Dear Sarah: Chores


Dear Sarah,

What do you think is a good age at which to start giving children chores? Should chores be a requirement for getting an allowance?


Uncertain in Belchertown

Dear Uncertain,

Ah, chores! This is a hot topic among many of the parents in my practice and one that I have struggled with myself, over the years. I am a big fan of chores for several reasons:

  1. Chores teach children to be contributing members of their families, which is the beginning of learning to contribute to their teams, workplaces, and communities.
  2. Chores provide an opportunity to teach children to do a task on time, thoroughly, and without complaining. These are important skills for holding down a job someday.
  3. Requiring our children to help in meaningful ways protects them from the overwhelm, exhaustion and resentment that their parents feel when parents try to do it all alone.
  4. Learning new tasks and mastering challenging jobs help children to build confidence and competence.

If you ask three different parenting consultants you will probably get three different answers, but I will share with you what works for me at my house. My 14 year old daughter, who is not a big fan of chores, might not agree that my approach “works” for her! As I say to her, “That’s ok, I don’t like all of my chores either. You don’t have to like them, you just have to do them.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Free Parenting Classes in the Pioneer Valley this Fall

Parenting Group and Workshops

There are a few of free parenting support opportunities for parents and grandparents of preK kids coming up in the Pioneer Valley this Fall:

Important Conversations for Parents of Very Young Children

Berkshire Children and Families will be hosting a free 8-week parenting group in Northampton on Monday evenings.  Titled, “Important Conversations for Parents of Very Young Children,” the group will provide a facilitated space for parents to discuss topics such as child development, finding time for yourself within your family, fostering independence, etc.  Group members will decide what to discuss each week. Free childcare and dinner will be provided, and the group takes place at the Northampton Parents’ Center in the basement of Edwards Church on Main Street in Northampton.  To register call at 413-584-5690 x119.

  • 5-7pm on Mondays in Northampton beginning 10/17  (no group on 10/31)

At Your Wit’s End: Responding to Challenging Behavior

“At Your Wit’s End: Responding to Challenging Behavior.” This 3-part workshop for parents/grandparents of preK kids is based on the idea that kids can be exhausting and there are no perfect parents.  It’s designed to flow from one session to the next and cover topics such as: how to help your child bounce back from disappointment; helping your child build problem-solving skills; strategies and wisdom. This 3-series workshop will be held in several different locations this fall, including: South Hadley Family Center, Clapp Memorial Library in Belchertown; and Our Lady’s Child Care Center in Easthampton.  These are early evening workshops with available free childcare. This series is a Coordinated Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) program, funded by the MA Department of Early Education and Care and administered by the Collaborative for Educational Services. To register call 413-570-3061.

  • 6:30-8:30pm on Tuesdays in South Hadley beginning 10/18.
  • 6:30-8:30pm Thursday/Wednesdays in Easthampton beginning 10/20
  • 7-8:30pm Thursdays in Belchertown beginning 11/3

Responding to Behavior Challenges

A one-time free morning workshop for parents of preK kids titled “Responding to Behavior Challenges” will be held in the library at the Hatfield Elementary School on Friday, October 28th from 8:30-9:30am. Call for more information and to register: 413-570-3061.

Questions & Answers

Do you have a parenting question you’d like to submit to be discussed here on Hilltown Families as part of our Question & Answers column? Submit below for consideration:

[Photo credit: (ccl) Christopher Hawkins]

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