Tag Archive | chores

Keeping up the Good Work

Today’s post is about purposeful and meaningful work for children.  What qualifies as meaningful work for children?  How will your tot benefit by engaging in these types of activities? How can you incorporate meaningful work for your child into daily life?

Here’s one activity we did today from the Leaping Lilies curriculum

 This week’s Theme: Bed Time

Activity DescriptionChores: Teach your tot how to make his/her bed.  Make it his/her responsibility each day.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Emotional Learning

Specific Skill: Doing ‘real’ work

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 2 years + 5 months

 

  • What is meant by real work?

– It’s Not Pretend: Real, meaningful work for children is not the kind where you are sweeping and your little one is sweeping beside you with a toy version of a broom.  It’s not when you give your tot a menial ‘task’ to keep him occupied while you actually do the ‘real’ work.  Real work is completing jobs that are useful and actually need to get done.

– It’s Done Independently: While it may be necessary to help and guide the first couple of times a job is attempted, eventually real work is something your tot can do independently.  However, even though your tot is doing things independently, this doesn’t mean that you can’t work together.  Take gardening as an example.  You can be gardening together, but you are not standing over your tot saying what needs to be done.  Your tot has a meaningful job in the garden (a job that needs doing) and she does it (while you are also in the garden doing your job).  It could even be the same job (like watering) but you are not holding the watering can together.  Your tot has a watering can and is responsible for a certain portion of the garden while you have your watering can, watering another portion of the garden.  Thus, you are working together, but also independently.

– It Benefits Others: Real and meaningful work for children is not simply done for reward or personal gain, it affects and/or helps others.  It’s not something like cleaning up toys to earn a sticker or a ‘plus’ on the reward chart.  We can use gardening again as an example where many people would benefit from their work.  (Children who consistently engage in this kind of work continue to be of benefit to their families and communities throughout their lives because they have experienced and realized the importance and joy of benefiting others, rather than only themselves.)

 

  • How can doing ‘real’ work benefit my child?

– A Sense of Purpose: Engaging in useful work provides a sense of purpose and pride (the same goes for adults!). Your children will  feel productive and see that they are a valuable and contributing member of your family.

– Overcoming Obstacles: Challenging  your children with meaningful work provides you with an opportunity to encourage them to persevere through difficulties, instilling in them a feeling of achievement.  By providing an opportunity to achieve something more difficult, you can raise their self-esteem in a very concrete way.  They will realize, through action, what they are capable of.

 

  • What kinds of work?

The types of meaningful work for children is varied and really depends on the age of your child and your family circumstances.  For very young children (like mine) it could be simple chores. For school aged children perhaps things like cooking and gardening.  For teens it could be house repairs/maintenance or even paid employment.  In all cases, the work should be safe (or in the case of older children, they should know what the safety concerns are, how to avoid accidents and what to do if an accident occurs).

 

  • M making her bed – The girls really enjoy doing this and I am often surprised by how much attention to detail there is. It was  a bit slow today but M got there in the end (with a bit of grunting to help her through the more difficult parts!)

 

Looking for emotional learning activities for 15-18 months?  Click here!

Looking for emotional learning activities for 18-24 months?  Click here!

Looking for more emotional learning activities for 24-30 months?  Click here! 

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Know When to Fold’em

When it comes to toddlers, we often think of cooperation as them doing what we want (but this is really just obedience); real cooperation is a joint-effort involving ‘give & take’ that is mutually satisfying.  In order to develop a cooperative spirit in your children, you can give them the opportunity to work together with yourself and others. Let your tot grow up experiencing first-hand, the benefits of working cooperatively; doing simple chores together is a super-easy way to get started!

Here’s one activity we did today from the Leaping Lilies curriculum

 This week’s Theme: Bed Time

Activity DescriptionI Can Help!: Your tot will love to help you fold up large sheets and blankets.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Social Learning

Specific Skill: Working cooperatively to complete a task

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 2 years + 5 months

 

  • When to fold’em:  Do this activity when you are folding laundry, cleaning up from a fort/castle building session, after a picnic, or in our case after “we made a giant bird nest” -their words (on the living room floor, with every blanket that was in reach).  I kind of wish I took a picture of the “giant bird nest”, it was well-made & cute!

Practice: The girls are like most toddlers their age, in that they always want to help.  They have been folding blankets and sheets with me for a while now, so today was not their first time.  Get practising, your tot will love it!

Tricks & Tips: 1) It helps to start out with a blanket laid out on the floor 2) After each fold, you may need to help your tot adjust the hand grip (this is the trickiest part)

Start out on the floor

Start out on the floor

Fold completed. Now help readjust the grip.

Fold completed. Now help readjust the grip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Folding: This does not require any explanation so a quick few pictures should do it!

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……Just like that, the giant bird’s nest is tidied away (and the best part is, I didn’t lift a finger; they eagerly did the folding AND they were working cooperatively to accomplish something – which is lovely to see since there can be a lot of arguing some days!)

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Want to see social learning activities for 15-18 months?  Click here!

Want to see social learning activities for 18-24 months?  Click here!

 

These Little Babies Went to Market….

Tuesdays I blog about parent/teacher hot topics & interesting info

 

Today’s Topic: Getting the kids out of the house doesn’t always have to be at a kid-centred place.

 

We’ve been holed up at home quite a bit lately because the weather has been so cold.  There are a handful of indoor places we take the babies regularly and we visit friends and family but to be honest, we’re getting a bit bored of the same old – same old!  That being said, we still have to get the girls out of the house!

The Story:

The other day we were really pressed for time.  We were going to take the girls to the Children’s Museum (for the umpteenth time this winter) and then stop on our way home at a grocery store to pick up the items we needed for dinner.

The Dilemma:

Well, I was tired of being in a constant rush, and was thinking that by the time we got to the grocery store, the girls would be tired and cranky;  there would have been no pleasure in hauling them in and out of car seats to grab a few groceries (all the winter gear makes it even worse) – sooooo one of us would have had to make a mad dash into the grocery store while the other one stayed in the car with the girls while they probably complained loudly.

The Epiphany:

Mr. Y suggested not going anywhere and one of us going to the grocery store.  It was an easy option but I really felt we needed to give the girls an opportunity to get out of the house as we had been there a lot lately.  It suddenly dawned on me!  ………………

Our family outing will be to the grocery store!

Mr. Y was less than enthusiastic about the idea.  “Come on”, I said!  “It will be great!  We won’t just plunk them into the shopping cart and try to appease their complaints with snacks!  We will let them walk around and explore things and get things to put in the basket…and so on!  We’ll feed two birds with one crumb.” (Get the girls out & get the grocery shopping done without having to rush!)  He sceptically agreed and we were off!

The Outcome:

It was a tremendous success!  The girls LOVE LOVE LOVED it! (& I didn’t have to race around the store like Mario Andretti).  There were times, of course, where we had to steer them away from certain items…(I may have pretended not to see M sitting on a loaf of bread and O almost dropped a can of tomatoes on her toes & there was the constant explaining that we didn’t need 2 of each item -one from each of them) but overall, it was pleasurable…did you hear that?  I said grocery shopping with twin babies was pleasurable! …..even Mr. Y agreed!

The Secret to Success

It was successful because we gave them the opportunity to be involved in the process.  They were engaged the whole time and thus, enjoying themselves; and learning!  I will remember this in the future; instead of thinking how to fit the errands into our schedule, when possible, I’m going to include them as an activity for the girls instead!

P.S.  I wouldn’t do this if we had a grocery list a mile long.  It was a reasonable number (10 or so things).

Here are some pics I took of the shopping:

Putting beans in the basket

Putting beans in the basket

 

M with the sour cream, O reaching for the jello!

M with the sour cream, O reaching for the jello!

M placing the sour cream into the basket.

M placing the sour cream into the basket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a bit of a line at check out so to keep them from running away and grabbing things I asked them to show me what was in the basket:

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And last but not least….holding the bags open to help Mommy bag the groceries!

Our little helpers!

Our little helpers!