A birthday is more than balloons: involve children in preparing the birthday decorations

It’s a chore filled with so many tedious chores, from the screaming in the morning to the tantrums at night, from the wild invitations to the endless phone calls – birthday planning is a hoot, but we wouldn’t all give it up for the world. Their little steps follow you around the house as you hang those multicolored balloons and listen to them dance alongside the ‘Lion King’ for the hundredth time. Their laughs at your powerful fall from the ladder you were standing on, trying to hang a piñata full of candy. Their adorable puffy cheeks as they ask you if they can have a pre-party treat.

Did you know that these times can also be an opportunity to teach them responsibility and grow closer to your children? Yes, you heard us right, you can get your children as hired help … for free! And many pediatricians would recommend such an early attempt to instill effort and hard work in their little counterparts.

Here’s how it involves them:

1. Try positive reinforcement

Operant conditioning is a widely applied psychological trick, used for mammal training and research … But that shouldn’t stop you from using it to encourage good behavior. A candy for a certain menial task that you ask of them is a fair trade, right? After all, this is how the world works! Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t go to your job if you didn’t get paid. It would also make them more likely to help around the house; just make sure you don’t turn the expectation of a reward into a habit.

2. Act as a role model

An ancient aspiration of all parents is to be a role model for their children, and here it couldn’t be more helpful. It’s always encouraging to be taught a skill, especially through visual learning and repetition. So, show them how a task is done and then ask them to repeat it after you. Please correct your mistakes with patience and kindness. Trust us, they’d be on their way to becoming tomorrow’s master decorators in no time.

3. Give them easy tasks

While watching your child grow and mature is always lovely, make sure their tasks don’t exceed the level of complexity their little heads can cope with. It’s one thing to teach them responsibility and another to make them feel incompetent. You want it to be a challenge that they can overcome. Tasks like holding the lace or confetti basket as you walk around the house and placing them would be perfect.

4. Never let your vision wander

Lastly, never let your child work on something that you thought he could handle alone. You don’t want your 10-year-old to be around a hammer that he thought would help him finish faster. Young minds are creative and that is wonderful. But it’s also a double-edged sword, meaning if left to wander, they could be doing absolutely anything. And we don’t want that.

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