The Importance of Expectations…

It’s the start of a new school year and we are all in the throes of new schedules and transitions and even new expectations. At Bernie’s children have various age-appropriate expectations throughout their day and are encouraged by teachers to challenge themselves. Even the youngest at Bernie’s is expected to help clean up toys, wash their hands and help take off or put on their clothing to the degree that they are able to. At Bernie’s there are also expectations for behavior; for example we model how to ask for things politely, how to share toys and how to treat our peers.

The key to expectations is understanding where children are developmentally, choosing a task that is within their capabilities and letting or encouraging them to do it. Catching children at an early age when they are interested and willing to help will build the foundation for future responsibilities. Below are a few age appropriate things that children can help with.

To some, chores may seem like punishment; however setting a reasonable, age-appropriate level of expectation for children helps them build self-esteem and teaches responsibility. With parental support they will begin to feel confident that they can complete the skill on their own and soon they will be proud to show that they can do it all by themselves. Trust that children are capable and they will amaze you.

Ages 9-12 months

Put away toys.
Turn off lights.
Dry hands with towel.
Get their dishes out for mealtime {with help}.

Ages 1-2

All of the above…
Use manners (i.e. please, thank you, excuse me, sorry).
Help with bedroom chores (making bed, clothes in hamper, socks in drawers).
Wipe down furniture with a rag
Help clean up their own messes (spilled milk, etc.).
Simple errands (diaper in trash, getting a toy for baby, etc.).

Ages 2-4:

All of the above…
Help dust furniture.
Help feed small pets {with supervision}.
Begin to help dress themselves.
Help set the table with supervision.
Help brush teeth.

Ages 5-6:

All of the above.
Dress themselves.
Pick up toys.
Make their bed.
Feed pets.
Help carry groceries.
Help set the table.
Brush teeth.
Water plants.
Help clear the table.