One of my goals is to raise my children to be hard workers. I want them to be capable and confident in their abilities. Most of all, I want them to find hard work enjoyable and rewarding. I want them to know work is not a punishment, but an important part of our everyday life. There's joy to be found in even the most menial tasks!
So, every once in awhile I thought I'd share a glimpse of how we are doing it. This is the second. The first can be found here.
I've noticed that all my children, even when they are babies, like to feel helpful and important. They are hardly mobile before they are closing cabinets and drawers, and by the time they are walking, they are certainly ready for more.
We start early on by asking our babies to throw away their diapers when they have been changed, and help clean up their occasional spills with a damp rag. This isn't a punishment, but is happily done!
As we work outside in fair weather, we let our babies help us. Of course, there are times when their help actually makes our work trickier. But, we still feel it's a great opportunity to allow them to learn to be an important part of our family team. Our babies dig, plant, push, pick up, weed, sweep, stack, rake, and more. Everything they see us do, they naturally want to try to imitate, so it's a perfect time to teach them.
Indoors, my babies have all enjoyed helping with dishes and laundry. At the dishwasher, they love to load and unload utensils and plastic dishes. With laundry, they love to carry dirty clothes to the hamper, or carry clean clothes from the dryer to the couch where we fold them. They also begin, at this age, to carry their folded clothes to put them away.
When we encourage our little ones to do a job, do it as well as they can, and contribute to the family in a tangible and meaningful way, they love it! They gain confidence in their abilities and independence. This makes for happy babies, who soon grow into willing and helpful toddlers and children.
Of course, this all sounds very ideal. All of our kids have had their phases of resisting helping, just like anybody else's. Make no mistake about that!
What jobs do your babies and toddlers enjoy helping with?