N.F. asks from Albuquerque, NM on October 09, 2008
What "Chores" for a 3-Year-old
I have a brand new baby boy and a 3 year old boy. After these first 3 weeks, I have decided that my toddler needs a chart of some kind to help him visualize what is expected of him (especially in the mornings before Montessori school). What kinds of "chores" can you expect of a 3 or 4 year old with out asking too much. What punishment is appropriate if the task isn't followed through?
My little guy is more and more independent, especially with the things he learns at Montessori school. He is able to dress himself, feed himself (although he often eats lots more if I help), and follow through with a fairly complicated task, but I find myself frustrated by asking three or more times to do each part of the morning ritual. The routine is the same every day, so it should be predictable. Time out works, and slowly counting to 3 works, but if I have to threaten for each thing it loses emphasis, right? One thing we started a few weeks ago: if he cooperates while getting dressed in the morning he is allowed to chew sugarless gum on the way to school. The thought of NO GUM works to get him dressed most days.
Any thoughts or ideas about how to get a toddler fed, dressed, and ready to go to school with a lunch prepared in his lunch box all the while nursing a new-born...
S.O. answers from San Antonio on October 10, 2008
Have him do as much as he can with you the night before. Make his lunch, lay out his clothes, etc. Rushing around in the mornings isn't fun or easy for most - especially 3 year olds. You could make it a special time for the 2 of you without the baby's interference.
T.B. answers from Killeen on October 10, 2008
We use the reward system it sounds so simple I make a chart with the little star stickers you can get them in walmart I make a chart with the kids name on it each time they do something the first time they are asked to they get a gold star, second time it is a silver star, third time a different color and at the end of the week depending on the amount of stars for example if my two year old has all gold at the end of the week it is a toy at walmart he gets to pick out for the older kids it is cash. If he gets a few silver and gold he gets extra tv time. I also let him put the stars on. I t will take a few days for him to remeber the rewards chart but it does work it also teaches them their actions have consequences. Trust me it works.
D. answers from Houston on October 09, 2008
This would be a great topic to bring up to your child's classroom guide. Most Montessori schools will have parent education opportunities or Montessori books that will help you be consistent with what happens at school.
My first thought is instead of focusing on "punishment" I would let the child experience the natural consequences of his actions. For example, if he doesn't eat his breakfast he goes to school hungry. If he doesn't get dressed, he goes to school in his pj's. Most good Montessori schools will support you in allowing the child to "suffer" the consequences of their choices. Just communicate with the guide as to what is going on.
I would also give him subtle rewards for doing things well. A passing comment like, wow, what a big boy...you ate all your breakfast, now you'll grow so strong & run really fast...cool.
1 mom found this helpful
L.B. answers from Corpus Christi on October 10, 2008
There are a lot of things that can be bought in large amounts at the store. Have him help pick them out for his lunches. Then every morning have him help pack his own lunch out of the things that he pick out for his lunch. He will need to remember that he will need to have something different everyday. There must be a fruit, or vegetable, etc. in the lunch everyday. This can both be a learning and a teaching thing. and you can turn it into a chore for the morning when he is dressed. See of this works. There can also be a special treat in the lunch everyday as long as he packs his own lunch, and gets ready to go on time. Good luck.
S.C. answers from Houston on October 10, 2008
You've had similar resposes so I will keep it short...
My 2.5 yr old unloads the dishwasher of his plates/cups and does the silverware (great pre math..sorting) He also brings me the garbage cans from around the house- and returns them when I empty them. He does the top sheet and blanket on his bed and brings me the dirty laundry or puts it in the basket.
I love to see the look in his eyes as he is learning responsibility and then I give him a few pennies for doing his job. As he grows I will make a chart so he can connect it and be more "in charge".
D.M. answers from Houston on October 10, 2008
My son who will be 4 in Nov. feeds/waters the cats and lets them in & out the door when they ask (while he's up anyway). He also helps with separating and washing the laundry, though by his choice, not my request. We ask him to keep his clothes picked up and in the hamper and his toys put away each night. He does dress himself and has for a while (since he was about 2), but I understand this is not "typical" for his age. He has always been very independent and loves to help.
He knows he is supposed to do these things, but we do still have to remind him to check if the cats need food each night (and that the bowl has to be FULL- my female is a pessimist in that if it's not overflowing, she may starve!). Each time we remind him, he says, "Oh, yeah! I forgot!" and happily goes about completing his tasks. I think at this age they are still too engrossed in the NOW and not remembering each task to complete each day.
If he argues about doing something, then he doesn't get to watch his daily dose of "Speed Racer." He's addicted to the old cartoons that my husband downloads. He's allowed to watch one episode each night after dinner, before bathtime if he takes care of the cats and eats with no fight. He's gotten used to the routine and we hardly have to say no to Speed Racer any more.
B. answers from Houston on October 09, 2008
We made a chore chart for our 3 and 2 year old a few months ago. They don't recieve discipline for not doing the chore except the occasional time out if I had asked them to do it several times and they weren't trying at all. It's a basic chart that includes making their bed, feeding the dogs (they help me do it), clean their room (after nap), brush teeth, and pick up toys (downstairs, the ones not in their room). They both love putting their stickers on it after the complete a task. We give the two year old a little more grace when it comes to getting a sticker because she's still young but she loves to help her sister do everything. At the bottom of the chart I put a box that says, "This week I will learn". I write in a new vocabulary word for them every week and another goal to work towards. If they do anything really well they get to put a sticker in the box but we only try to do that about once weekly. That way they have short term goals daily and a long term weekly goal.
We don't really give any rewards for their stickers, right now the stickers are more than enough for them. They love to show off their chore chart when people come over and are very proud of their accomplishments.
If you want to see a copy of the chart, you can message me and I'll send you one through your email.
M.Z. answers from Austin on October 10, 2008
my 3 year old had at least 5 chores. making her own bed, picking up her own toys, feeding her rat, taking out the trash (we have small cans), and wiping down the tables in the house (she loves to do this). shes 4 now but has been doing all of these for about a year and a half. and i just recently got all plastic dishes so she can help dry the dishes without dropping them on the floor.
M.K. answers from Houston on October 10, 2008
I use a thing I call the good bead(good deed) system. For every chore or task done well and without complaint, my boys(4,3,2) put 5 beads in a jar. If they complain or don't do a task their best they put less beads in. Saturday is our reward day and if the jar is full then we get to do something fun. Go to the playground, have a pick nick, go out for icecream...what ever you like doing. They can see all the good they are doing as the jar fills. These are the chores I have them do: make their beds, pick up the floor(so I can vacuum), sort, fold, and put away their laundry(on washing day), put away their toys, clear their plates from the table, wipe the table, and also the youngest puts away the silverware. Yes, this does sound like a lot, but they can do it and it helps me and them. They learn that families work together, and chores reinforce visual, motor, and auditory skills that are very important. Now we do have bad days where thing don't always go smoothly, but for the most part everything gets done.
K.P. answers from Houston on October 10, 2008
You got alot of good advice. The chart idea is great (you may want to use pictures instead of words unless he can read already), allowing him to put stickers on as he completes a task. Personally, I would start with the stickers being the reward as long as that will work. I would not punish him. I like the one response that mentions natural consequences. If his school goes along with it great. Just remember, kids need structure and positive reinforcement (along with the word "no" sometimes). If you're positive about the chart and his good work, he will be too. They will test the limits as he's doing now but as long as you stay consistent and calm he should come around. As far as chores, you got alot of good advice on that, too. Good luck.