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Starting school again - Practise your child's independence through daily chores

August 26, 2020

What happened? When did the little baby which fell asleep with the pacifier in its mouth become an independent individual with its own thoughts, feelings and behaviors?

Looking at your child and realizing how the years have gone too fast arouses strong feelings in most parents, to say the least. A wave of sentimentality and at the same time an enormous joy, pride and fascination. This joy and pride is exactly what we will focus on in this blog post as we describe how you can be involved, have control and at the same time let the child develop to become more independent in the right way.

It’s not uncommon as a parent to feel that you are sitting in the grandstand looking down on your child's development without being able to influence it, nor is it uncommon to wake up one morning and suddenly get the feeling of having missed four or maybe even five of the child's first years. Most parents testify that the time passes quickly and that the child's development takes place in all dimensions at the same time; physically and motorically, mentally and cognitively as well as socially and interactively. As a parent, it is therefore difficult to keep up and even impossible to be involved in everything imaginable.

However, compensating for the feeling of not keeping up by limiting the child's exposure to what is perceived as “adult” is not the right way to go. The child will then just slip behind and find it difficult to adapt later in life. Of course, a child should be allowed to be a child, but the impressions, education and exercise should not be stopped or slowed down, but instead be adapted based on the child's age and ability. The goal is to allow the child to become more and more independent so that in the future he or she can navigate his / her way into life's predictable and unpredictable situations on his or her own. In combination with nursing and love, this is often seen as a parent's most important task. Something researcher Julie Lythcott-Haims from Harvard University describes in an article in the journal Business Insider (which you can read here).

Financial education is a crucial factor for the child's future

At Gimi, we specialize in children's financial development, their ability to understand what money is and how it is earned, saved and spent wisely. We want to give children the conditions to be able to independently navigate a financial landscape and make wise financial decisions on their own. We do this by daily exposing the child to different financial situations so that they easily get routine in their financial education. Adding recurring practices of financial literacy to everyday life is often easier than you might think and the easiest way to start is to add the new behavior when everyday life changes on other levels as well. Starting back at school is in fact an excellent opportunity! The child's first week in a new class is often a bit hectic and full of new impressions, therefore, we recommend to start them with new chores and activities in the Gimi app the week after, when the nervousness subsides but before all new routines are in place.

However, the development of financial literacy is something that often ends up in oblivion when the question of children's cognitive and social maturity comes up. According to the teacher and author Erik Wennstam, the fact that financial literacy is forgotten or ignored can result in serious consequences for both the individual and society as a whole. In an interview (which you can find here) he describes how economic education is one of the most important factors for an equal society where the issue of gender and social background is bridged.

"The fact that we continue to keep the financial education in the margin is a betrayal of today's children"

This is how you make financial education become everyday

An additional obstacle to children's financial understanding is that financial education seldom becomes part of the child's everyday life, even if a financial literacy is required to cope with many daily situations. You can think of these situations to include planning dinner, refueling the car, going to work or having a coffee with a friend, they all affect our finances without us reflecting on it. Therefore, Gimi wants to make it easier for families to educate their children in exactly these situations. We believe that it can be both fun and exciting to learn about money as long as there are inspiring tools to work with. Why not read one of our recent pieces on how we use the mascot and chat bot Piggy to give children inner and outer motivation for financial learning. You can find it here: Who is ‘Piggy’? Learn about Gimi’s in-app companion for kids into financial education

It is therefore not enough for the child to read a text during one lesson on home and consumer knowledge at school to learn about money, something the economist Mikael Elinder and the stock market analyst Nicklas Andersson emphasize when they are interviewed together with Gimi's CEO Philip Haglund in the podcast Ledarredaktionen (which you can listen to here). The child needs to practically be able to test this knowledge in their daily environment and understand how the theoretical knowledge can be used. Therefore, the Gimi app contains tasks that require practical implementation, tasks that justify regularity and tasks that contribute to reflection and create commitment. In the app, we not only want to contribute to the child creating a financial understanding, but also that he or she practices his or her abilities to take responsibility, practices his or her creative thinking and creates an understanding of how to protect the environment. See the examples below.

Chores for increased responsibility:

  • Doing homework as planned
  • Babysitting for younger siblings
  • Packing the gym bag yourself

Chores for increased creativity:

  • Plan and cook a dinner yourself
  • Make a flea market one weekend
  • Read a book

Chores to protect the climate:

  • Recycle cans
  • Make dinner with leftovers
  • Turn all the lights off

If you want to gain further inspiration and immediately benefit from a routine with all chores, you can even add Gimi's weekly calendar into your own digital calendar. Then you will receive a notification when it’s time for a new chore and all instructions are attached to the calendar event. Read more and download the weekly calendar by clicking here.

How do household chores contribute to children's development?

Household chores are a topic which all families deal with and also have different approaches and methods for. Regardless of what method you have in your family, Gimi wants to be helpful to you! As everyday stress can easily make creativity deficient, we have simply solved it for our customers by collecting a lot of alternatives in the app where you and your child can learn and play in a fun way.

We have divided the chores into different categories in order to further facilitate you with your planning. For example, there is a handy category called "back to school", perfect to start with now that a new school term is starting. It’s here where you can choose to select if your child should start with the chore of packing their own gym bag or making their bed before school. The chores are also divided based on what may suit younger and older children best, respectively, so that you can easily navigate it for your family set up. Tasks suiting different ages for children is something that 1177 Vårdguiden describes even further in its articles which we have linked to here.

To bring this to life for you, an 8 or 9 year old may find it difficult and a bit scary with increased responsibility, but at the same time as it is a prerequisite for the child's development. They explain how the child grows enormously by packing the gym bag themself. This is because it contributes to the child gaining a stronger self-confidence and thereby increases his or her ability to become more independent.

“It can be difficult for the child to remember excursion days, fruit, gym bags, fit times, keep track of keys and find the right address. But being able to do such things strengthens self-confidence and makes the child better at handling everything else in his life. It is good to start with a responsibility and then expand with more when it works, so that the child feels that he succeeds.”

In a similar way, the psychology blog Utforska sinnet (Explore the Mind) describes that chores that require a certain amount of personal responsibility develop children's ability to become independent. According to the author, the chore should not be too heavy but adapted based on the child's age. For example, chores such as dressing oneself and keeping one's room tidy may be sufficient to increase the independence of a younger child, while the responsibility should increase as the child gets older. The full post can be found here: 7 tips för att uppfostra självständiga barn (7 tips for raising independent children)

Be patient about your child's development

Some chores may not seem "helpful" to you as a parent at first glance, it will probably take longer if your child writes the shopping list than if you do it to raise one example. But by letting your child practice recurrent, he or she will eventually get into a technique that makes it go faster and that you will eventually be relieved. To quote the psychologist and author Lina Bodestad:

“As a parent, you may also need to examine yourself: what is really a reasonable level of how clean and tidy we should have it at home? Can I accept the children taking responsibility for their rooms - even if it means constant bombing chaos there?”

In a similar way, 1177 Vårdguiden describes that it is good to let the child try for themselves first before you as a parent helps out. Then the child learns what he or she can or cannot do and thereby gets the opportunity to feel satisfied and happy to be able to solve different problems themselves (read the whole article here). To make everything time-efficient or prevent the child from practicing what is perceived as "adult things" is just to do both yourself and your child a disservice. In the Gimi app, we therefore motivate you as a parent to choose that the activity should be recurring every week, so that the child can practice his or her skills on regularly basis.

How does Gimi motivate my child's creative development?

According to research from Michigan State University in the USA, creativity can improve a child's ability to solve problems and at the same time increase the child's ability to be successful. The research showed how children who had artistic activities practiced their ability to think outside the box, something that later made them more high-performing in the sense that they owned companies, published scientific articles or had taken various types of patents. If you want to read more about this research, you will find Forskning och Framstegs article here: Kreativa barn blir framgångsrika vuxna and the research here.

Creativity is something we at Gimi strongly advocate and therefore want to inspire children within. Watch this movie, for example How to earn money where we describe how to make money by finding problems that can be solved. This is something you as a parent can keep in mind when giving your child chores at home. As a suggestion, you can let your child come up with a chore, which is not available as a suggestion in the Gimi app, and thereby challenge their creative thinking.

How do I let my child become financially independent?

In a previous blog post (which can be found here: When is my child ready for their own card?) we described various signs of when it is probably time to give your child their own card and therefore giving your child the additional conditions to become more independent. In the post you can read about the memory rule SCAR, consisting of the parameters season, comprehension, age and responsibility. You can then as a result let your child become more independent in connection with a significant time such as starting school, when the child has reached a certain level of comprehension (tip: ask your child to do the card test), time it in connection with an increased or landmark age (9-10 years is most common to get your own card) or even when the child has been given increased responsibility in other areas, such as being given their own home key.

Giving the child their own card so that they can pay for themselves and thereby also give them the opportunity to learn from their own financial behavior is a good way to make their child more financially independent.

Are you ready for smarter pocket money?