A sweet young mom recently asked, “Do you know what a realistic time frame is for working for an 8, 7 and 6 year old?
Now an eight year old is probably capable of more than what I answered, but under the circumstances of having two younger brothers I clumped them all into one group:
“On their own, they will not work very long….five minutes. By your side, they can work 20-30 minutes. Creativity can extend the time. I always mixed up the jobs throughout the time. Whatever someone else is doing always looks like more fun.
When we raked leaves everyone wanted to stomp the leaves down in the bag, so I used that as a reward motivator. I totally have a guilty memory of raking with little ones and yelling at them…so I know it can be frustrating. Even working ten minutes and then doing something silly,,,,running around the house, eating a marshmallow, waving at cars, shooting small water guns until they are empty, rolling across the yard….you get the idea, would make the work worth it.
Talk about work being the best fun. Afterwards play up what a big help they are and how much you enjoyed working with them.”
Her response shows the power of realistic expectations:
“Awesome! Thank you. We helped daddy with a huge pile of wood/branches last night and I can see they did great after reading that. But we have a goal for the next six days with the wood and I need to be realistic.”