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sneaking in reading practice

5 Ways to Sneak Reading Practice into Your Child’s Day

Fitting in reading practice into a child’s daily routine is often a re-occurring battle between parents and their children. This may be due to several reasons; it may be a challenging and therefore not enjoyable task for a child or there may be the distractions from activities that are much more appealing than reading. Continued exposure to literacy and reading is important, especially throughout the summer months. If a child continues to put up high resistance to traditional reading activities, try to “sneak” in reading into fun activities. Luckily, literacy is all around us and can easily be camouflaged into fun.

5 Ways to Sneak Reading Practice Into Your Child’s Day:

  1. Cooking: Invite your children to bake or cook a recipe with you. Children love to be involved and givenHow to Sneak Reading into Your Child's Day responsibilities. Have their “job” be to read the recipe to get the ingredients and tell you what is next. Children will also learn the importance of paying attention to details, as recipes rely on the completion of specific directions. Try to find a recipe that can be tailored to your child’s skill level. The recipe can be as simple or complex as you would like; even making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can be made into a reading activity. You can also adapt a recipe to include different verbs or new vocabulary.
  2. Jokes: What child doesn’t love a good laugh? Reading jokes is a great way to add direct fun to a reading activity. Children jokes can be found on the internet, in a joke book or even on a popsicle stick! A child can practice reading a joke several times, and then perform it for another caregiver or adult later in the day. Not only is a child practicing his literacy skills, but he is also gaining exposure to figurative language.
  3. Road Trip Games: The summer season often comes with long road trips. It is easy to use electronics to occupy your child’s attention during these long hours. However, a great way to continue to improve your child’s literacy skills is to play the traditional Alphabet Game! Have your child look for the letters of the alphabet in the signs and words that you drive past. This is good practice with alphabetical order, identifying letters and reading single words. This game can be adapted to be a team effort or a race.
  4. Play teacher: Use the natural dynamic between older and younger siblings as an opportunity to get in some reading practice. Talk with your child about playing teacher with his younger sibling. The older brother or sister can read a story to his or her younger sibling, teach a specific letter or even write a short story. This is a fun way for kids to feel successful with reading, especially when they get to “teach” the younger brother or sister.
  5. Put on a Play: This is a great activity if you have multiple children that can participate. Find a free children’s drama script online or buy a book of children dramas. Children love using their imagination and also getting an audience’s attention. Practice reading the scripts before the performance to highlight any words they may not know and introduce them to new vocabulary.

If these suggestions don’t necessarily fit in with your child’s personality or family routine, get creative with your own daily routine. You can write up a schedule for your child’s day, having them read it at breakfast, or write out the directions of a craft for your child to complete. Remember the goal should be to create a motivating and fun activity for your child to gain additional practice and exposure to literacy.

Click here for more tips on how to get your child interested in reading.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Parents’ Roles in Creating Healthy Eaters

At some point during your young child’s life, you may face challenges that involve getting them to eat well. Often, the first challenge family eating dinnerpresents itself during the toddler years, in which children can become quite picky and more defiant. As kids are exposed to so many unhealthy foods that are specifically marketed towards kids and teens, these foods can cause excess weight gain.

When parents come to me seeking nutritional counseling for their child, we spend a lot of time discussing their role in their child’s nutrition. The reason behind this is because children learn so much about food and eating from the family. Consider the paradigm of nature vs nurture. Yes, there are certain inborn physiological predispositions children may have toward food and eating. This is the “nature” side of the paradigm; however there is also the “nurture” side, in which you influence how your children eat. Your kids have 3-5 learning experiences with you that are related to food each day (meals + snacks), beginning from infancy. Children are only able to eat and learn what foods you choose to present to them and in what manner you present food.

Below are some tips about parents’ roles in developing healthy eaters:

  1. Be the eater you want your child to be. If you want your children to eat fruits and vegetables, then you need to eat fruits Read more

February Fun with Young Valentines

Cooking up Books with Blossom ~ a monthly series from Chef Blossom’s own heart cookingkitchen!

Valentines Books To Read:

Book: Pinkalicious
by Victoria Kann & Elizabeth Kann

Age: 5-8

Pinkalicious loves anything pink, especially pink cupcakes. One day, when over-eating these tempting delicacies, Pinkalicious discovers not everything in life turns up pink in the end. Enjoy the problem/solution trail of this delightful story, then bake up a batch of cupcakes (pink, of course) and decorate with sprinkles of pink or red in honor of our young protagonist.

Book: Where does Love Come From?
by Accord Publishing Illustrated by Milena Kirkov

Age: Preschool

Does love grow on trees? Wash up from the ocean? Discover love’s true home with the help of this whimsical, “see-through” picture book. Follow it up by baking heart- shaped pretzels with your favorite valentine.

Cooking Instructions:

Heart Shaped Soft Pretzels: Set oven to 400degrees
vegetable oil 2 cups flour
1pkg. yeast ½ tsp table salt
¾ cup warm water 1 egg
1Tbl sugar course salt

Cover cookie sheet with foil and coat lightly with vegetable oil. Sprinkle package of yeast onto warm water. Add sugar and stir. Let stand until mixture foams. Put flour and salt into a bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir until dough clumps together. Sprinkle flour onto countertop and knead dough until smooth. Roll pieces of dough into “ropes”, then shape into hearts on cookie sheet. Beat an egg with a fork and brush each pretzel. Sprinkle on the coarse salt and bake 15 minutes or till light brown. Cool, then munch together with love.

The following smoothies may also be used with either story above:

Strawberry Delight Smoothies:
1 banana 1 cup plain or strawberry yogurt
1 cup strawberries, washed and hulled ½ cup orange juice

Cut banana into pieces and put them into blender. Add strawberries, yogurt and orange juice. Blend until smooth. May garnish with whipped topping and strawberries, if desired.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Blossom, and all at NSPT!

How to Make Your Own Baby Food

Are you interested in creating your own baby food? The good news is that it is actually quite possible and simple to make your own baby foodbaby food!

Supplies to make your own baby food:

  • A manual food mill. I personally used one made by KidCo. It is suitable for any soft or steamed fruits and vegetables, as well as cooked quinoa, oatmeal, millet and amaranth.
  • An electric food mill. I utilized an inexpensive, small electric food mill for more advanced textures of food that I needed to grind down slightly, such as soft-cooked meats and pasta.
  • Other options that you may choose to use include food processors and/or coffee grinders. A food processor is able to puree any food into the texture desired. As a result, this eliminates the need for a manual food mill or smaller electric food mill. A coffee grinder is useful for making your own “infant cereal”, using grains such as quinoa, brown rice, millet, amaranth and oatmeal. To do this, simply grind the whole grains in the coffee grinder and then cook them as you normally would.
  • Storage containers. You may use any refrigerator- or freezer-safe containers. There are containers that are designed specifically for storing baby food that closely resemble ice cube trays with a lid. I found these to be very helpful as I could produce 2-4 “cubes” of baby food to send to the babysitter each day.

Once you have acquired the equipment that you need, the next step will be to determine what food you want to make for your baby. Speak with your pediatrician or registered dietitian if you require guidance.

Below are the categories of infant-appropriate foods as well as general directions on how to prepare them yourself:

  • Vegetables: Try green beans, zucchini, squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. The important thing to remember is to steam them or bake them until they are very soft and can be easily pureed in the manual food mill.
  • Infant cereal: Choose hypoallergenic grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, millet or amaranth. Grind the uncooked grains in a coffee grinder or cook them and then let the grains cool prior to pureeing in a food processor. Cook the grains as you normally would.
  • Fruit: Try soft-cooked apples, pears, plums, peaches, blueberries, bananas, cherries, mangoes, papaya, etc. You can also purchase frozen fruit that can be thawed and pureed.
  • Beans: Once your baby is age-ready to consume beans (8-9 months), you may not need to puree them completely. You may give them cooked beans that are slightly smashed with a fork. Many babies enjoy eating black beans, lima beans, pinto beans and lentils. Observe them carefully as they eat as the skin of the beans may be difficult for them to manipulate in their mouth.
  • Meat: Cook meats for a significant amount of time (10+ hours) in a slow cooker with plenty of liquid to ensure that they are very soft. Puree the meats in the electric food mill or food processor. Meats can be offered to children that are around 8-9 months of age or when your child has the ability to consume foods with a little more texture.

One tip is to add a small amount of breast milk or formula to the cooked product so that your baby experiences a familiar taste when trying new types of foods for the first time. Making your own baby food is a great way to introduce your child to real foods that they will grow up to become familiar with eating. They will be able to consume texture-appropriate versions of the foods that the rest of the family is eating. As a result, making your own baby food can save you time as well as promote healthy eating habits.

If you are interested in creating homemade baby food, but require more guidance or do not have the time, I am now offering personalized home services. I am able to create weekly menu plans for your child. I can even finish personal grocery shopping for you to purchase whole, organic ingredients for your baby’s food. I am also able to come to your house on a weekly basis to make the baby food for you or to guide you with making the baby food yourself. Click the button below for more information:

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Activity Analysis of Cookie Baking

While on winter vacation, there are so many wonderful activities that your children are already participating in that benefit their fine kids baking cookiesmotor and gross motor skills; however,you are not always aware of it. This is why it is important to take a look at the activity analysis,in order to break down the skills and components that your child is gaining from a particular activity, such as cookie baking.

The fine and gross motor skills used for cookie baking:

Purpose: To bake something yummy for your friends and family.

Supplies needed: Recipe card, ingredients, cookware (e.g. bowls, spatulas, measuring cups) and oven.

Skills involved:

  • Bilateral skills (e.g. to hold the measuring cup in one hand and pour the milk with the other hand, to stabilize the bowl with one hand and stir the spoon with the other hand)
  • Visual motor skills (e.g. to read the recipe card)
  • Upper body strength (e.g. to stir the ingredients together to form ball of dough)
  • Following directions
  •  Safety awareness (e.g. wearing oven mitts to put the cookie sheet in the oven)
  • Body awareness (e.g. to be mindful of ingredients around you- so that you don’t spill or bump into someone)
  • Fine motor skills (e.g. rolling dough into small balls and/or manipulating cookie cutters, tying a bow on an apron such as shoe tying)
  • Problem solving (e.g. if you forgot an ingredient or complete a step in the wrong order)
  • Taking turns (e.g. if it is a family activity- who is going to go first? Who gets to pour which ingredients into the bowl?)

As you see above, fun and simple everyday activities can help to address a wide variety of skills without having to think twice about it. When you’re doing these activities at home with your child, try to be attentive to tasks/skills that are the easiest for your child and those that are more difficult for your child. By categorizing these tasks, you will be able to work on these skills in a variety of contexts. As always, please feel free to contact your child’s occupational therapist if you have any questions on activity analysis or breaking down an age-appropriate task. Let the baking begin!

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Engaging Your Newborn Baby: 5 Simple Tips for Interacting with Your Baby

As a new parent, chances are that you have spent countless hours just gazing into your newborn’s eyes. However, between nonstop feedings, washing copious amounts of laundry, all of those diaper changes , and trying to sneak in a nap, some new parents may feel left in the dark when it comes to play time.  As your baby starts to become more interactive daily, you may quietly think to yourself, “Well, now what?”.

mom and infant playing

Here are some simple activities you can do with your baby throughout the day to help lay the appropriate foundation for language development:

Never underestimate the power of a smile

Babies love to look at faces. Even at an early age, they are able to be easily engaged and will focus on exaggerated facial expressions for a brief period of time. Therefore, take moments throughout the day to block off some face-to-face time. You will be amazed at how attentive your baby is during these times, and you will see him/her start to attempt to imitate the facial movements you make (especially with your tongue). They’ll get a kick out of seeing you smile, and how can you resist staring back at that adorable little toothless grin?

Turn bath time into play time

Bath time provides many opportunities for sensory exploration, so help maximize this time as much as you can by offering various textures of objects (washcloth, bubbles, water toys etc.) that contain different sensory properties. Talk about how the items look and feel, and even sing to your child during this time as well. Your baby will be calmed by the warmth of the water and soothed by the sound of your voice. Also, try to time bath time immediately before putting your child to bed in order to establish a nighttime routine.

Introduce books

You will help to facilitate a lifelong love of reading and literature when you introduce books at an early age. Provide your child with plenty of soft books and board books, which contain many bright and colorful pictures. Touch and feel books are perfect for this age, as they allow your child to be more interactive as well. Also, keep the books brief, as your little one is not exactly ready for a novel anyway. Short and simple books containing repetition are perfect for infants.

The importance of exercise

Any PT will tell you about the importance of tummy time, so help make this activity more fun and interactive for your child by providing various toys and objects for them to interact with. Try placing a child-friendly mirror directly in front of them, as your baby will love looking that the “other” baby staring back. Also, help encourage babies to follow your voice by moving to either side of them. Even at a young age, children are able to identify their parent’s voices, so by simply changing your position in relation to your baby, you will be enhancing this skill. You can also play simple games, such as peek-a-boo when facing your child, in order to keep them engaged.

Talk, talk, talk

Talk to your child throughout the day, especially when completing familiar activities such as washing the dishes, doing the laundry, and cooking dinner. Doing so will help to expose your child to the language associated with these activities. Though the “conversations” with your baby will seem very one-sided at first, over time you will notice that your baby will attempt to chime in when you are speaking. You will be able to quickly observe the give-and-take, as your child will quiet when you begin talking, then “comment” after you speak.

As a new parent, it can be completely overwhelming trying to juggle all of your responsibilities, so just remember to breathe! Don’t feel as though you have to do everything right off the bat. As you and your baby settle into a routine, you will notice that you are able to find some extra time to sneak in these activities.  By introducing just a couple of these ideas throughout the day, you will quickly notice that your child becomes more engaged during these times and will start to anticipate the activities as well.  Congratulations and welcome to the exciting world of parenthood!

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Eating Healthy on a Budget

There is a stigma that eating healthy foods results in spending a lot of money. This does not always have to be the case. Instead, we food and moneyhave to be wiser grocery shoppers, have open minds to cooking and trying new things and we must be willing to change our mindset toward spending money on food.

Rather than think of food as an expense that puts a dent in the family budget every month, think of food as an investment in you and your child’s future. The type and quality of food that you feed your family has a large impact on their overall health. Ultimately, poor health can result in costing a lot of money. The small choices you make every week at the grocery store as well as meal planning can result in having a large effect over time. Altering our perspective justifies the money that we spend on quality food, while also making food a priority in the family budget.

Here are some ideas for eating healthy on a budget:

  1. Buy local produce that is in season. Seasonal produce is less expensive because there is more produce available in the current growing season (more supply = lower prices).
  2. Shop around. Find what grocery stores in your area carry the best prices for the best quality foods. When it comes to food and your health, quality does matter.
  3. Reconsider buying in large bulk. Although it seems like you are getting a good deal when you save a little by purchasing a lot, consider the fact if your family really needs an excessive quantity of any given food around the house. Often, if it is there, it will be consumed. With this in mind, the family will likely eat more, which results in purchasing more than necessary.
  4. Incorporate new foods that are nutritious and inexpensive. Some of the most nutrient-rich and least expensive foods out there are legumes. These include beans, lentils and dried peas. Many adults and children are not huge fans of legumes. Search for appealing recipes that use legumes as the main ingredient. You will receive a lot of nutrition for your money! For example, a bag of dried green or yellow split peas costs less than $1.00 and can make a large pot of soup to feed a family of four.
  5. Consider decreasing the amount of meat you and your family eat. It is common for many Americans to over-consume calories and more specifically, protein. Meat can be a major expense. The recommended serving size for a piece of meat is 4 ounces. This amount is comparable to a deck of cards. Consider how much meat your family is consuming on a regular basis and determine if there is room to trim back. Replace excess meat portions with less expensive whole grains, legumes or seasonal produce.
  6. Eat out less; eat in more. Paying for food prepared and served by someone else is more costly compared to purchasing and preparing that food for yourself at home. In addition, when you prepare meals, you can choose healthy ingredients. Using the split pea example: A bag of dried yellow or green split peas that can feed a family of four costs less than $1.00, and a cup of plain coffee from a coffee shop costs almost $2.00.

For those who are financially able, I hope that healthy food is a priority in the family budget. It will pay off in the long run in terms of health outcomes and the quality of life. For more information on healthy meal planning on a budget, contact one of our registered dietitians to schedule an appointment.

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6 Ways to Support your Child through a Dining-Out Experience

I worked in the restaurant industry for many years as a hostess as well as a waitress. I recently observed a family out at dinner on a Saturday night. After seeing some of the behaviors of their son and hearing some feedback from their waiter, it became obvious to me that this family had a child with special needs.  Shortly after ordering food, the family had to request that their food be boxed up to take home instead of eating at the restaurant. I found this to be very unfortunate, as there were many actions the restaurant could have taken to accommodate this family’s needs.

Mother and daughter restaurant

Eating out at a restaurant is like participating in a dance. Everyone needs to know the right steps to make the dance smooth and make sure no one’s toes are stepped on. What diners don’t understand is that they are very much a part of this dance. Typically, waiters are able to read their tables and determine their needs. As a server, I am able to determine the timing and tempo desired by diners and make sure their food is delivered appropriately. Knowing what accommodations you can ask for is important.

The following tips will better prepare you to make the requests you need. A restaurant staff should be able to accommodate these needs no matter what time of day:

Know the menu

Before going out to a restaurant, look at possible food items you would like to order. You do not need to pre-order your food as cravings change when you get to the restaurant, but becoming familiar with the available foods will help make an order quicker. This can also assist in talking to your children about the restaurant. They could choose what they want to eat and become excited about going! It will also make an unfamiliar environment feel more familiar.

Request a quiet table

Request a table in a quiet area that has some space for movement. Try to avoid tables in the middle of dining areas or ones that are far from the exit or bathroom.

Call ahead and ask about existing reservations

Parties of 15 or more tend to be very loud and take up a lot of the dining space. Avoid going to restaurants during the time of the party. Once my restaurant had a reservation for 70 people! It took up the entire dining space. Also, the time it takes for the kitchen to prepare the food was extended for other diners in the restaurant at that time.  From the time the waiters placed the food order, it took the kitchen one full hour to make it!

Order everything all at once

Order your drinks and food all at the same time. Waiters control the pace of your meal and how soon your food arrives.  Let your waiter know what your dining experience looks like.  Do you want your food all at once?  Do you want your child’s food first?  If you need your meal fast, just inform them and they can make it happen. Restaurants are able to deliver food within 10-12 minutes of ordering, maybe sooner.

Tell your waiter about your child’s needs

Be an advocate for your child. Create a “menu” of your child’s needs before going to the restaurant. For example, you can say, “my name is _____. I like to have my food delivered quickly. When this does not happen, I can become upset. When I am upset, it may look like this­­­_______.”  By doing this, your waiter will understand your child’s needs and can work to have them met. This also helps further prepare your child for going out to eat.

Be prepared

Bring tabletop activities for your child to enjoy while waiting for the food to be delivered. Perhaps ask for a table with extra space so that there is plenty of room on the table for cups, plates, and activities.  Also, talk with your child ahead of time about the restaurant experience. Create a visual schedule to follow and label the dining expectations.  First, we sit down, then the server takes our order,  then we receive our drinks, then we color/read/watch a show for a certain amount of time ( you can ask your server how long the food will take),  then we receive our food,  and finally we eat.

Knowing what accommodations you can ask for is important.  By knowing these tips, you will be better prepared to make the requests you need to make your “dance” smooth.

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5 Reasons to Cook for the Family!

Most parents would agree that good nutrition for their kids is a priority, but it is difficult to put that priority into action on a daily basis. Parents today family cookingare busier than ever. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that as of 2011, both parents are working in 58.5% of married-couple families (1). This is compared to 51% in 1998 and 33% in 1976 (2). Also, the labor force participation rate (the percent of the population working or looking for work) for all mothers with children under age 18 was 70.6% in 2011 (1). More time at work for parents means less time at home to make meals for the family. And of course it takes additional time to plan meals, find recipes, and grocery shop for the food.

As a dietitian, it is my job to educate families on the importance of nutrition and how to achieve good nutrition status, especially for growing children and those who have special healthcare needs. But I am also able to personally help those busy parents and families by offering in-home cooking sessions, meal planning, and grocery store visits. In this way, better nutrition status as well as nutrition education can be accomplished.

Here are 5 reasons why cooking from home is so important:

  1. It is almost always healthier. Cooking from home, especially when using whole food ingredients, most often means fewer calories, fat, sodium, preservatives, and other additives than eating out or eating packaged convenience foods. Alternatively, excessive calories, fat, and sodium are implicated in cardiovascular disease, hypertension, overweight and obesity, cancer, and many other chronic medical conditions.
  2. It is often cheaper. When you crunch the numbers, it can be much more affordable to buy ingredients to make meals from home (which may also provide leftovers for future meals) than it is to buy those same meals out at a restaurant. In other words, you could feed your whole family spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, and breadsticks for less than what that meal would cost to serve one family member at a restaurant.
  3. Home-cooked food instills good eating habits. When you are planning family meals, you are making an effort to include a variety of healthy foods. When you take time to make the meal and share the meal with the family, you have the opportunity to be a role model for healthy eating. You can also have positive discussions about eating well and what is nutritious about the meal.
  4. Cooking at home provides a platform for establishing and sharing family traditions. Food and cooking are a big part of cultural traditions. That is, if your family continues to cook and share meals that your relatives and ancestors did. If we stop making and sharing these recipes, then we lose that aspect of our family’s culture that makes us who we are. Instead we may end up aligned with the “culture” of major food corporations and their marketing efforts.
  5. Research shows that eating as a family has numerous positive effects on children. In fact, studies have demonstrated that teenagers who regularly eat dinner with their families are healthier, happier, do better in school and engage in fewer risky behaviors than teenagers who don’t regularly eat family dinners (3, 4). Again, the family dinner is a great platform for communicating with your kids. It is a chance to really hear about what is going with them and show them that you are engaged in their lives.

To make an appointment with a registered dietitian at North Shore Pediatric Therapy who can help YOUR family, call 877-486-4140 to schedule an appointment. Our registered dietitians offer grocery store shopping and/or education sessions, meal planning services to meet your families’ nutrition needs, and in-home cooking services. We are happy to help make your life easier and your family healthier.


Schedule A Nutrition       Assessment


1. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/famee.nr0.htm
2. Tamar Lewin, “Now a Majority: Families With 2 Parents Who Work,” New York Times, October 24, 2000.
3. Eisenberg, M.E., Olson, R.E., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Story, M., & Bearinger, L.H. (2004). Correlations between family meals and psychosocial well-being among adolescents. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 158, 792-796.
4. Lyttle, J., & Baugh, E. (2008). The importance of family dinners. Gainesville, FL: Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. FY 1054, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1054.

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Household Chores for Children by Age

Children doing household choresWith school, holidays and less time to keep up with household chores, parents everywhere are looking for a few more helping hands to keep “home base” spick and span. Here is a brief overview of developmentally appropriate household chores:

Here is a brief overview of the developmental sequence of household chores:

Chores for a 13 month old:

Your child should begin to imitate you completing household chores. Pushing a pretend vacuum cleaner over the carpeting or helping you wipe up their craft table are excellent examples.

Chores for a 2 year old:

Your child should demonstrate the ability to pick up and put away their toys with verbal reminders (e.g. clean-up your puzzle before lunch).

Chores for a 3 year old:

Your child should be able to carry things without dropping them; dusting, drying dishes, and gardening. They should also be able to wipe up their spills.

Chores for a 4 year old:

Your child should be able to prepare dry cereal and snacks for themselves. They should also be able to help sort laundry before washing.

Chores for a 5 year old:

Your child should be able to put their toys away neatly, make a sandwich, take out the trash, make their bed, put dirty clothes in their hamper, and appropriately answer the telephone.

Chores for a 6 year old:

Your child should be able to help you with simple errands: complete household chores without redoing them, clean the sink, wash dishes with assistance, and cross the street safely.

Chores for a 7-9 year old:

Around 7-9 years of age, your child should begin to cook simple meals, put clean clothes away, hang up their clothes, manage small amounts of money, and use a telephone correctly.

Chores for a 10-12 year old:

Your child should have the ability to cook simple meals with supervision, complete simple household repairs with appropriate tools, begin doing laundry, set the table, wash dishes, and care for a family pet with reminders.

Chores for a 13-14 year old:

Your child should be able to independently do laundry and cook meals. By expecting your child to complete daily chores before moving onto their preferred activities, it is a wonderful way to prepare them for the demands of homework and other activities when they return to school.

Children of all ages can contribute to keeping up with housework. In addition to keeping your house clean, chores are also an excellent way to instill a sense of ownership and responsibility into your child’s daily routine. Your child could be responsible for one or two chores each day, or each week, depending on the time they have available. Create your own system for keeping track of the chores your child has completed (ex. sticker chart or a marble jar). Each time your child completes their chore, reward them with one token (ex. one sticker or one marble). When they reach 10 tokens, reward them with a bigger prize of their choosing (ex. an ice cream treat or a trip to the zoo). Be sure to verbally praise your child with each attempt at completing a chore and assist them as needed, especially while they work to complete a novel duty. Your verbal encouragement paired with the reward system will only help to motivate your child to take on more and more responsibility at home.

Fleming-Castaldy, R. P. (2009). National Occupational Therapy Certification Exam: Review and
Study Guide. Evanston, IL: International Educational Resources, Ltd.

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