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November 18, 2010 - Kylie Saari
Just the other morning, as I was attempting to prepare for work and listening to constant questioning about when I will be done from my child, interspersed with him attacking his sister, something occurred to me. Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer, says that dogs who are bored can be aggressive and annoying. They need to be given something to do, a chore to make them feel useful. A light bulb went off. I had not updated my kids' responsibilities for a while, which is why my son was completed with his so early in the day and left with time to pester those of us still getting ready. I admit, their chores were not hard, and they were completed easily. I figured I probably needed some assistance determining what exactly they could and should be doing at their ages. So I Googled it. And what I found was slightly disturbing. My kids were already doing everything on the lists. But those things were not challenging at all. A seven-year-old can be expected to brush his own teeth, I learned. And pick out his own outfits. And be learning to dial the phone. Now, I was not expecting to learn he should be able to make four course meals by himself, but learning to dial the phone? My son has been making phone calls on his own since he was four. We stayed with him, and he was on speaker phone, but he was doing it himself. My point is not be boastful that my kids can do the lists; it is that kids need to have more expected of them. It is a pleasure to see a five year old make her own lunch for school, get all her school gear prepared and at the door the night before school, and read very-early-reader stories out loud to her mother. I am pretty sure all you mothers out there are aware of this already, so I am curious, what do you expect your kids to do at what ages.
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