Children this age enjoy taking on more responsibility and being asked to do important things. Asking them to help out not only teaches them new skills but also gives them more confidence that they’re useful and important members of the family.
Here are four ways your child can help you (and learn a lot in the process).
Let your child be in charge of family fun. Have him look in the entertainment or “weekend” section of the local paper. You can also have him look at a website like ParentsConnect that gives information about what’s going on in your town or city. Have him write down kid-friendly destinations, like museums, zoos, concerts, sports games, or festivals, along with the cost and location of each. Discuss the pros and cons of each option — and make a decision together.
Next time you need to go somewhere, ask your child to get the directions. Sites like Google Maps let you find the best route. Just click “Get directions,” then enter the two addresses — where you’re leaving from and where you’re going. Then click one of the icons for the trip by car, public transportation, walking, or bike. Ask your child to tell you the difference in travel times between walking and taking the bus, and then decide how you’ll get there.
If you don’t have easy access to a computer, check out a map from the library. Also, many cities have information lines that you can call for tips on how to get to a destination by public transportation.
Buying household items
The next time you need to make a household purchase, let your child be your shopping helper. Let’s say you’ve decided to buy a microwave. Tell your child how much you can spend and then help her look at the prices and features of different microwaves that would fit within that budget. You can check prices from newspaper ads or even go to the sites of major stores online, and then to the stores in person. Ask your kid to bring a notepad and ask the salesperson questions and take notes.
Look together at the listings in your local Craigslist site and see if you can find a similar used microwave. Ask your child to make a chart of the options, with the make and model of each microwave, along with their prices and features. Decide together what would be the best choice for your family.
Shopping for groceries
Get your child’s help with grocery shopping. Make a list together of the items you’ll need for the week, and then talk about your budget. Talk with your child about whether there’s any place you can save money. With your child, look online for tips on saving money and eating healthfully (such as this list of grocery shopping tips).
You can also have your child check in the Sunday newspaper for coupons for items you’re already planning to buy. Have him do some simple math to see how much a coupon would save you. When you go to the grocery store, have your child compare the prices of different brands of the same product. Put him in charge of keeping the receipts each week, and ask him to add up your total grocery costs for the month.