #4 of our seven-week summer series on building godly character in your child. This week we’re discussing RESPONSIBILITY.
And as has been illustrated above, a child as young as two can begin to clean up toys, even if some assistance is required on your part.
Some questions for you:
- Are you teaching your children to clean up their play area?
- Are you expecting your child to make/or help make his/her bed?
- Are you asking your child to assist with cleaning up after a meal?
- Do you have your child help with dusting, wiping tables, Swiffer mopping the floors, loading the dishwasher, tossing trash in the can?
Children as young as three years old are developmentally ready to help with housework. Now, they can’t do it as well as you can, but they are old enough to begin to learn how and to be expected to do their part of the work “for each one should carry his own load.” (Galatians 6:5)
I encourage you this week to write out a chore chart for each child. Stickers, check marks, or other positive encouragements should be instituted and rewarded however you decide will work best in your home. A trip for ice cream, a dollar, or a new book are just a few ideas to offer at the end of a week of chores.
The point isn’t whether to do it or how to do it. The point is to begin doing it. Expect more from your children, please. Your primary job as a parent is not to entertain, it is to “train them in the way they should go.” (Proverbs 22:6)
A common complaint by today’s employers and teachers is, “Kids today don’t know how to work.”
Don’t let that be your child they’re talking about. Teach your children the godly character trait of responsibility and when they are older, they’ll shine like a star. They’ll be the one hired. They’ll be the one promoted. They’ll be the successful one.
It isn’t enough today to be smart or athletic. You have to be able to compete for the job or the team. You have to demonstrate you are willing to put your head down and work.
I would love to know your thoughts. What has worked for you? What struggles are you having? Hit comment below.
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