As a seasoned parent, I have tried my fair share of chore charts, rewards, and punishments when it comes to chores. Some worked for a short period of time and some were a failure from the start. Only one has stood the test of time with both young kids and even tweens. This is when we use a chore tracking system that includes rewards of both money and computer time. It requires a list of chores and a tracking chart. With this method, it’s been possible to get tweens to do chores using allowance and computer time. The tweens are open to this, as are the younger kids. Here’s how it’s done.
Step 1: Create a chore list. This can be on a small sheet of paper that will be tacked to the refrigerator or another common area. List all chores throughout the entire house, big or small. I find it easy to sort the chores by rooms. This helps the kids find them and it also separates simple and hard tasks. For instance, taking out office trash may be simpler than taking out kitchen trash.
Step 2: Assign points to each chore. In our house, each point is equal to either a penny or 30 seconds of computer time. Determine how many points should be awarded for each chore, based on its difficulty. For instance, doing the dishes might be worth 50 points (variable). That would be 25 minutes of computer time or 50 cents. But a more simple chore, like washing the counters, might only be worth 15-20 points, depending on how dirty the counters may be.
Step 3: Determine when the reward will occur. We allow the computer time to be redeemed any time there is no schoolwork or housework that needs doing. But if the tweens choose money, they can redeem their points for money once per week. This teaches the value of saving because they have to wait and there is only so much computer time one could want. We also limit computer time to a certain number of minutes per day per kid.
Step 4: Create a tracking chart. This is separate from the chore list. The tracking sheet will be easiest to use if it can be erased and reused each week. We like to use a dry erase board and markers. We write in each child's name and when they do each chore, the points are placed with their name. The kids are allowed to choose any chores they please. You may decide to do this differently. If any points are rewarded before the end of the week (computer points), those are eased. This way, at the end of the week, the tweens are not confused as to how many points they should have.
Step 5: Discuss the chart with your tweens. Let them know the basic rules, as well as how many chores (if any) are expected each day. We are more free with this and I think that opens them up to offer more than they might normally do if forced. Because they have an incentive, it's usually not necessary to ask them to do certain things. They already know that if they don't do any chores, they don't get any allowance or computer time because there won't be any points.
Each parent who uses this method may choose to add their own rules or modify the system to fit their family. It is not important to stick to my exact method because each child is different. Consistency is the most important factor of this chore rewards system, as with any other. No matter the method you choose to use with your tweens, be sure it is the right fit in your family and one you can follow through with. Consistency and follow-through are the secrets to success in anything.
Teaching Tweens Independence
normally fills the mop bucket, have him mop the floors as well. The goal is to expand on current tasks and add on new ones as needed. This helps encourage independence at a pace your child can handle.
Give tweens full responsibility for any pets they have. Your tween may already have small pet-related tasks, such as feeding them, cleaning food dishes, playing with them, etc. But try slowly adding on more tasks as can be handled until the pet's full responsibility is up to your tween child. For instance, a 7-year-old may play with her hamster, feed her, and give her small treats as necessary. As she can handle it throughout the months and years, cage changing and cleaning and other tasks can be added.
Start teaching tweens to babysit with 'mommy's helper' tasks. Depending on your tween's age and maturity, being what's called a mommy's helper can aid in teaching independence. A mommy's helper is a babysitter or nanny that tends to the younger kids while the responsible adult is still present. Basically, this tween will be responsible for entertaining siblings and preparing simple snacks and meals. It's similar to babysitting, except that there is a responsible adult around to handle the more serious tasks. A mommy's helper usually busies the younger kids while mom works, cleans, or handles other household duties.
Enroll your tween in a sport or extracurricular activity. It's true that being involved in sports and activities teaches kids teamwork. But it also teaches independence. They have to learn to do things without you there to help. While you may be sitting on the sidelines at a game, it is up your tween to take action. It's especially helpful if your tween becomes team captain or gets to lead one or more classes with activity instruction.
Be independent yourself. If your tween sees you depending on others to get things done, that's the example that will be followed. But if you show that you can do things with or without the assistance of others, that can go a very long way. Because I work from home without a boss, my kids have seen me be very independent from the start. Even when I held more traditional jobs, I've always been a do-it-yourselfer. Whether you think so or not, the things you say and do are going to rub off on your kids.
Don't be afraid to let go. Some of the resistance to independence tweens can feel may be due in part to your own resistance. If you can't let go of the security blanket, then neither will your tween. Being free to do things and make decisions on their own prepares tweens for life. While you can't completely let go at this stage, it's important to ease up on controlling the things they can handle on their own.
Realizing Your Tween is Becoming a Teen
new ball game full of new discoveries, milestones, and successes and failures. If you pay attention to your tween, you'll be prepared to beat that teen attitude with a smile. Believe me, your effort will be much appreciated.
Letting go is hard, but necessary. Teens need much more space than younger kids. Not only are they likely going through an emotional roller coaster. But being independent is a big part of growing into the adult stage. When your tween starts to become a teen, it's the perfect time to prepare yourself by letting go of certain things. Let your tween make certain choices in preparation for becoming a teen. You can't (and shouldn't) control everything.
You're still in charge, but in a different way. Now, just because you will let go of some things when your tween becomes a teen, it doesn't necessarily mean you aren't the boss. You still have the final word and your tween should know this. However, your tween needs to also feel secure in making some decisions without your help. This will become even more necessary once your tween matures into the teenage years. Just choose your time together wisely and pick your battles.
Take it one step at a time. It's not going to be easy letting go of your baby or realizing that baby is getting closer to becoming an adult. Just relax and take things as they come. Ease yourself into the process by slowly giving up things within reason. Talk to parents who have been down that road before. Your tween is likely going to be acting differently than a few years ago. There will be new interests, new friends, more mature looks, and possibly a new attitude. It's all a natural part of life, as hard as it may be to watch unfold. For every difficult moment, there will be many happy ones. Always remember that.
Find different activities to share. Just because your tween is turning into a teenager, it doesn't mean you can't still have fun together. But your tween's idea of fun may be entirely different than before. Listen your growing child's opinions and choices and let them be heard. Savor the memories from your prior family destinations and activities. Then, make new ones to treasure that go along with your growing teen's needs. Trips to the mall may start to involve movie play dates and makeovers instead of the kiddie play area and ice cream cones. Find out those new things your tween is into and learn how to make them work for you both. Who cares if you don't like the latest band? Take your tween to that concert or buy the music anyway.
Are your tweens bored during family outings and activities? Perhaps you just need to switch things up and try something new. You don't necessarily have to spend too much money on fancy gadgets. In fact, that could distract them from family fun. To keep the tweens from being bored, our family is always trying something new. Here are some of the all-time favorites that have passed the 'tween fun' test.
Turn walking into an adventure. Asking your tweens to go on a walk may bore them. But only if you make it seem like a chore. Instead, turn it into an exploration. Take a walk on neighborhood trails and bring along specimen containers and other investigative tools. A note pad is great for drawing observations and writing down interesting discoveries and theories. A magnifying glass can help when inspecting insects, leaves, animal tracks, and more. Binoculars are useful when watching birds and other creatures at a distance.
Flash back to when all we used was imagination. Today's tweens are often so into technology that some rarely use their imaginations. Think back to those fun little games you played, such as Telephone, telling ghost stories, Truth or Dare, and more. Remember all the fun you had playing these games with friends and family? Play them with your family and if your tween has her won ideas or variations, go along with them. These games are not just a good source of entertainment. They can also help bring families closer through the power of laughter. The best part is that they can usually be adapted to fit all age ranges. This is an important aspect in a large family like ours.
Scavenger hunts are cheap, easy, and entertaining. It doesn't take strenuous planning to set up a scavenger hunt. But the resulting fun and memories are priceless. Create a list of items for each child to find in the backyard or area park. These should be easy things to find in nature, such as a dried leaf, a fallen twig, or a rock. Your tweens (and even the younger kids) can be given a reusable grocery bag for collection purposes. It's up to you whether to make it a competition and award prizes or just let the kids go to it finding the items. If you want to mix things up even more, instead of the list, give the kids a treasure map or one clue at a time as each item is found.
Tweens and music go hand-in-hand. Turn up the music and have a family dance session. But don;t play just your music. Let the tweens choose music as well. I know, I know, some of their choices will be worse than nails on a chalkboard - at least to your ears. Save the complaints about it for another time and just enjoy the time with your kids. Understanding the music your tweens listen to can help you understand them more as well. The kids might even be able to teach you a new dance. You know they will feel you need the lessons.
Wacky sports can be a big hit with tweens. Have you ever tried blending sports together? For instance, try playing soccer or basketball while skating. Invent your own sports by mixing up and combining two or more sports with each other. Safety first, of course, but other than that, be creative. Water Balloon Golf is one of the more interesting combination games my kids and I enjoy playing together. This one is best played on warmer days. If it's a good day for swimming, then it's a good day for this golf variation.
Has your tween been shouting out cheers or watching a large number of cheerleading shows or movies? He or she may be interested in becoming a cheerleader. Perhaps it's even been expressed to you. Is cheerleading appropriate for tweens? Should you let your tween join a cheerleader squad? On top of deciding whether your tween wants to cheer on sports teams, participate in cheerleading competitions, or do non-competitive cheering, there are many other factors to consider.
Why does your tween want to be a cheerleader? It's important to allow kids the freedom to express their interests. But before giving an affirmative answer, be sure your tween's head is in the right place. Does your son or daughter want to be on the squad for the activity or athleticism or is it seen as a way to attract the opposite sex? It's natural for kids to develop interest for the opposite sex at this age. However, that should not be the only reason your tween is interested in becoming a cheerleader. Talk to your tween and figure out all of the reasons he or she is interested in becoming a cheerleader. Be sure it is really what they want to do before they make the commitment.
Can you afford or raise the associated costs? This kind of activity can really put a dent in the wallet. There are tryouts, uniforms, classes, road trips, and more that all require fees. Before getting your tween involved, be sure that you can pay the associated fees. If you cannot pay them, there may be fund raising or sponsorship opportunities. Either way, be sure these costs will be covered. Otherwise, you will potentially be setting your tween up for disappoint later when something comes along that you cannot pay for.
Cheerleading is a big commitment. Does your tween know what's involved in being a member of the squad? Some responsibilities will vary, depending on the type of cheerleading squad your tween wants to join. However, they will all involve committing to certain practice dates and doing extra practice at home. Some may involve traveling and taking extra classes for cheer routines, dance, and gymnastics. There is more to being a cheerleader than just rooting on a team. It is a very athletic activity that can get very involved. Is your tween ready for this type of commitment?
Does your tween have the talent or the dedication to learn? Existing talent is a real plus when it comes to cheerleading. However, your tween can also take classes and practice to learn and grow in the sport. Make sure he or she is ready to do what it takes to succeed. If your tween does not want to compete but enjoys the activity, many locales have non-competitive cheerleader squads as well. Your tween will still need to be committed to the team. However, there won;t be as much pressure to outperform another team.
Can you provide the transportation? This may seem a small factor in the grand scheme of things. However, depending on the type of cheerleading, practices, games, and events can be in various places. Are you willing to get your tween to these meetings and events, even when they are far away? If you know that you cannot do this, for whatever reason, you will need to find alternate transportation or work with your tween to find an alternative activity.
Most parents want to give their child freedom to explore the things they are interested in. But in addition to bringing a smile to their faces, we also have to think practically as well. When deciding whether your tween should join a cheerleader squad, weigh all of the factors together before making the commitment.
*Always consult a licensed physician before enrolling your child in any athletic activity.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
As kids grow older, especially into the tween and teen years, it's natural for them to become more independent. But don't let that independence take away the closeness in your family. This doesn't mean you should embarrass them by being too attached in front of their friends. In fact, by giving your tweens space, you can remain close to them and even strengthen bonds. It may seem strange to think of space and bonding as related. But as a current parent of tweens, it has been a very effective method.
Giving tweens space shows them you understand. How many times have we all heard kids state their parents don't understand them? By giving them space, you can show them you do indeed understand their needs. Be sure to let them know you understand that need and even talk to them about when you were their age. Sometimes they are going through emotional and physical changes and just want to be alone. Other times, they may want to enjoy their friends, a TV show, or a good book without you in the room. As long as they aren't doing anything wrong, give them some space to enjoy life.
When tweens have space, they may be more willing to come to you for help. Extra freedom and space can help tweens sort out things in their minds. Remember that they have thoughts, issues, and feelings too. Being a kid does not exempt them from life. Now, more than ever, tweens face a wide variety of confusing and conflicting situations every day. Knowing you trust them enough to give them freedom can help build trust so they'll be willing to come to you when they should.
Space can equate to stronger bonding. You may find that having separate time away from your tween causes you both to want some quality time as well. Sometimes being apart from those you care about shows people how much they really need each other. Continue to give your tween space. But you can also take special time together that''s convenient for both of you to keep that parent-child bond going strong. Choose activities you both enjoy to make the most of your time together.
Respecting your tween's privacy shows her you care. Along with space comes privacy. If your tween wants to be alone, let her do that. She may just be doing homework. She may also want to talk to her friends on the phone, read a book, or even just daydream. No matter what she wants to do, as long it isn't harmful to herself or others, give her room to make her own decisions. Don't walk into her room checking up every two minutes and don't spy on her conversations or read her diary. When she confides in you, don't tell others - especially her friends - about the conversations. This respect for privacy shows her you care and keeps that parent-child bond going strong.
As your child grows, the relationship will change but the love stays. Tweens need space in order to learn and grow. Just because he doesn't want to spend every waking moment with you, it doesn't change his love for you. It's healthy for tweens to have independence with many choices and aspects of life. It's part of preparation for life when they finally get out on their own later in life. Forcing your tween to be with you every moment and share every single secret and moment with you can cause tension and rebellion. But giving them the space they need can help keep a strong and healthy relationship.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Tweens Who Think They're Teens
"But Jenny's mom lets her do that." The problem? Jenny is 16 and your daughter is only 11. What happens when tweens think they are equivalent to teens? It's very common since kids between 8-12 years of age are able to do many things on their own. Because they can physically act upon things and make choices, many tweens tend to think this means they should be allowed. The problem with this is that there are certain things they simply should not be doing until they are older.
Older siblings can play a role both directly and indirectly. Observing an older sister or brother with more privileges may seem unfair to your tween. Be sure your older kids aren't teasing about their extra privileges. It's also important to make it clear that there are certain age requirements, depending on each new venture in life. If you have more than one child, you need to be consistent with the age a child must be before being allowed to do certain things, such as dating, babysitting, and handling other responsibilities.
Kids with younger siblings may mature quickly. Tweens will naturally look up to their teen siblings. Most kids want to be just like their big sister or big brother. This is a healthy phenomenon and can help kids learn important life lessons. But it can also backfire at times. Sometimes kids want to be entirely too much like their older siblings and mature faster than we'd like them to. To prevent this from happening, I try to make sure each of my kids has their own separate interests they pursue. Sometimes the distraction of their own unique activities can deter thoughts of participating in things meant for the older kids.
Peer pressure may be to blame. Not all parents agree on what is and isn't appropriate at various ages and stages. When tweens see their friends doing things they cannot do, they suddenly want to do them even more. Peer pressure is often a steady battle throughout the tween and teenage years. To help combat it as much as possible, parents can teach their tweens the value of self-worth and how important it is to remain true to oneself. Teaching tweens to make smart choices based on analysis, rather than quick-thinking and pressure to be like everyone else, is important.
Observing child stars may give off mixed messages. Watching the way stars behave on television, in movies, and even in real life can give kids a clouded perception of what life should be like. Naturally, they will want to have and do the things they see in these kids. As a parent, it's important to let kids know the difference between reality and film. It's also important they know the difference between a star's life and an everyday person's life. Let them know that the fraction of star's lives we see is not always a good indicator of how they actually live. Some things could be skewed for ratings, photos can be airbrushed, and we don't see how they live behind closed doors. Kids need to know that behind all the glamor, stars are just people, like you and me.
Your tween likely looks up to you. Just as your tween may look up to older siblings and friends, he also may look up to you. Obviously, your tween cannot do everything that you do. However, that may not stop her from wanting to. You can allow your tween to participate in certain things with you and let him know why he cannot do the others. For instance, let him wear your clothes if they fit. Take him to work on "Take Your Kids to Work Day". Have Mom and Daughter or Dad and Son days. At the same time, encourage your tween to be himself as well.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Is your tween constantly trying to boss around younger siblings, even at times questioning your own methods? Kids between the ages of 8 and 12 are going through huge transitions and this is a very possible scenario in households with more than one child. When my tween has moments like this, I stop and think what could be the root of the problem. One important point to remember is that most kids will test parents in this way at least once. It doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong. Like any other issue that arises, it gives you a chance to reevaluate things and change them as necessary.
Your tween wants to be like you. It's possible that your tween is bossing the younger kids around because you've been a great example. She may look up to you and simply be mimicking your own behavior. This can be a sign that you have been a good example that she wants to follow. At this age, the parent should still be supervising, but the tween can be given some extra responsibilities. Allow your tween to facilitate activities and look out for the welfare of her brothers and sisters. But do not allow her to discipline them.
Your tween has too much responsibility. Having extra responsibility can sometimes be a good thing, as it prepares tweens for babysitting in the future and just life in general. But it also can be a bad thing if your tween is overstepping your boundaries. It's perfectly fine to allow your tween some growing room. But don't let him take it so far that he believes his siblings have to listen to his every word. If you catch your tween trying to boss around brothers and sisters in matters where he shouldn't be, you need to act immediately to rectify it early.
Your tween knows she is older. Trying to take charge can just be a natural instinct as a child grows older. It is particularly present in tweens with younger siblings. This is just the natural order of things. If the manner in which your tween outranks siblings is not significant, there is probably no need for concern. It can actually be good for kids to have an extra reminder for simple things. But if you see your tween take advantage, explain to her when it is and is not appropriate to correct siblings.
She's practicing for the future. Your tween may have natural parental instincts and is acting them out on siblings. There is nothing wrong with this, so long as it isn't hurting anyone or overstepping boundaries. This is how kids learn to be good parents when they grow up. Use this as an opportunity to teach your tween about proper parenting techniques, within reason. Helping with dinner, reading to the younger kids, helping feed the baby, preventing fellow siblings from arguing, and similar activities are great ways for your tween to participate. Just be sure she knows that certain decisions are still up to you.
Take a look at your own habits. Many times, it will just be a natural part of growing up. But sometimes tweens will act this way because of the behavior of the parents. If you let your tween take over one too many times, she will start acting like she's the parent. Instinct takes over and it can be hard to break this habit once it starts. Ideally, you can catch it before it gets out of hand. Otherwise, it will take some work to let your tween know what her true responsibilities are and are not.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Prepare Your Tween for Babysitting
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Career preparation begins early and it should start in the home. One of the most common jobs for tweens is babysitting. Chances are your tween either has siblings or knows someone in or outside the family with smaller children. Tweens are, of course, too young to babysit without supervision. But they are at the perfect age to learn some of the basics. Preparing tweens for babysitting is a simple and necessary part of growing up. Doing so teaches them both career and life skills.
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
In order for tweens to be ready to start their first job as teens, they need practice. But without actually being able to work, how can they get that practice? As a parent, there are a variety of ways I help to cultivate career skills in my tweens. From household responsibilities, to volunteering, playing games, and more, get proactive in developing your tween's career skills today. They may not be thrilled with some of these ideas at first. But in time they will grow to love them and thank you in the future.
Get tweens involved in activities and clubs.
This is a simple way to teach your tween the teamwork it takes to succeed in their future career. It also can teach organizational and leadership skills. Recreational sports, dance, drama, band, choir, science, and other educational clubs and activities are available in most areas. Check with your child's school or homeschool group first. If the programs don't exist there, private organizations and churches often offer many activities.
Volunteer programs can help encourage and enhance career skills.
From helping the elderly, to feeding the homeless, caring for animals, and more, tweens can get involved in many volunteer programs. Call around to various organizations in your area to see who needs help. Remember to ask about age requirements. Not all organizations or opportunities are available to minors. Some also may require that an adult volunteer along with the tween. This can actually be good, as it gives you and your child some rewarding time together. Teaching kids to volunteer not only gives them valuable career experience, but also helps encourage compassion.
Let them take charge of certain things at home.
Responsibility starts at home. Chores and other household tasks teach your child important career skills that can be used throughout life. I like to treat my kids as team members and let them help in certain household decisions. Although this is not a job, it does help kids prepare for making choices in life, which strongly applies to career-related skills. Deciphering choices that lead to certain outcomes is a much-desired trait in the workforce, as is the ability to be part of a collaborative team. Being a 'mommy's helper' and watching over younger siblings and even pets is one way tweens can take charge. Just be sure they know the rules and also have proper supervision.
Family field trips geared toward interest can help cultivate skills.
No matter what your child is interested in doing as a career, there is always a related destination. Even if your child changes career thoughts often, it's still possible. For instance, if your tween wants to be a firefighter, visit the local firehouse. Some cities even have firefighter museums. If your child wants to work with animals, visit local shelters, zoos, and wildlife reserves. The main idea is to enrich your child's life with various activities and destinations that may enhance her career choice. Even if your tween changes her mind about career directions, the field trips will still add to overall experience.
Educational books and other media are useful.
Surround your child with opportunities to read books related to his career and life interests. If books are easy to access, even kids who do not prefer to read will eventually start picking them up. Also offer a variety of educational computer games, movies, and TV shows to show from. While it's not a good idea for a child to watch TV or play on the computer all day long, in moderation, these things can be good. When a child enjoys doing something, it can be easier for the knowledge to sink in, which is always a good thing.
*I originally publised this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans network. She is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! Running a network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is her top priority.
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