Tiny Tasks Yield Outstanding Outcomes

— Written By

Image of girl cooking

If one hears the question, “How may I help you?” they might be reminded of customer service or retail employee. For me, I am reminded of my childhood self, offering assistance to my dad. I adored being “daddy’s helper” and having a hand in all of his projects. As an adult, I can now distinctly see how being a helper in my household helped me learn valuable skills and prepared me for adulthood.

When children are given important and interesting roles within the household, the positive outcomes are abounding. These “roles” are more than routine chores such as a child cleaning their room, doing the dishes, or sweeping. Rather, it is finding ways to include your child on tasks you would traditionally do alone. This may include kitchen skills, financial management, phone skills, or grocery shopping. By doing this, children will gain autonomy, life skills, and resilience which will help them later on in life.

The process of finding ways to incorporate your kids into everyday activities can be time-consuming and frustrating. Here are a few steps to help you get started:

  1. Plan ahead. What is on your to-do list for today?

Begin by establishing the habit of creating a daily to-do list. Start with five things you need to do throughout the day. Remember that enlisting the help of your child will probably draw out the length each task will take. Budget your time accordingly and practice patience.

  1. Give them an appropriate role.

Go through each item in your to-do list and find a way to give your child a task. Ask yourself the following questions: Am I teaching a certain skill? Will my child feel important holding this role? Is this task age appropriate? Will my workload be eased by my child learning this skill?

  1. “Learn by doing.”

The 4-H slogan is “learn by doing.” We believe in the power of youth being fully engaged with hands-on activities when learning a new skill. Therefore, model a skill and then use phrases such as “try this” to engage and teach kids within the home.

  1. Make sure they see the fruits of their labor.

Did your child help you bake a cake? Post it on social media giving them credit. Remember to use positive reinforcement to reward kids when they learn and utilize these skills. Show your child that you are proud of them so that they can also take pride in their abilities.

  1. Turn them loose.

After learning their newly developed skill, have the youth independently practice the skill again in the near future. Before you know it, your child will be able to complete a variety of tasks that will give them empowerment and lighten your load.

By learning a variety of skills that can be applied within the home, children begin to see themselves as not merely a member, but an active contributor towards the family. The Stanly County 4-H Program will be launching a new club in January geared towards 13 through 18-year-old youth interested in learning skills in family and consumer sciences. To enroll in this club or find more information, please contact 4-H Agent Kacie Hatley.

Email: kacie_hatley@ncsu.edu

Work: (704) 983-3987