Learning by Doing: Chores for Your Preschooler Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired
If your child didn’t have a visual impairment, would you expect him to have chores or household responsibilities at his age? If your answer is yes, then have the same expectations of your child who is visually impaired. There are some good reasons to give your child a few household chores that he does either daily or weekly.
- You’re sending him the message that he’s part of the household. Everyone else has chores—mom takes out the trash, dad cooks breakfast, and his big brother gets the mail after school.
- Your child can learn many new things by doing chores, especially if you make the task educational for him. For example, if one of his chores is to set the table each night, he’ll learn to do some counting. If there are five people in the family, he’ll need five plates, five cups, and five of everything else required.
- With some creativity, you can help build your child’s literacy skills as well. You can have a simple chore chart, either in print or braille, where together you can place a star or sticker your child can feel (make your own or purchase tactile stickers—your child’s teacher of students with visual impairments may be able to give some to you).
If you decide your child should have chores, think about what his strengths, interests, and needs are. If he’s receiving special education services and his educational team, including you, agreed he needs to work on his fine motor skills, then a chore like having to fold the washcloths and towels might be a good task for him to do. At this young age, he may not do a chore perfectly, but you’re teaching him responsibility and giving him new experiences. With practice and maturity, he’ll learn to be more efficient and accurate in completing the chores you and he decide he’ll have responsibility for. Some chores that are appropriate for children of preschool age include:
- Putting away toys after they’ve been played with
- Putting nonbreakable items on the table or clearing them off the table following a meal
- Wiping the table with a sponge or damp rag before or after the meal
- Sorting silverware when it comes out of the dishwasher (sharp items must first be removed by an adult)
- Picking up items left in a room and putting these in one place, like a basket that is kept in the living room for things family members need to take to their rooms
- Watering plants with a child-size watering can
- Getting the mail, with adult supervision, or putting out letters to be mailed