I am a big believer in young children joining in with household chores. Notice I didn’t say “helping out”. Because often joining in does not mean helping, sometimes it means just the opposite! But by joining in children are participating, and through that participation they are learning about being a part of a family and what that involves.
Some of the jobs that Pebble loves to help out with are hanging out washing, washing dishes, putting dishes away, dusting, packing up toys (least favourite, I will admit), carrying bags, putting away groceries, baking and cooking.
I’m not saying that it’s always convenient or that we are always finding ourselves in Disney Movie Moments, whistling while we work and happily finishing chores together. However, I do find that if I am patient and willing to go a little slower it actually helps me to get jobs done if Pebble is involved. If she is happily busy she won’t be pulling at my trackies and begging me to play with her. Because we ARE ALREADY PLAYING.
As the weather has turned wetter we have had to bring our laundry inside to dry. This gives the best opportunity for Pebble to join in with hanging out the washing – our clothes horse is just the right height for her, and she loves to peg up the smaller items. She is quite particular about it too – one must always use matching coloured pegs per item of clothing, apparently. I guess these things come naturally rather than being nurtured, as I am most definitely a haphazard peg user. Check out Baby Mac for a discussion on this big issue, as well as other critical laundry matters.
Apart from getting a job done and learning about what it means to be a part of a family, allow me to get a little Early Childhood Educator-like on y’all and point out a few other things going on with this washing business… like the development of fine motor control and hand-eye coordination, practising colour identification, using strategy and logic (um, sometimes) when choosing where and how to hang a piece of clothing, creatively inventing new songs – or reinventing old ones – to connect with what she is doing (check out the video below for some singing in action).
No fancy toys, no preparation, just naturally occurring, child focussed, meaningful play. And getting jobs done! Super Mum Moment!
What jobs do your children like to help out with? What jobs do you WISH your children would help out with? Do you use matching coloured pegs too?