Did you know that in many cultures throughout the world, parents invite their children into their daily work from an early age?
This NY Times read is a must if you’re feeling like the 24 hour event planner for your children.
This week, try focusing on practical life skills with your kids, and getting some to-do items checked off your list.
Invite your child into your world as you take care of projects around the house this week. Try to identify any small way that they could actually help you, even if it slows you down a bit.
If you’ve never done this before, expect some resistance. But over time, don’t underestimate the ability of your child to become a helpful assistant and self-entertaining wizard!
(And, if they scamper off to play something else, no need to stop them! Count it as a win and let them play.)
If you’re stuck, here are some ideas to try that your children might love:
1. Give Your Toys A Bath: Gather up your child’s favorite toys (or any household items that need a scrub), and fill a bucket with soapy water. Show them how to clean and dry the toys. You could also do this with your outdoor balls and toys that have been gathering dirt all winter.
2. Sparkly Windows: Let your child know that you’d like to have the sparkliest windows on the street. Ask them if they’d help you get them nice and clean. Give your child a spray bottle and a cloth and show them how to clean the windows. They’ll love toddling around after you, and if they lose interest after awhile, that’s fine, too!
(If they’re not interested in helping to clean the windows, maybe they’d like to make a drawing to hang up in the window.)
3. Beaming Bouquets: Does your kitchen table need a pick-me-up? Gather some dandelions, pretty twigs, or other flowers and greenery from outside. Set them out on a tray with some jars and a pitcher of water. Have them pour the water into the jar, snip the flowers the correct length, and arrange them into a lovely little bouquet. It’s a Montessori favorite!
4. At The Carwash: Is there a child around who doesn’t love to help with this job? Throw on your favorite jams, and get your vehicle sparkly clean with the help of your child. Clear out the junk, wipe down the interior, vacuum it out, and scrub down the exterior. (This might be a good activity to combine with the toy bath suggested above.)
5. Magic Dust: The magic dust that makes the world go round has settled onto your tables and counters. Hand your child a spray bottle of safe cleaner (or even water!) and a soft vloth. Ask them for their help dusting the hard, flat surfaces in your home.
6. Eggs In A Basket: Prep some hardboiled eggs, and let your child peel them. This is great for their fine-motor skills and has the potential to engage them for quite some time. Other food prep activities they can help you with are cutting bananas, (and other fruits and vegetables at your discretion), pouring food into the pan, and sprinkling spices, cheese, etc.
7. Plant Power: Hand them a watering can and off they go! Help them understand how much water each plant needs and how often. Or, hand them some gloves and have them help collect yard waste and put them into bags.
Do you have a garden? Let them help you pull weeds and tend to the plants. It’s the best science lesson they’ll have all week!
8. Folding Fun: Let your child practice their folding skills with dish towels, wash cloths, and socks. (If the folding job is beyond repair, which it often is, you can always redo it.
They’ll learn eventually!)
Bonus tip: Are you tired of your child asking you for water all day? Set up a safe, age appropriate water pouring station where they can pour the water themselves. There will definitely be spills to clean up, put you can set out a stack of towels nearby so they can easily clean up. They’ll get the hang of it eventually!
How do you spring clean with your kids? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.