How old Does My Child Have to be to….

It’s the end of the day and it seems like every toy, crayon, playdough container and puzzle piece is left splattered on the floor. You look around and sigh deeply with feelings of frustration, exhaustion and annoyance.

“Why do I always have to clean up after everyone? Why is it my responsibility?”

I’m feeling all of you right now. I’m a mom myself and understand the feelings of needing to do everything for everyone else. Sometimes left wondering why I was the nominated member of the family to do, what feels like, everything. Wishing I had been at the nomination meeting so I could have raised my hand to nominate someone else in the family to do all of theses tasks. But, here’s the deal, as parents, and mothers, we do have some tasks that are just under the ‘invisible nomination category.’ We just do them because that’s what parents do. But, on the other hand, there are many tasks you do that you don’t have to be doing. Based on how old your child is, there are jobs they should be doing instead of you!

Cheering wild, jumping up and down and screaming with gratitude!!!!

mom dancing with joy that her kids are cleaning up

How old does my child have to be to do certain tasks?

Clients are often asking me, “Can my child do x, y or z?” My answer is always the same and it’s going to be the same for you as well. So listen closely…YOUR CHILD CAN DO!!! All kids are capable, extremely capable. Often times as parents we don’t realize just how capable they are. We end up doing things for our kids, that they can are capable of doing alone. When we do this, we send signals to our kids that directly reflect their self-confidence in a negative way. You 100% need to give your kids tasks and jobs! To help drill this home, let’s break it down into 3 parts:

  1. Expectations are necessary
  2. Your child’s confidence relies on expectations
  3. Teach, train and role model

Kids need expectations

Without expectations, it’s as if your kids are running around with buckets on their heads. They are lost in the dark trying to figure out what it is you need and want them to do. As parents, it’s your job to be your child’s guide. In order to do this, you must create structure, consistency and have Clear, Concrete and Consistent boundaries (3C’s Boundaries). When expectations aren’t clear your kids are left searching for them. Remember, each child is born with two predetermined jobs; to please you and push boundaries until boundaries are found. If you don’t set boundaries and expectations, then you’re asking your child to keep pushing and pushing the limits.

Exhausting right? I need more strategies to help me navigate parenthood. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it! 

My child’s confidence relies on expectations

Your kids are capable of more than you often give them credit for. Whether life is just to busy to take time to find out whether or not your child can do a particular task or maybe it’s just faster and easier if you do it for them. Each time you do a task for your child that they are capable of doing or can almost do on their own, you send a message to them. You signal to them that you can do it better or faster. That you don’t have time for them to try because it’s not going to be successful or it’s a waste of time. Or you feel you don’t have time for them and just need to move on quickly.

Power buckets start to deplete

Either way, this affects your child’s confidence and begins to slowly empty their power buckets. This is where you begin to see more negative behaviors. In order to help your child build confidence and a strong self worth, it’s pertinent that YOU give them opportunities to do and learn new tasks. (Find out how my #1 tool can help fill power and attention buckets in just 10 minutes to help your child feel and do better).

How old does my child have to be to do…

Start small and work your way up! Kids who are as young as two and three years are capable of doing things to help out. Some of these jobs might be:

  • Tidying up their toys
  • Putting clothes in the hamper
  • Cleaning up bath toys before they get out
  • Putting dishes at the counter
  • Tearing the lettuce for a salad
  • Helping to empty the dishwasher by putting all the plastic dishes into a low drawer they can reach

As your child grows, so do your expectations. Younger kids and school aged kids are capable of soooo much! For example:

  • Getting ready for school independently
  • Making their bed
  • Cleaning up toys,
  • Using a safe knife to help cut and prep meals
  • Writing grocery lists
  • Helping in the garden
  • Taking the garbage out
  • Vacuum
  • Dust

So, what I’m saying here, is that your kids can, need and want to help out. They need these expectations to fill their power buckets and build confidence. Help your child feel their best and make your life easier by sitting down and really thinking about what you want your kids to do. Then you must and I mean you absolutely must teach, train and role model what you want them to do.

Teach, train and role model

Everything you want your kids to do needs to be taught. Think of your kids as coming from a foreign country and they don’t speak your language. You wouldn’t just quickly ramble of a list of to do’s, rather you would need to slow down, take it one step at a time, show them, role model and teach. This is what you need to do with your kids each time you are teaching them a new expectations. Yes, this takes time. Yes, this might not be what you want to do. But, once you do this upfront, you will be saving yourself time, energy and frustration as your kids independently help out. Your workload will lesson and your child’s confidence will grow. I mean seriously, who doesn’t want both of those things?  I know I do!

Help your child build confidence by giving them more to do

I want you to take a minute today to think about your day. Write down where you feel your child could help out based on their age and stage. Also take note of what you might currently be doing for them that they can do on their own. These are the places you might need to front load and teach so you’re able to pass the task onto your kids.

If you’re wondering how old does my child have to be to do x, y or z…ASK. Reply to this email and I will help you! That’s why I’m here. I want to help you in any way I can, so reach out and let me help make parenting easier and free of regrets and guilt! Don’t keep living each day in frustration – let’s get you to the point where you look forward to each day with your kids (even in covid quarantine)!

PS. Please share and forward this email to any parents you feel could use some extra love during this difficult time!

PSS. Don’t forget to check out my Private Facebook group just for parents with kids aged 0-12! Simple Parenting Solutions Private Facebook Group


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