Preschool years (3 plus to 5 plus years)
The child is:
- Eager to show what he can do and expects his mother to join in his excitement of his accomplishments.
- He can be bossy and always wants to be in charge.
- He is independent in his self care.
- He wants to be liked and can be both, demanding and eagerly cooperative.
- He understands about everyday things such as food, money, appliances and concept of time.
- He views everything as his.
- He likes movement and can count to 10 or more, name at least 4 colors, has a vocabulary of about a 1,000 words and, can speak in 4 to 5 word sentences.
- He can now follow 2 to 3 part instructions, e.g. “pick up this doll and put it away in your room”. Or, “ put away these shoes in the closet and put the lunch box in the sink”.
Ask your child:
- Ask your child to set the dining table, carrying items which are safe for him to handle and carry.
- To help with meal preparations by fetching things, shelling pees, putting in vegetables and dressing in a bowl and mixing the salad.
- Under your supervision, to sort clothes into different piles for each family member. An adult can fold them later.
- To help you shop for groceries and after coming home, seek his help in putting them away.
- To hand you washed clothes to be hung out to dry.
- To arrange a table top neatly but which does not have a lot of clutter.
- To water the potted plants, using child friendly implements.
Preschool years (4 plus to 5 plus years)
All the characteristics mentioned for the previous year apply here too, at an advanced level. A few additional ones are mentioned below.
- Knows right from wrong.
- Wants to conform.
- Seeks praise from adults.
- Grasps a pencil like adults.
- Speaks fluently and uses correct tense.
In addition to tasks mentioned in the previous level, are applicable here but at an advanced level.
In addition your child:
- Can arrange toys side by side in a seriated way.
- He can also segregate soft, plastic toys and put them away in different bins.
- He can pick up and put away smaller and thinner items such as pencils and crayons in their boxes or designated containers.
Guideline for mothers
To help you to facilitate the conduct of household tasks for children, following is an outline for your benefit.
- First choose a task that your child will like doing.
- Present yourself as a model to the child, so that he will imitate those behaviors from you, which you want from him.
- Value the contributions from your child.
- Give age appropriate tasks which are not too hard to make them frustrating, nor too easy to make them boring.
- Verbalize each task and skills therein. This word and task association helps him learn best through more than one sense.
- Give simpler tasks first, then proceed to advanced ones. You may give him only one new task at a time, as your child will not be able to simultaneously on two new tasks. So, wait till he is ready to undertake the second new task.
- Give your child enough time to practice till he has finally mastered it. But, in the meantime, do keep on demonstrating, being patient, and providing encouragement and supervision.
- It is important to give tasks to your older child, reflecting caring for the family as a whole.eg helping in laying the dining table for meals.
- Sometimes, you can conduct a family meeting and to promote your child’s self-esteem by appreciating his contribution, and to discuss about rights and duties, keeping to a routine and keeping the house clutter free.
- Last but not the least; you can make some special arrangements in your child’s room, to get him into the habit of keeping things in their proper place.
Some examples are:
- Making clothes hooks where your child can hang his clothes for daily use.
- Keeping bins at strategic places to classify different toys.
- Keeping a separate bin for older children to drop in used clothing of the day.