When is a child too young to learn (SHARE YOUR STORY)

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by kuntrygirl, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
    Well here is my story.............

    I come from a very large family and I have a lot of neices, nephews and great neices and great nephews and they always love coming over to my house because they love seeing all of the animals. When they come over, not only do they enjoy the animals, they also enjoy the lessons that I teach them and the stories. My sisters and brothers say that my house is "Boot Camp" but they LOVE sending their kids over to my house. I think I know why. I wouldn't necessarily call coming to my house "Boot Camp". I chose to say that it's "Learning Camp". Coming to my house to visit on weekends, sleep overs or summer vacations is always an opportunity for me to teach them something new. I'm sure that their parents teach them things on a daily basis but I tend to spend more time with them or life skills, social skills, etc.

    So my original question is...... when is a child too young to learn. My opinion is................ a child is never too young to learn. When I talk to friends and co-workers, I hear so often how they are still "doing things" for their kids such as washing their clothes, cleaning their rom, etc. and the kids have not been taught to do these things. At 17 years old, I think (and this is just my opinion, so don't chew me out) that a child should know how to wash their own clothes right? I heard one co-worker talking about how she packed her 16 years old bags so that he could go to camp. I was like, "HUH". I wanted to ask her why didn't he pack his own bags or TEACH him how to pack for a weekend trip. I taught my neices and nephews how to pack (at age 5) AND what to pack when going on a trip. You start by making a list of what will be needed. Am I missing something? I guess I am from a different background and our parents taught us at an early age to do as many things as possible for yourself.

    I can remember years ago, when VCRs were popluar and my nephews (3 years old) enjoyed watching cartoons or animated movies on VHS tapes. I always have animated movies for them to watch. Well, they were always asking me to turn on the VCR and put in a VHS tape because they didn't know how. Well, I decided that I would teach them how to turn on the VCR, put the tape in, press play, record, or rewind and to eject when needed. Well, I was successful at teaching them this through colored stickers on the places they had to touch to get the VCR working. After that, they never had to ask me to how to turn on the VCR.

    I also teach/taught them about getting a job, keeping a job, making money, saving money, etc. This vocational skill begins as early as 5 years old. They have NEVER asked for money because they know my rule. "You have to work for what you want". If they need money for whatever, they will ask me if there is work to do around the house to earn extra money. And the answer is always, "Yes". So, I treat their "work" as them having a regular job. I have made up timesheets readily available for them. We always negotiate a wage that we think is ok. After that, they go and get their time sheets and fill it out by writing in their name and the date. They also write in the time that they begin their work. Most of the work that they do is picking up twigs/sticks that have fallen from the tree, cleaning feeders and waterers (which can be an all day event because I have about 75 of them), taking about the trash, folding towels, washing the car (they are terrible at this job) and a few other things. They may work for an hour and then they take a break. They have to write their time out when the break begins and then write their time in when they start work again. Sometimes, I have caught them "playing" on the job and they haven't "clocked out" so they get written up for that infraction because they were made aware of the rules and have signed off on the policy and procedure handbook that I made for them. After their work is complete, they turn in their time sheet with their total hours are already calculated. Their time sheet is signed by them and date. I take a look at the work that they have completed and I sign off on their time sheet. After I sign off on their time sheet, I give them a time to come back to me and collect their earnings. Believe it or not they really enjoy this. They say that they love learning new things. That's why they always beg their parents to come to my house. They want to see what new skill I have for them to learn for that weekend.

    The last story that I will share (I have so many teaching stories) is teaching them how to sort clothes and how to wash their own clothes. They are not able to reach the washing machine and dryer, so they have to pull a chair to put their clothes in the washing machine. Again, I use different colored stickers on the washing machine and dryer which shows them where to turn the knob for their particular load of clothes. This is how I taught them how to wash their own clothes, ONLY when an adult is there to supervise. My sister-in-law called me one day and told me that she went to my nephew's rooms to get his clothes and my nephew told her that I had taught him how to wash and dry his own clothes and that she should not wash his clothes because he knew how to do it. The only thing that she had to do is show him how to use their washing machine and dryer (different type) being as though I taught him how to use mine.

    When I was 8 years old, I knew how to cook an entire meal in addition to knowing how to clean a house, wash clothes, etc. As I got older, my father showed me how to change a flat tire and how to do other minor work on a car. I got a job as early as 15 years old. When I got in the work force, I assumed that every child (who was functionally able to) was exposed to the same thing. Now I am finding too often, that is not the case.

    I totally understand that parents are so busy these days with working (some having more than 1 job), taking care of their family and household and may not have that extra time to teach their kids some of the things that I teach my neices and nephews. I truly do not want to offend anyone by saying parents don't have time to teach their kids daily living skills. I guess that I am just fortunate to be able to spend this time with them and provide as much learning as possible.

    So, what is your opinion on when is a child too young to learn. Do I sound like a Boot Camp instructor? These are just my personal stories, so don't bash me too hard if your way of looking at this is different from mine. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2011
  2. NYRIR

    NYRIR Songster

    May 13, 2010
    Very well done Kuntrygirl! A big [​IMG] to you....my kids friends think it's horrible that my kids have designated chores....the youngest 2 are now 12 and one 17...UM...YES,THEY HAVE CHORES! I think you do have a few steps up on me however,and I will be taking notes [​IMG]
  3. NorthTexaschick

    NorthTexaschick Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    Denton area
    I have noticed that my kids are happier when they have assigned chores, and plenty of them. Too much free time and they begin to get grumpy and moody.
  4. Ema

    Ema Songster

    Jun 4, 2010
    N. Ontario CANADA
    I absolutely agree with you, kids now a days are very sheltered and many people do wait on them hand and foot. I teach my children to be as independent as possible and what with they are capable of at their age. And they are so willing to learn if you let them.

    My sons step mom calls my house strict or boot camp, for the very same reasons, I will not wait on him hand and foot, where she does everything for him, his laundry, his meals, pack his bags, clean up after him constantly, my son is turning 16 and in my house he does everything for himself, except dinner meals which we cook, he knows he can get away with it at his dads house, but here he doesn't even attempt it. I don't have to tell him to do anything he does it himself, where I constantly get complaints from their house that he does nothing. teaching kids or giving them chores does not make it boot camp, its a learning process and we don't teach them, they will grow up expecting other people to do it for them. We are the ones who need to prepare them to go out into the world, to succeed, not to fail.

    I bet you anything, that just like my kids, the children that come through your house as super happy to have been there.

  5. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    My son always, always had chores to do - it was his way to earn his keep and he knew it. Allowance was not something I did with him. If he wanted something, he would get an "extra" job to do in order to earn it. When he was young we lived in an apartment so it wasn't feasible to drag a chair to the laundry room, but he always helped me carry it down, count out the money to start the washer and helped me sort it into different machines.

    He also knew how to cook a meal by 9 years old, supervised of course. I don't trust ANY youngster in the kitchen alone!
  6. Dar

    Dar Crowing

    Jul 31, 2008
    when we are going on a vacation for a few days the kids make lists and I sign off on them for what to pack. if we are going on day trips I tell them where we are going and what they may be doing and they pack accordingly. Last time we went on a day trip my daughter forgot to pack a hoodie and she got cold and I would not buy her one... lesson learned.

    when we went to the conservation park.. she was told there was beach... she didnt pack a swim suit... she could not go swimming... lesson learned.

    it drives me crazy when parents baby their children into their late teens... it teaches them nothing... my sons girlfriend is that way she is 21 and cant make KD
  7. Circe

    Circe In the Brooder

    Jul 2, 2011
    Griffin, GA
    My 6 year old started cooking one meal a week this summer (with supervision). He likes to complain about what we cook, sooooo . . . he get's to experience the fun and work of preparing a meal. He also has age appropriate chores like feeding the animals, putting up laundry, setting the table, helping outside, etc. Right now, he wants a Nintendo DS and is saving up his money. He's earned almost $40 since the beginning of June. He has ADD, so I've taught him to make lists to help himself stay on track.

    The 2 year old can pick up his toys, set the table, take out cans for recycling, etc. Again, all age appropriate.

    The 8mos old. Well, she just gets to look cute right now. [​IMG]
  8. Roccomanchickens

    Roccomanchickens Chirping

    Apr 15, 2011
    Carroll, IA
    Never! You are right on track! I think that our society has gotten away from making kids "work" We have taken child labor laws and "abuse" to the extreme and are creating lazy adults that feel that someone owes them a meal. It's wonderful that you are raising little adults that will understand that going to work involves actually producing something, not just showing up for a paycheck, and that they are capable, talented, resourceful members of society.

    Good job!
  9. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    I didn't read the whole post [​IMG] , but I think that people often don't allow their kids independence at an early enough age. I know I am guilty of it with certain things as I imagine most people are. For some things, I just want it done and it is soooo much faster if I do it myself. That said; my kids do know how to do things like pack a bag for a trip (I will help them with their list), do the dishes and laundry, use the weed-wacker, weed the garden, and they even help with our family business of raising and processing meat chickens (they do get paid for their farm work). I would like to have them do a little more cooking, but it's hard when they are still too short to safely use the stove.
  10. zippitydooda

    zippitydooda Songster

    Apr 23, 2010
    Ottawa, Ohio
    I came from a household that was of a different opinion. My mother & her siblings were all expected to do ALL of the chores, even when they were little. My grandparents were out working (it was right after the depression). My mother hated that childhood experience, so she never made me do much of anything around the house. I was active in extra-curricular activities, and also was quite spoiled (I was given 2 horses and went to horse shows & 4H programs). I wasn't at home much (spent most of my time at the barn or at school).

    Anyhow, when I moved out at the age of 18, I was CLUELESS. I couldn't cook. I had no idea how to grocery shop. I had no concept of money or earning it. I didn't know how to clean or do laundry.

    Now, I know this sounds really odd, but I WISH I had been taught these skills. I think you are doing a MARVELOUS service to your nieces & nephews. They won't struggle like I did.

    Oh, and yes, I finally did learn how to do all those things, but it was really awful trying to figure it all out. Parents: TEACH YOUR CHILDREN. It is your responsibility.

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