“One of the best ways a parent can enhance self-esteem in their child is by setting up predictable routines. When a child knows what to expect, they will eventually have the confidence to take the initiative to do things for themselves. Confidence is built when expectations are known.”Unknown
My alarm goes off at 5 am, and I sleepily snooze it for another ten minutes to mentally prepare myself (and my body) to wake up. After a few months of being on lockdown, schools across the country have ultimately begun, but so have the early mornings. Did I ever mention that I am not a morning person? No? Well, the truth is, I am almost always half asleep until I have a cup of coffee, but I suppose this is no longer an important fact, because the Kid hates being late for school. So, I hastily take a quick shower before making waffles for his lunch and a skimpy toast breakfast to make sure I get the Kid to school on time.
Did I ever mention that I am not a morning person? I am almost always half asleep until I have a cup of coffee, but I suppose this no longer an important fact, because the Kid hates being late for school. So, I hastily take a quick shower before making waffles for the Kids lunchbox and a skimpy toast breakfast to make sure I get the Kid to school on time.
We are now two weeks into face to face school lessons, and the Kid and I both struggled for a few days to get back into a routine of waking up early and having to juggle between formal school and online learning at the same time. But as a parent, I became to understand that children thrive on stability and routine, and after months of staying up late, the Kid and I needed to establish a new way of doing things.
Dr. Richard Woolfson summed up this importance in his book “Child Care,” as follows:
“… children with lots of self-confidence tend to have parents who have clear expectations about behaviour and enforce those expectations consistently throughout the household.”
As a young girl, I grew up in a house with certain rules. My siblings and I often knew what was expected from us – we needed to bath in the mornings, make up our beds, go to school during the week, complete our homework, wash our dishes, and help Tate with the gardening and Meme with the cooking and cleaning over the weekends. So when I became a young mom myself, my mother was careful to remind me about the importance of establishing some structure for the Kid.
One of the ways in which we started setting clear expectations for the Kid was to enable him to help out with housework or cooking at home, through what we call “a chore chart”. The Kid’s godmother made this chart for him exactly 3 few years ago – and we’ve been replicating it every year since! It’s a great way to define some structure for your little one and let them know what’s expected of them.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need to create your own:
- An A5 size poster;
- Chore chart printable (see here);
- A pair of scissors, a pen (or light marker) and some glue; and
- A set of your favourite stars and stickers.
- Write your child’s name on the top of the poster, adding the words “ [The Kid]‘s Chore Chart”.
- Print four copies of the free printables and using the glue, paste them spaciously on the poster.
- On the spaces provided on the free printables, write down some of the chores your child will be expected to complete within the week. Some of the Kid’s chores include: hanging school uniform, packing clothes away, packing toys, taking out lunch box from the school bag, helping to carry the grocery bags from the car, feeding the fish, taking out the trash and reading before bed.
- If you don’t already have chores in mind, use BabyCenter to help you decide on the most age-appropriate chores for your child. We’ve used this website to track the Kid’s development before he was born to date – so it’s really a great resource tool to use!
- Decorate the poster with some of your (child’s) favourite stickers and hang the poster somewhere in the house where both you and your child are likely to notice it every day. The Kid’s chart is hung on a wall just behind his bedroom door, and above the laundry bin, that we use every day.
- Place the star stickers on the different days on the spaces provided in the free printables to indicate those chores accomplished. When he gets all stars for the week, the Kid gets a reward for his “hard work”. It’s always a good idea to communicate what his reward will be for that week, but it is up to you to decide what this reward should be. It can be anything from allowing your child an extra hour of TV time, playtime or giving him or her an extra N$10 to buy stripes or ice lollies at the school tuck shop.
To make this fun, involve your child (that will also help them to take accountability for this exercise) but it is important to remember that this is a daily exercise that will require your (or any other parent authority figure at home) to check the chart and to make sure that your child is keeping track of his or her responsibilities at home, in this way ensuring consistency. In no time, your child will know what he needs to do and when he needs to do it! But here’s where things get a little interesting – you will need to establish (clear) consequences for not completing a chore – so really take time to think about what those rewards should be!
We hope you and your little one has fun with this exercise! Let us know in the comment section if this was useful to you – and how you modified it to suit your own personality!