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Your 4-year-old now
What do chore charts, incentive programs, and family rules have in common? They all offer the structure that a 4-year-old needs. They let your child know what's expected of him: "If I clean up my toys all week and Mommy marks off each day on the chart, I get a trip to the dollar store."
Admittedly, rules and programs are a lot of work to maintain. You have to think them up, explain them to your child, and then be consistent about following through. Make it easier on yourself — and boost your odds of successful results — by not using more than one incentive chart at a time. It can be hard to stick to a routine when you're juggling schedules of multiple children or if you have a demanding job, but if you can dig in and stay consistent, you'll reap the rewards. Often the very presence of a chart inspires your child to keep up with it even when you forget. Don't be surprised if he's the one reminding you that he did his chore and is ready for a gold star.
Your life now
Your child can brush his teeth (somewhat), wash and dry his hands and face, and perhaps comb his hair — well, sort of. No doubt you're happy to check those tasks off your daily to-do list. Cutting nails is one chore your child won't be ready to take over for a while, but some kids like to help by working an emery board over the rough spots after you finish or by having you cut each nail almost all the way and letting them tug it off themselves.
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