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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm curious about this mamas. I have done a fairly small amount of reading along TCC/Waldorf/Montessori lines (not that they are all that similar). And there is lots about having your young toddler watch you do household chores and participate in their own small way. I like this idea. I love to cook and I can't wait for dd to share this with me...I'd be happy spending all day cooking. And I really like the idea of exposing her to other chores rather than rushing around doing them after she's in bed etc.

But I just can't get over the logistics of it. Maybe I'm just not doing it right. I tend to just let her free form play whatever, and then if she's interested in what I'm doing (or lets me leave the room) I may show her, but I don't usually say, here come help me with X or Y. On occasion I've set her up with the sink (but she doesn't like to play in it) or with a bowl/tray of playdough (she loses in interest in less than 5 min) to join me while cooking. She's really not into the Ergo anymore (says No go! No go!) when I bring it out....

Maybe I'm underestimating her, but I feel like getting her to help would just create more chaos. But maybe I need to give her more instructions? She helped us pick berries recently and really enjoyed that....I just can't figure out how to do it?

if this makes sense to you,
maybe you can give me some ideas?
 

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Great thread idea. I can't wait to see other mama's ideas.

My dd likes to help so generally I just say, it is time to cook dinner, do you want to help? She toddles off to the kitchen and stands on her stool and "helps" by reorganizing the things on the counter. If I was more organized, I would have her pour things into a mixing bowl. She also has one "job" that she has had since she was born. She takes out the garbage. It started when dh would take her when he took the garbage out. Now when she sees him get the garbage bag together, she toddles over to him and they take the garbage out. She will even carry pizza boxes or small bags out if there are any. Its extra funny because this is the only reason she will leave voluntarily without me. Dh just says, it is time to take the garbage out and she goes along. -She is 16 months old.

We don't say "do this" because she naturally wants to help (and I don't want to order her around), we just tell her its time to do X and she helps.
 

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I love letting my DD help me with household chores. I purchased a child-sized broom and dust pan, and a toy vacuum cleaner, when she was around 14 months. Lately, I like to let her do more. For the last couple of months she "cleans" up spills. She bathes herself and brushes her teeth. She empties her own potty and flushes the toilet. (I always tell her to hold the pot with two hands.) I let her help me wipe the table, and teach her about circles and lines while we wipe. If I could find a reasonable way to do it, I'd let her help me with the dishes. I let her load the dishwasher. (Then I re-load it later.) She sings the "Clean Up" song. And if I find my feather duster, I'll let her dust.

DD loves doing all this stuff, but you're right-- she can cause more of a mess than she cleans up. There is no cleaning job she does that doesn't have to be re-done. You just have to see her help as more of a bonding and fun time, rather than just a time when you must get something done. But I find that whole Montessori thing about kids wanting to do adult things around the house so true. It's more fun to her than playing with toys at this age.

Now, there have been people who've criticised me when I say I let my DD clean up after herself-- especially during potty training. I guess they think it's cruel or something. I just say "whatever." If they could see how important and meaningful DD felt while doing the work, they wouldn't be critics.

Faith
 

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I've mostly waited for DS to demonstrate an interest in what I do, and then tried to foster that in whatever way is possible given his abilities at the time. He loves the dishwasher and comes running any time I'm putting anything in or taking anything out. So I let him help me unload it. It's a bit nervewracking, but now we have a routine down, and nothing has ever gotten broken. He is very good about pulling out one dish at a time and immediately handing it to me, and we just repeat that over and over until it's done.

With laundry, I ask him to hand me items from the basket, and then I fold them. I open the appropriate drawer and ask him to put his pants in it. Of course, the reality is that he often unfolds the things that I just folded and take stuff out of the drawers rather than putting it in. But I figure we're having good, interactive play time together, and I'm truly amazed by the number of times he actually has helped rather than hindering the process. Sometimes I feel like I wouldn't know how much he understands or is capable of doing if I didn't push him a little bit and ask him to do things that I didn't really think he could do yet. He continually surprises me.

With cooking, I hold him on my hip and do as much as I can one-handed. If that's not possible, he is sometimes willing to stand on a chair next to me. When he was a little younger, he would stay entertained for a little while sitting in his high chair with a butter knife and a clean carrot (chew a little, whack at it a little, chew a little, whack at it a little). I try to find ways that he can imitate what I'm doing.

These are just a few examples. I know it's hard, because a toddler's "help" makes everything take so much longer. But I'd rather try to consistently incorporate him into the things I do, instead of rushing around trying to do chores without him and then sitting down to spend time with him and finding that I'm not really sure what we should be doing together. Part of it is that "play" time seems kind of forced and unnatural to me, and he and I both do much better if he is given the opportunity to freely explore the things that truly interest him. Oh, and I'm a big TCC fan, so that's partly where I'm coming from.
 

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Come join the TCC thread under Finding Your Tribe! There's lots of ideas for this over there.

With my DD (18 months), I use a little side table from Ikea to do all the chopping and preparing food--it's just her height, and I sit on a stepstool. I know other people use a Learning Tower. She has a little knife and helps chop and then put everything in a bowl. She also stands on a chair to reach the sink and helps scrub the dishes--she has a special full length bib for that so that she doesn't get completely soaked. We just got her a broom that's her size, and that's been a hit. We also got her a little watering can, and she likes to help with the garden. Berry picking is a hit here too, and she has a special berry bucket.

With an older child, I think you could get the ingredients ready and let her pour things together and stir. Or she could help load the dishwasher.

Quote:
Maybe I'm underestimating her, but I feel like getting her to help would just create more chaos.
This is definitely the case with us. It does create more chaos, but I've learned to relax and let it be since it's such a wonderful learning experience. If the vegetables end up on the floor, I pick them up and wash them. If stuff spills, I've learned that it really is ok (ironically, this has all been a really important lesson for me!) And sometimes she gets bored and wanders away, and that's ok too.
 

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My dd LOVES to help and has lots of "chores" around the house. She just thinks they are fun. The only mandatory chore is toys have to be picked up before bed. I don't make her do anything else if she doesn't want to.

She likes to vacuum the stairs, clean the tables, help with laundry, unload the dishwasher and take out the recyclables. She also helps with watering the plants and some yardwork. Most of the time it's not helpful at all, but she she's learning and has a lot of fun and I enjoy watching her beam with pride when I tell her I'm so thankful for her help.
 

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I think it's great to involve the kids in chores. There are only a couple things I "make" the kids do. I put the word make in quotes because I don't force them, it's just not presented as a choice. Those are if they intentionally throw food on the floor, they have to pick it up and throw it away. They also help pick up their toys before bed time. Other things they like to do are helping unload the dishwasher. They'll hand me one item at a time for me to put away. Same with folding clothes. Ds will sometimes try to fold clothes himself
They each have their own watering can and love to help water the garden. Ds will also push his riding toy around the yard when I'm mowing
It most definately does make the task take longer for me, but it's so worth it to see how proud they are that they're helping mommy
 

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i thought i posted in here already, but apparently not :-/

Anyways...
My DS LOVVVESSS to help people.. if they accidently drop something he is always right behind them to pick up and and say "here you go"

But sometimes he likes to help a little too much and doesn't understand exactly what it is i am trying to do...

when i am sweeping the floor, i like to sweep it all into a pile THEN into the dustpan to dump into the garbage...

He insists on grabbing the dustpan and trying to manually put the dirt from the floor into it, only creating a bigger mess..

Right now we try and keep the chores minimal...

such as : tidying up his toys after he is down playing with and rolling the bin back into his room... he likes to say "KEEN UP!!" over and over again while doing this.

and

putting his pull ups in the garbage when they are dirty.

Also he likes to help put the dirty clothing in the laundry basket

When i am trying to do something and he is making it complicated I usually just tell him to WATCH me do it untill he knows what im doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
there are definitely some good ideas in here, and I will check out the TCC thread.

Could it be a temperament/developmental stage thing? Dd (almost 16 months) is not really all that interested in imitating our actions (more so in imitating our words! she's a big talker!) though she does 'participate' with things like laundry.

I really love the idea of using the low table (we just got one) so I may give that a try. I'd love to hear more from mamas about how this works for you....
 

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We are big into this. My DD is 3.5 as an infant till ohh about 14-15 months I simpily carried her in a sling whie I did many tasks but then she got both too heavy to do that as much and she became more intrested in other things other than making sure she wasn't just being plopped in front of the TV I let it go around age 2 her courousity came back and she began participating more and more. Now she does have certain jobs that are "hers". I wash she can place dishes in the drainer and knows how to put away the sliver ware. She sets the table dusts holds dust pans when I sweep helps me with meal prepration. Her "chores" include picking up her toys keeping her room in order setting the table and a once a week cleaning of the mirrors (vinager and water solution).
 

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My DD does love to help, and I usually let her. She is a 27 mths... She has been matching her own socks by color for a long time, she like to try to fold laundry, if I am cleaning the bathroom, etc I give her a wet papertowel and she 'helps'. she likes to try the dustpan and dustbrush, today i gave her a little paring knife and she was cutting up cucumber, and thought it was the best activity EVER! she even ate a few pieces afterward, which is the main reason i let her cut it. and the watering of flowers w/ her watering can drives me crazy sometimes! oh, and she feeds the cats and dog every night. we are just starting to show her how to fill the bowls w/ water without spilling...
 

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My DD (24mths) helps with doing the laundry, she hands me the dirty clothes to put in the washer and will put the clean clothes into the dryer. She also picks up all of her toys and puts them away at clean up time. If I give her a wipe she will clean her table, hands and whatever else she can use the wipe on. I have given her a swifter and she will help me dust the tv and shelves in the house.
She doesn't help with cooking but thats because I have the kitchen blocked off with a gate right now (she likes to play in the dog dish to much lol).
 
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