Dear Oak Grove family !

The topic for this month is Responsibility. Perhaps as much as any skill, parents hope for children to be responsible and as with many characteristics, the foundations begin in early childhood. So let us take a look at some things we can do even with very young children to help develop responsibility.

Start with choosing one or two age appropriate tasks. Even very young children like to “help” put things away. After starting to put things away, have your child put one thing away. “Put your shoes in the box” for example, instead of “clean your room”. Have your child watch you and praise attempts to do the same things that you are doing. Do not expect a very young child to follow multiple or complex steps.

Be a good role model with your own belongings. The car keys go in a box or on a hook, shoes go by the door, coats are hung up, the table is cleared after use.

Begin the habit of work first, then play. Put your toys away then we will read a story. Or put the puzzle away, then we can paint.

Make doing chores fun. Play music and dance while putting things away ! Sing a special song every time you start to do a certain task.

Establish a routine. Dirty clothes go into a hamper before the bath. Rituals before and during routines help cue your child as to what comes next.

Be positive. Praise and encourage approximations. Be specific. “Putting your shoes away really helped me today !” Plan for lapses or “oopsies”. Praise the attempt and not so much the result. Do not criticize or it will squelch your child’s desire to please and be responsible.

Then slowly, as your child matures you can encourage more complex “helping” and responsibility that is appropriate for their age.

Happy Spring !

Sherry Jordan