#10 - Are you an overprotective parent?
As we are at the 10th edition of this newsletter (Yay!), I would like to thank all of you who have contributed to this newsletter in some way or the other: commenting, liking or simply subscribing to this newsletter. Every simple action of yours means a lot to me!
Let me get straight into the inspiration for this week’s edition. There are two of them:
Last week’s post on the Zone of Proximal Development (a key framework behind cognitive growth & how adults need to plan for transitions of tasks taken up by children). This week, let’s see how we could put this framework into action!
The viral video of a five-year-old making rotis (a version of the Indian bread for the overseas audiences) independently and the corresponding chain of comments that were made in awe of this young chap.
But what about the positive comments on this young boy, you may ask? As someone who never helped my parents in household chores during my childhood, I too was in awe of the child when I first saw the video. It simply seemed like a miracle. Though I take no credit away from the boy and his parents, I must confess that this was but an age-appropriate act. That’s all. Not the kind of task that should make the parents around the world go crazy about. On the contrary, if you think such parents are being irresponsible, then this post is a must-read for you!
It is understandable that adults and caregivers may consider this whole process of engaging children in household chores to be risky, irrelevant or even unproductive. But I urge to internalise and reflect the contents of this post! Please read on.
Least fancy, most powerful
If one of your goals as a parent is to inculcate life skills in children, look no further beyond household chores. It may not look fancy, but it is NECESSARY!
The key benefits for children being involved in such chores include:
Giving them a sense of ownership, pride and accomplishment.
Instilling a sense of responsibility right from early childhood.
Respecting their position in the household as a key family member.
Teaching them early numeracy and literacy skills, as they engage in sorting, problem-solving, counting and logical reasoning.
Building a routine and discipline into their daily lives.
Exposing them to numerous areas of running a household.
Exposing them to positive stress (more about stress in the coming posts). THIS IS SO VERY IMPORTANT.
You can involve children as young as 14 months old in household chores!
Where the Zone of Proximal Development comes into the picture
The answer is straightforward. Caregivers need to choose an “age-appropriate” task the child can perform. The child needs to find it just about challenging but doable with little or no supervision from the adult.
If children find the task too easy, they might lose interest (or even over-estimate their capabilities). On the other hand, they might get frustrated if they find the task to be too difficult. The task needs to be in the yellow zone (the Zone of Proximal Development! ) Remember the traffic lights analogy in the previous post?
The one resource you need
Yes, this one single article can give you so many ideas! It is a comprehensive list of age-appropriate chores for your toddler—from 14 months to 5 years old!
This edition will end on a crisp note.
Do not be overprotective; engage your children in appropriate chores, so that they can bloom into functionally independent adults in the future! Let the investment begin!
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Picture courtesy: Freepik