This weekend, we’re discussing learning by living…one of the best teachers of all time.
Since our son could confidently walk and understand instruction (that happens much earlier than the walking), we’ve encouraged him to take part in helping out around the home.
There are times when I’m the sole person picking up a bunch of toys on the floor, but usually, my son is eager to do this task with me or on his own. He races as fast as he can to put away his toy cars and trains.
Sometimes we make it a game…
The incentive may be to pick up the toys before an even more fun event occurs, such as helping me in the kitchen with dinner.
Besides picking up toys, Calvin learned to put his dirty clothes (and sometimes clean clothes) in the laundry hamper.
When I ask, or often without prompting, he’ll throw away paper bits or other rubbish into the nearest trash can.
Not that I’m particularly fond of this activity, but after he goes into his potty (after repeatedly see his daddy and me dump it into the toilet), he also has taken the initiative to dump the contents. At first, I objected because that left a much greater mess for me to clean.
Now, I let him do it…and he seldom spills a drop. He’s got the pour down perfectly.
The more household chores and tasks he sees us do, the more he wants to do them, too. For our son, work is fun, and it’s not a chore. Sure, I have to oversee some of his activities, and often I have a bigger mess to clean up than if he’d never got involved, but he’s learning and appreciating everything from preparing snacks and meals to taking out the trash.
I realize the day will come when he no longer considers these things fun, but for now, I love watching him grow in independence and confidence enjoying the things that need to be done. It’s such fun for us as a family!
Jokingly, I tell my husband that I yearn for the day when our son will do his own laundry (since I have an infinite pile of washing or folding to do almost every day—it never ends!).
Well, that day has arrived.
I’d asked Calvin to drag the laundry hamper to the laundry room. Not only was he having a blast pulling it along the tile floor, but he proceeded to pull out each article of dirty clothing to show me and name it. Uhm, yeah, thanks for holding up Mommy’s dirty socks. That’s great! (and so on, and so forth).
When I checked on him, I realized the hamper wasn’t nearly as full as it was when I handed it to him. Sure enough, he was busy loading up the washer with everything. His big brown hooded moose towel, and my white athletic socks.
I didn’t undo his efforts in front of him. Rather, his daddy and I both clapped and praised him for doing such an awesome big boy task. I lauded him for being a great Mommy’s helper. (Later on, when he was busy doing something else, I pulled the whites out of the washer load and started the wash cycle).
Confession: There are times when I’d rather he didn’t help me in the kitchen (most of the time), and when I’m folding laundry, he’s jumping on the piles or “putting it away” by dumping a stack of clothes into a basket in his closet.
In my mind, I calculate the amount of time it will take me to fix the mess. Some days, I’m not a calm and relaxed mommy, and I get a little uptight about the extra “work”. Other days (and I wish this was my attitude all the time), I enjoy watching my son learn and grow and find that far more valuable than sweeping up spilled buckwheat flour on the kitchen floor.
YOUR TURN: What’s your approach to picking up your child’s toys? Do you do all of it? Do you “race” with your child and make it a fun game? Do you offer a reward? In what other ways do you involve your child for household tasks?