How and Why to Give Kids an Allowance

coins-in-handThe days of paper routes are over, yet the market is flooded with gadgets and games kids insist they must have in order to simply exist. It’s a tough parenting world today. We want to teach our kids responsibility, work ethic and long term gratification. These values can be modeled, and they can also be instilled in the younger child. Once your child is eight or nine years old, it’s time to start.

Ground Rules

One of the ways to instill these values is through having your child earn an allowance. It’s a wide range here, given the huge maturity differences between eight year olds and fifteen year olds. Some basic pointers on establishing the ground rules and expectations for an allowance follow.

  • Select what works for your family and good luck!
  • Work together with your child to establish the the rules and expectations.
  • Decide on what chores will need to be completed and what the payment will be.
  • Will this happen on a monthly basis or weekly?
  • Can the child accomplish part of the list and receive partial payment?

The more you engage your child in this process, the greater sense of ownership they’ll have. If they suggest they don’t want to work for an allowance, that’s fine too. Just let them know they won’t be receiving any discretionary spending money each week. That may eventually begin to burn!

Quality control

Will you ensure that the chores are completed to the best of our child’s ability in a timely manner or will you ask your child to check behind himself? Remember, this is a learning process and won’t necessarily go smoothly out of the gate. Work together to look at the final product. This will reinforce the value of responsibility and pride in one’s work. It’s a slow lesson to learn and trait to develop, but you will be giving them a gift that will last longer than any of the latest must have gadgets on the market.

Encourage your child to set short and long term goals with the allowance he receives. Setting aside a portion of the allowance each week might result in a trip to the Disney Store for a favorite toy or figurine. A short term reward might be a trip to the ice cream shop. Encourage, empower and reward your child throughout the process. Establishing the foundations for an allowance will help develop the values of responsibility, work ethic and long term gratification that are so critical in all aspects of life. Good luck!

Are You Doing Too Much For Your Child?

by Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D

lazy-teenOne of my clients, Katherine, came in yesterday and told me that she was feeling frustrated with her son’s behavior. “Today I asked Evan repeatedly to take out the garbage and he just kept saying, ‘Later, Mom.’ I finally did it myself, but I was so angry and resentful,” she explained. “And it’s not only the trash – it’s more important things, like finishing schoolwork. I do virtually everything for Evan – to the point where sometimes I’m exhausted – and he never seems to take any responsibility himself.”

When I asked Katherine why she continued in this way, she said, “I suppose it’s because I felt my parents never did anything for me…and I don’t want Evan to ever feel that way.”

I replied, “I can see this is hurting you – but do you realize you may be hurting Evan, too?”

Katherine’s overprotective parenting style stems from her own sense of neglect, but there are other reasons parents may overcompensate and feel they must do everything for their child.

Fear of dire consequences can cause a parent to step in, e.g., “If I don’t finish the science project for her, she’ll fail the class and never get into college,” or “If I don’t remind him to get to soccer practice on time every day, he’ll get cut from the team.”

Feelings of anxiety about the world in general can drive parents to take control or indulge their children excessively, in the belief that they can keep their child from ever being hurt or disappointed. For instance, “If I let him walk to his friend’s house alone, he may be kidnapped,” or “If I don’t buy her those expensive jeans, she says she just has to have, the other girls will make fun of her and ostracize her from their crowd.”

Although “do-everything” parents have good intentions, they can actually instill their own anxiety in their child. Parents who hover over and micro-manage their children at school functions or during play dates, because they themselves are uncomfortable in social situations, may create children who will mirror that same unease and apprehension.

Studies have shown that an overprotective parent can harm a child by engendering a lack of self-agency, the feeling that they are the agents that can produce a desired outcome, not the parent. Similarly, overprotective parents impede the development of self-efficacy, the sense that one has the capacity to take effective actions. Individuals with diminished self-efficacy are less resilient to stress and underestimate their own resources.

Children who have everything done for them lose the chance to develop valuable coping skills, to gain self-confidence and to learn to bounce back from failure when necessary.

So, if you catch yourself doing too much for your child, step back and give him or her a chance to learn to be more independent –– perhaps at first with a struggle, but later with ease.  Chances are you’ll both feel better about yourselves.

Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D has been a psychologist in private practice for 30 years. She is the director of the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Farmington Hills, near Detroit. www.anxiety-treatment.com

Clean In Less Than 5 Minutes

Once school starts your life is busier than ever. Keeping your house clean during all the chaos can seem like a time-consuming and daunting task. The Maids provided us with 5 quick cleaning tips.

 

clean-homeTips to Help You Clean Your Home Faster

Thirty seconds:

  • Prevent soap scum buildup in your shower with a few quick squirts of daily shower spray.

  • Swipe the bathroom counter with a disinfectant wipe, clearing it of hairspray, toothpaste and soap scum.

  • Shake out entryway rugs to rid them of excess dirt and minimize traipsing it throughout your home.

Two minutes:

  • Gather stray clutter into a laundry basket. Just be sure to put everything in its proper place at a later time.

  • Sweep high-traffic areas, like the entryway or bathroom floor.

  • Spritz the bathroom mirror with glass cleaner and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.

  • And at the expense of sounding like your mother, make your bed.

Five minutes:

  • Start a load of laundry.

  • Wash the bathroom floor. Clean-up is simple if you have already swept it during your two-minute hiatus.

  • Wipe down kitchen countertops. You don’t want harmful germs finding their way into your food preparations.

  • Sort through your pile of mail and toss the junk.  Remember to shred and recycle!

Busy lifestyles necessitate taking small, time-efficient steps when it comes to maintaining an orderly and clean house. If you need an extra hand, call The Maids and experience the healthiest, most thorough housecleaning in the industry.

Who Runs Your House – the kids or you?

by Karen Phillip

Taken from chapter 12 of “Who Runs Your House – the kids or you?”

 

kid-helps-raking-the-leavesHow many parents do you know that complain their child does nothing around the house or that they are so lazy or hopeless. Who is the smart one here? The child, of course.

 

Perhaps they were not given the opportunity of learning how to do independent things. Perhaps they had everything always done for them. Suddenly, asking them to now do it is like a red flag to a bull.

 

Little children love to help, love to do and learn new things, and love to be ‘big enough’ to help. Learning these things when they are little enables them to carry them on as a normal function when older. So stop doing everything for your little children. Allow them the opportunity to learn to do things independently for themselves. This way you are teaching, and they are learning the vital things for life. If started early, it is just so easy to have your children do their jobs. No problem and no complaints, they just do it as it is expected. It becomes a normal part of their life, like using the toilet and eating and washing hands. It is just what you do, doesn’t everyone?

 

A two-year-old child can learn to pack away their toys and items (with help), maybe not brilliantly yet with some assistance they can. They can find their shoes and socks, attempt to put them on, place dirty clothes into the hamper, and use a dustpan and brush (a bit).

A three-year-old child can do all the above better plus much more. They pack all toys and items away correctly, they can fold and place clothes into correct drawers, toilet themselves, organise boxes of toys, sort their shelves, start using utensils correctly, dress themselves, place items in correct places, and wipe over benches or tables. They love cleaning up with you.

A four-year-old child can also set the table, collect dirty utensils, plates, cups, and place them in the sink. They can wash basic items at the sink, maybe standing on a small stool, tidy up better, manage their own self-cleaning, dressing themselves, pour a drink, make a basic sandwich, learn how to use a knife and fork correctly, use their DS and the TV, and start learning to make their bed.

A five-year-old is a little person and should be fairly independent doing all the above, including make their own bed such as pulling up their sheets and quilt. They can start placing spreads, cheese, meats on to sandwiches or plates, setting the table, then clearing away the salt, pepper, sauce, and so forth, after dinner, putting placemats into the draw, and so on.

By six to eight years, they can assist cutting up vegetables or salad—under supervision. They love helping in the kitchen or shed and they can do a lot outside too.

 

Children love to wipe clean and polish, they can sweep or vacuum, pack items up outside. They can do it. Just look at the Junior Master Chef shows on TV, my goodness, those ten-year-olds are cooking like superb chefs. They can only learn that by doing, from instruction, by being allowed. Children can be so very clever. Honestly, who would have thought a ten-year-old can make a Welsh pie or Pavlova the way these kids can? It’s amazing. Just shows if they can do that sort of complicated thing, they sure can pack away toys, pick up their wet towels, fold their clothes and place them into the drawer, put stuff on or off the table, and help mix, cut, and prepare things in the kitchen. Let them try.

 

Raise the bar, and you will be surprised how well they can rise to the challenge. Set the bar low, then it is low you will receive, set the bar higher and higher is what they should strive towards.

And think about the older eight-year sibling in third world countries, raising their younger siblings, comforting them, collecting food and water, preparing meals. Scary thought in our world, but they do all this because they have to and because they can.

 

Children, therefore, can start looking after their belongings and doing basic little jobs from two years. The older they are, the more competent they become. Allow and expect them to, and they will.

 

So many parents complain because their child will not do anything or help out at home. If you encourage and show your child these jobs from the start, it will become a matter of course in their day, an expected behaviour like brushing their teeth. While it can be tricky to have them start from the age of eight to ten, it can certainly be managed and mainly by exchanging their required jobs for their sport or friends visits. Start, therefore, as young as you can and as soon as you can. Teach them how to do things properly, and they can learn this fast. If they object, then take something they want away; whatever they may want that you provide them. It may be a cooked meal so dish up perhaps a raw vegetable meal because you couldn’t be bothered actually cooking it. They will not like a raw meal as much as you do not like them refusing to do their required tasks. A compromise can be then be reached. I will when you will. Just like rewards, they work very well.

 

If your child starts to go to the big toilet you give them a stamp, no wee, no stamp. Is this not exactly the same?; yes it is. They need to do something in order to get something. We all do. If I did not want to go to work, I would not get paid. If I refused to do my assignment, I would not pass. If I didn’t pack away my toys, Mum would take them away from me. If I refused to do my jobs, I would not receive a nice hot dinner. For littler children, even keeping the bubbles or toys out of the bath for one night can give them the message.

Never, however, take away or remove your love, kisses, or cuddles. These are as unconditional as your love to them. Just because their behaviour may be difficult they remain the same gorgeous child as always.

The child is not the behavior; the behavior is the behavior.

 

Enable your child to become independent and self-reliant. They will be that way forever. They will be independent at school, at their friends place, at sport training, and everywhere. Your child will learn to rely on themselves through your guidance and opportunity.