Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Teaching Children to Help-- Part 3

A Few Pointers:

1) Make it fun! If work is going to be a daily part of the day, try to make it as enjoyable as possible. We often play music as we're cleaning up to encourage speed and pleasure. Sometimes we have races to see who can put away laundry to fastest. (You have to be careful and make sure this remains friendly!) The kids also think it is fun to use a step ladder or a feather duster to reach high places while they are cleaning. Whatever makes things fun.

2) Accept the fact that it working together may be more time consuming at first than working alone. It is such a temptation for me to make the bed or set the table or transfer the wet clothes to the dryer myself rather than include the kids because I can do it so much faster when I don't have to supervise! However, this does them a disservice. With time, they will be able to do these things without supervision and will actually save time.

3) Accept that children are little and not always the perfectionists you would like them to be! This goes along with #3. As long as they are doing their best and not being careless, I often have to overlook some things. For example, my kids are in charge of folding kitchen towels and most of the time they are not folded as neatly and symmetrically as I would like. (I'm OCD!) BUT once they are placed in the basket above our sink, who even notices? Plus we wash enough dishes and clean up enough spills that the towels rarely stay folded for long!

4) Allow plenty of fun time after work. Just as I need some downtime after chores, so do the children. Make sure the day has lots of time for reading, playing, going outside, napping (if the children are young or even if they are not!)...


  1. Great series!
    I could not help thinking of Dad's saying, "I love to see my kids work!" Really though, it IS so good for the children to feel a vital part of the family "team"...and it's SO much easier to learn to work when you're young.
    Love, Mom

  2. Found you on Crystal's blog... I love this series and hope there is more to come. I enjoy including my 18 month old in a days work and am always up for new ideas!

  3. Ha! I was thinking of Dad--and his famous quote-- when I wrote this!


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