10 Chores Preschoolers Can Do

choresThe following guest post on chores for preschoolers is courtesy of Maria Wells, www.housekeeping.org

Between the ages of three and five children are eager to help out with household chores. Being tasked with chores actually helps children to feel that they are a necessary part of the family, boosts self-esteem, and leaves them feeling more competent and capable than they would if they were not expected to perform any household duties. Establishing a chores routine at a young age also helps parents avoid the mutiny that is sure to accompany a chores regimen instituted when kids are older and less enthusiastic about helping.

In the interest of helping your children establish and maintain good habits in relation to work and helping others, here are ten chores that even preschoolers can do:

  1. Making Their Own Bed – Between the ages of three and five, kids aren’t likely to be the best bed-makers in the world, but they can certainly get the job done. Remember, the object of asking them to make their own bed is to establish the habit and ensure that it becomes part of their daily chores routine. When kids get older and their coordination improves, parents can offer instructions for how to do the job perfectly.
  2. Cleaning Up Their Rooms – Your child’s bedroom is her own space, so she should be as responsible as possible for ensuring that it’s maintained. During the preschool years she should be able to put her own toys away, place books back on a low bookshelf, and ensure that any cups or dishes are returned to the kitchen.
  3. Helping to Fold Laundry – Folding socks and t-shirts are simple enough tasks for a preschooler, though they aren’t likely to fold shirts like a retail pro would. As long as items aren’t wadded up and wrinkled, preschoolers should be encouraged to help their parents with the folding of simple laundry items. Towels are an ideal choice for practice, as they have no irregular edges.
  4. Putting Away Their Own Laundry – Clothing items that require hanging should probably still be handled by the taller members of the family, but a preschooler is more than capable of putting her own folded clothing in the appropriate drawer.
  5. Helping to Set the Table – Unbreakable dishes can be entrusted to a preschooler in order for them to set the table, though glasses and china for the adults might be safer in older, steadier hands. Helping to set the table for a family meal helps kids learn the practical skill of setting a table, but also allows them to feel like an integral part of the family meal ritual.
  6. Putting Dishes in the Dishwasher – Preschool-aged kids are able to carry their own dishes from the table, clear them, and put them in the dishwasher. Because dishwasher doors can be a bit heavy and unwieldy for little hands, adults should help by opening the door for them.
  7. Sweeping or Using a Handheld Vacuum Cleaner – Small, kid-sized brooms and dustpans can be found in most department stores and toy stores; with these tools, your preschooler will be able to help you sweep the floor much more easily than she could with a heavy, too-long adult model. Additionally, kids at this age can also usually manage a small, hand-held vacuum cleaner to clean up crumbs.
  8. Checking the Mail – Making a daily trip to the mailbox part of your preschooler’s routine is likely to be his favorite task of the day. However, it’s imperative that parents accompany young children, especially if there’s any danger at all of a child stepping into the street while attempting to access the mailbox. Checking the mail should be a chore that you perform together to ensure your little one’s safety.
  9. Watering Plants – A small watering can that your child is capable of managing creates the opportunity for her to help out with the watering of plants. At the older end of the preschool spectrum, it might be a good idea to introduce a small potted plant that is hers specifically. Remembering to water the plant regularly is essential to its survival, which helps kids understand the responsibility and care of living things that are dependent upon others for their survival.
  10. Caring for Family Pets – By the time your child is a preschooler, she should be able to feed and water the family dog or cat; feeding an exotic pet, like a snake, is almost certainly more than she can handle. Provided that you have a more traditional pet, however, your preschooler is more than capable of ensuring that it has food and water.

Kids at this age will still require supervision and the occasional assistance from an adult when doing chores, though it’s important for adults to wait until a child has asked before lending a hand.

Rather than swooping in and taking over, which leaves kids feeling as if they have failed and are incompetent, you should only help enough to make it possible for your child to continue and complete the task successfully.

Preparing Your First Born: Bringing Home Baby

bornYou have exciting news! You are growing your family from three members to four. It’s an exhilarating and busy time preparing for your next little one. One thing that parents worry about is how the first born will react to a second child, have no fear the 5 ways to prepare are here!

Start early preparing them early: It doesn’t matter the age of your first born when it comes time to telling them a second child is on the way, it’s going to be difficult. First things first, once you have the okay from your doctor to make the announcement public, tell your child. Sit down with your first born and share the news by telling them that they are going to be a big brother or sister. Remain positive and excited, your child will sense any uneasiness if you have any.

Encourage participation: During your pregnancy have your first born participate in helping and planning for the new babies arrival. Ask them to help pick out baby names or find things for the baby’s room. You want to make your first child feel like they are going to be important in their sibling’s life, so give them ‘responsibilities’.

Always remind: Throughout the pregnancy give gentle reminders of the baby’s arrival and what that means at home. They need to understand that things will be different but okay. Talk about the baby a lot, the more you do, the more they will be prepared.

Bring around other children: You may have some relatives or close friends with other small children; work with them in preparing your first born. Schedule many play dates or long visits. Allow your first born to help ‘hold’ the baby, play and learn things about the baby. It is a difficult concept for a child to comprehend, the more they are around a baby, they will understand.

Make the time: Once your second child arrives, no matter how difficult or tired you may be, be sure that you make time for your first born. You want an easy and smooth transition into your time sharing. Schedule daily one-on-one’s with your first born, this will help them feel loved and not replaced.

This is an exciting and scary time for your family! You are growing and that means a lot more diapers, toys, tears, hugs and kisses. As long as you remain positive and understanding with your first born your family should have no problem when your second arrives. Congratulations!

Author Bio:

Amanda Carlson, a blogger as well as a former newborn care nurse contributed this post. To stay connected to her previous career and share the knowledge she gained, she began writing for www.newborncare.com. You can reach her at amanda.newborncare @ gmail.com.

 

Affordable Health Care Act, Women and Families

Health Care and womenMost of us are not sure what the Affordable Health Care Act means for women and families.

The following is a summary  about what this law means for us. It is from HealthCare.gov.

  • Insurance Companies Can’t Deny Coverage to Women. Before the Affordable Care Act became law, insurance companies selling individual policies could deny coverage to women due to pre-existing conditions, such as cancer and having been pregnant. Under the law, insurance companies are already banned from denying coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition. In 2014, it will be illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against anyone with a pre-existing condition.
  • Women Have a Choice of Doctor. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, all Americans joining new insurance plans have the freedom to choose from any primary care provider, OB-GYN, or pediatrician in their health plan’s network, or emergency care outside of the plan’s network, without a referral.

  • Women Pay Lower Health Care Costs. Before the law, women could be charged more for individual insurance policies simply because of their gender. A 22-year-old woman could be charged 150% the premium that a 22-year-old man paid. In 2014, insurers will not be able to charge women higher premiums than they charge men. The law takes strong action to control health care costs, including helping states crack down on excessive premium increases and making sure most of your premium dollars go for your health care.

The following is a summary  about what this law means for your family and extended family. This summary also comes from HealthCare.gov.

  • Delivering New Coverage Options for Americans with Pre-existing Conditions. Health plans that cover children can no longer exclude, limit or deny coverage to your child (under age 19) based on a pre-existing condition. In addition, the law created a new program called the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) to help provide coverage for uninsured people with pre-existing conditions until new insurance market rules that prohibit discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition go into effect in 2014.
  • Providing Consumers with New Rights and Protections: The Patient’s Bill of Rights. The Affordable Care Act frees Americans from worrying about losing their insurance, or having it capped unexpectedly if someone is in an accident or becomes sick, giving you greater control over your health insurance and care. It also places tough restrictions on health insurance companies to make them more accountable to you.
  • Requiring Plans to Cover Preventive Services Without Out-of-Pocket Costs. The law requires new health plans to cover recommended preventive services, including vaccinations, cost-free. Regular well-baby and well-child visits are also covered from birth through age 21. These services do not require a copay or co-insurance when offered by providers in your insurer’s network. See a list of preventive services for women and children. (Preventive services benefits apply if you’re in a new health plan that was created after March 23, 2010.)

  • Allowing Children Under 26 to Stay on Their Parents’ Plan. If your plan covers children, you can now add or keep your children on your health insurance policy until they turn 26 (except, in some cases, when your child’s employer offers health coverage). It doesn’t matter whether your child is married, living with you, in school, or financially dependent on you.
  • Help for Family Members on Medicare. If your parents or other loved ones are on Medicare, it’s good to know the Affordable Care Act protects current benefits, strengthens Medicare for the future, and offers new benefits that will help cut costs. The gap in drug coverage known as the “donut hole” is being closed, reducing seniors’ out-of-pocket costs. In addition, people on Medicare may receive recommended preventive care like mammograms and colonoscopies for free.

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