Category: Adult, NonFiction - Parenting
Format: Softcover, 198 pages
SkoMomma's Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Children Who Do to Little by Patricia Sprinkle is an eye-opening look into the role of children within the family unit. In this short but powerful book, Sprinkle details the recent trend where children aren't asked or expected to do much in terms of household tasks or chores like cleaning, laundry, dishes, cooking, and the like. The book is organized into three sections. The first explains the reasons why children should be involved, the second details the reasons why children aren't involved, and the last section - the longest - gives tips on how to get children involved.
The book was initially published in 1993, one interesting consideration is that nearly 20 years later, not only is the book still relevant, it may be even more relevant. My husband and I have struggled recently with our 8 year old who protests helping out in with even the simplest tasks. We ask, cajole, and demand only to get digruntled, half-hearted response. Where did we go wrong my husband and I wonder? Are we expecting too much of our eight year old? This book provided some answers. To be totally honest, I felt ill reading the first section. It is not too much to expect that children participate in keeping house. It is a necessity for our children to be successful in life. Every child should learn the life skills that are necessary for keeping a household running efficiently. Beyond the practical aspect children learn the benefits of teamwork and responsibility.
Often we come up with reasons why children shouldn't be involved - it's easier to do it yourself, children are too overscheduled, time is short, so on and so forth. But it is a critical responsibility for parents to take the time to teach and expect their children to work around the house.
The third section focuses on how to get your child involved. Chapter seven details lists of tasks by age that children should be responsible for. Imagine my surprise when I found that my 8 year old does few if any of these items on a regular basis. For us, the first step will be teaching our daughter to do more things. The second, and somewhat vexing step is enforcing the regular completion of these tasks. The book talks about different methods for doing this focusing primarily on a positives and negatives of monetary/allowance system. We started using a chore-chart where each task is worth $0.10/ea. What we quickly discovered, less than a week into the process is that at her age and because of the lifestyle we've provided as parents, a monetary system is completely ineffective. The book explains that while monetary systems do have the advantage of teaching children about money, that it can also teach children that they should expect a reward or payment for doing everything.
For sure this is a great resource for all parents. I know that I will be referring to it often as we work through this season with our children and striving to teach them to by happy and productive members of our family.
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