Dear Boy's at the age now where he understands directions and questions. 'Where's your bottle? Go get your train. Can you close the door, please?' So we're instituting jobs: unpacking the cutlery from the dishwasher (after I've taken out the pointy things) and turning it on when it's full; handing me the pegs when we hang out the washing; and putting his dirty clothes in the washing basket after he has his bath. He's so serious about doing it right, but every now and then, he'll give himself a round of applause. He doesn't have to do them; they aren't tasks that are set in stone: but they are things that he does regularly, that he knows are part of the patterns of our everyday life.
Most of this is for keeping him entertained with a side benefit of helping with his development, learning about consequences and sequences and programs and all those other things on the list in the Wonder Weeks book we've been reading. But another part of this is us starting to think about the kind of raising we want to do, the kind of parents we want to be, the kind of adult we want to send off into the world in many, many years time. Do we want to him be imaginative and playful and a man with his own mind? Sure. But we also want him to be helpful and responsible and well mannered. And where the hell do you start with that?
So I'm starting here: with 'jobs' (yes, with 'air' quotes), and with pleases and ta's with every knife and fork and spoon that he hands me, and praise for being helpful. Later on, when he's big enough to understand it, we'll start thinking about pocket money and what we expect him to do for 'free', just because he's a part of our household.
Do you give your kids pocket money? What do you think is a good age to start?
*Yes, our dishwasher's in the laundry and the washing machine doesn't fit so it's crooked - small houses made for small people with small appliances means we do what we can.