young boy with broomWhen you’re tidying up the house and a youngster is underfoot, instead of fabricating play activities, invite him or her to share in family chores and responsibilities. For example, when preparing a meal, provide real tools and instructions for operating them. Keep the tools simple, like a hand operated eggbeater or a carrot peeler. If the equipment is placed at an appropriate height, there will be fewer spills – of child or equipment.
Before each task, give clear instructions and provide the materials that will be needed. Be clear about what the result will be when the task is completed. While preparing to wash dishes or load the dishwasher, children may be assigned the job of sorting the silverware. In the dining room, offer a damp cloth to remove finger marks from the woodwork or a soft cloth for dusting furniture in the living room. Wastebaskets can be emptied into larger receptacles. In the bathroom, there may be a tendency to splash in the water unless you suggest genuine work.
Allow youngster to wipe off spray cleaner from mirrors, windows, or tile. There are many reasons for recommending practical experiences in the home:
• The exercise is equal to, if not superior to, such things as push-ups or knee bends.
• The need to pay attention – to choose, arrange, and use equipment and materials – is a school-readiness skill.
• The ability to make decisions and then change them when they turn out poorly is essential for cognitive learning.
• The recognition and confidence gained for a job well done – as well as contributing to the family’s upkeep – builds up good feelings about oneself.