It is a beautiful fall morning in central Illinois, and as I was walking early this morning, I noticed a couple of kids who made me smile. I was thinking back over the parent talk I gave last week, and the teacher training I did over the weekend. In both settings, I talked about how important it is for each of us to feel a sense of belonging and importance. Without these two, it is hard to stay encouraged day to day. One of the ways I know to create this feeling with kids is to give them important jobs to do. Sharing in the family work of the household, and the responsibilities of the classroom and school, are important ways for kids to develop a sense of “I’m capable and I contribute in meaningful ways.”
So, the first example I saw was a girl probably about 5 and a boy maybe 7. They were in the driveway collecting the empty trash cans. The boy had an especially creative way of doing this chore – it’s great that kids can have fun doing almost anything! He had his skateboard and proceeded to scoot himself along on it as he took a can in both hands and returned them to the garage. The little girl watched as she dragged the remaining can back to its place.
The next example was a young girl, maybe 10 years old. She was in her garage with her dog. The dog food sack was open by his bowl and she was attaching his leash when I walked by. Soon, I heard them come up behind me – they were both running down the street. It surprised me – I imagined her taking him for a walk, but clearly they were both happier running!
Both of these examples took place before school. It reminded me of the things people often say – about how busy their lives are and how hard it is to squeeze everything in that they need to do. These kids were up in time to do a chore or two before school. I wonder how these small things impacted their day today…
Get kids involved at home and at school. Allow them to help you and share the load of household and classroom responsibilities! Share appreciation for their help! You’ll be glad you did!