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GETTING YOUR CHILDREN INVOLVED IN YARD WORK

As with so many realms of parenting, convincing your children that yard work is an enjoyable activity may at first be a little tricky. However, when you and your family members have recently arrived to a new rental home, this can be one of the activities that helps your children acclimate to the environment and begin to feel that the space, to a greater degree, belongs to them. Another benefit, particularly when you live in close proximity to other families with young children, is that your children will have the opportunity to meet new friends.

You are probably accustomed to introducing new ideas to your children in ways that are likely to resonate with their individual personalities. Accordingly, like when hiring a moving company, you can customize how you approach them concerning yard work. One thing that most parents find to be true regardless of the varying personas and temperaments of children is that making yard work sound like drudgery is doomed to fail. Even if there is a particular yard project that must be completed, and quickly, you will never inspire enthusiasm in your children by presenting the yard work as a tiresome, thankless chore that must be attended to before real fun can be had.

Framing the Rewards

You, better than anyone else, know what makes your kids tick. You may be fortunate enough to have a child who radiates energy and also enjoys being out in the sun whenever possible. For children who already love their time in the great outdoors, your job may be as simple as stating the job that needs to be done, arming them with rakes or shovels as needed, and perhaps occasionally stepping in to make sure they are staying at least marginally focused on the task at hand and have not run off to enjoy the outdoors beyond your yard.

For children who do not enjoy the outdoors as much, and particularly for older children who are establishing their independence more and more with each passing day, an external system of rewards may be in order. If a child has reached the stage of receiving an allowance for various chores, you may consider adding yard work to his or her list. You could do so in the sense of making yard work an ongoing staple a child's chore list if he or she seems amenable to the work itself and performing satisfactorily. However, if the yard work to be done is a more a one-time project that has come up suddenly, you may be able to compel a child to take part in the work (with grumbling, that is) by offering to drop off a chore currently on his or her list in exchange for participation in the yard work.

Getting your children involved in yard work could be as simple as allowing your personal enthusiasm to shine through. Especially when children are younger, they tend to feed off of parents' enthusiasm for and aversion from certain undertakings. If you enjoy yard work, you can probably easily and without a great deal of persuasive talk convince your children that it is a fun pursuit well worth the time and energy. Once your children have become engaged in yard work, make sure to enhance the fun factor of it in age-appropriate ways whenever possible, making spontaneous games out of various chores. Another thing that can help enormously is to make sure children see the "finished product." From a very young age, children enjoy taking pride in a job well done. If you can show your children a demonstrable positive change based upon their work, they may happily participate again.

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