Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Getting Your Child to Help Out

1951 Girl with washingImage by theirhistory via Flickr

It is never to early to get your child to help out around the house. I really believe the earlier this habit is instilled the better. Liv is only 15 months old and she helps me unload the dishwasher, put toys away, hands me clothes pins when I am hanging wash on the line and put things in the trash or laundry basket for me. She also "helps" wash dishes by sitting next to me while washing. She also "helps" me cook and bake. She loves mixing.
She really enjoys helping me out and I enjoy teaching her how to maintain our home. It is so wonderful to help her feel capable of doing things for herself and others, make her feel that her help makes a difference, and to connect to her in simple ways.
These are all very important for a child of any age. Too often parents want to do it all for their children, but they are doing themselves and their children a great disservice. When children can they should. If children don't feel they are capable they feel worthless, dependent (in a negative way) and incompetent. Doing everything for you child also makes them feel entitled, makes them lazy, selfish and self-centered. They also can become very unappreciative of the things you are doing for them and things other people do for them.
Now her helping can be additional work for me. It takes time to wait for her to unload each fork at a time, to hand me a clothespin or to wait for her to waddle over with some laundry. But isn't time a patience what being a good parent is about? I am teaching her simple skills, but the fact that I am making her feel valuable, teaching her to be appreciated and appreciate, teaching teamwork and the value of helping each other and doing things for one another makes all the extra time worth it.
And I really do enjoy doing these simple things with her. I look back on my own childhood and I don't remember my mom playing with me on the floor, I remember folding laundry together, or baking cookies.
Another plus of getting child to help out early is hopefully in the future she will take over some chores and help our family run smoother. My house may not look perfect, but it feels like a home and all who in it help make it this way. We are creating many great memories in just the daily rhythm of our day.
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  1. agree, our little one do lots of chores around the house, well our 3 1/2 year old and 2 years old do, our 6 month old job is to be cute LOL

  2. I have my 2 1/2 year old scrape his (plastic) plate clean and put it in the sink. Sometimes he does it without me telling him to, but he let's me know when he is finished eating.

  3. Here's another thing toddlers can "help" with: sqeezing lemons or limes for a marinade or for lemonade. Or they can help in the kitchen by letting them help you prepare a meal by having them help you crush croutons or cereal to make bread crumbs for your chicken or fish or whatever else you like breaded.

  4. Mrs.Stam, Hi I am a mother of two boys and in need of more ideas to have my toddler be more included in the daily chores. I want him to learn to be helpful and considerate as well as help him with basic skills and such. What are lot's of chores I can have my toddler do? What are the lot's of chores you have yours do?

  5. My sister's name is Liv. I'm shocked to see another girl with that name!

  6. I do sometimes have Liv crush things like graham crackers or whatever when baking. But she always tries to get in the bag and eat it :)