My little boy is 2 and a half years old, and he loves to be helpful around the house. I find that every time he gets bored if I try to involve him in the household work he calms down and is willing to take part. Now he also loves to help me in the kitchen but most of the time is it can get crazy messy as he is quite particular about what tasks he is willing to do…

For children at this age, things like loading up the washing machine, emptying the dishwasher, tidying up toys, can be great as it teaches them to be responsible and contribute towards keeping the house clean. This is something that you will want to encourage for later down the road when they can vacuum the entire house and keep their room tidy!

I believe rewards charts are an excellent way to promote good behaviour and avoid tantrums in many cases. I think it motivates the children to finish the task and feel proud of what they achieved.

In our case, we set up a couple of chores that he needs to do, and he may get a sticker for outstanding behaviour.

In the same time, I don’t believe in relying only on incentives and rewards fo him to complete the task because that can easily backfire.  Rewarding children with food is another area that we stay far away from as it quickly merges in ill behaviour around meal times.

Here are some steps that we took when we set up this system:

  1. I figured out what behaviour I want to encourage – I explained to him that if he will keep playing with his toys alone until mummy will finish cooking he will get a sticker.
  2. I let him choose the sticker that he wants and add it to the chart by himself- this made him feel in control.
  3. I explained him again why he receives this sticker and why mummy is proud of him
  4. I stay positive if he doesn’t accomplish the task and doesn’t get the sticker – I wouldn’t remind him why he wouldn’t get the sticker constantly to create drama. Try not loose focus, just encourage the child to try again; tomorrow is a new day,
  5. I gradually move away from the reward chart – even if he is only 2 and a half, I don’t want him to depend on the stickers fully every time he washes hands or tidies up his toys which should just be a normal compulsory task. We try to make the stickers something special, but also I would not recommend stopping the system suddenly as this can send them back to old behaviours.

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Find the download at the end of the post. You can also use the reward chart for specific “problems” that your child might have such as for potty training, brushing teeth or whatever he finds particularly challenging.

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