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Spend Time with Your Child while Reducing Your Own Stress Load
Make the grocery list with your child before going to the store. This will allow your child to choose some items that will be purchased for the week and should reduce some of the “begging” at the store. Make a rule that if it is not on the list, you do not get it. In some households, this also reduces the amount of complaining that happens at mealtime because the child knows in advance what was planned for the weekly meals.
Make some of your meals for the week together on the weekends. Some sturdy Tupperware and a freezer can really help lower the stress of weekday meal preparation. Casseroles and coup are excellent choices and can easily be separated into smaller containers, frozen, and pulled out of the freezer in the morning for a later meal. Again, making meals together often reduces “complaining” at mealtimes, because the child has been an active participant in making some of the meals.
Invite your child to be creative and decorate a chore chart for keeping track of daily/weekly responsibilities. Provide markers, stickers, glitter, glue, and old magazines for your child to decorate the chart. Talk with your child in advance about all of the duties that will go on the chart and determine a method for checking off the duties that are completed. Many families use stickers, stars, or check marks. If possible, avoid rewarding children for doing chores around the house. As a member of a family each person should have certain duties that he/she completes to keep the household running smoothly.
Put your child in charge of making a “To Do” list each weekend. Split it into “house” and “errands”. Encourage your child to be responsible for doing as many items on the list as possible and crossing off items on the list as they are completed. For extra incentive, treat yourselves to something fun after the list is completed. For example, rent a video or have some ice cream.