Life Skills

One of the things that we think is very important in our children's education is life skills. Its important that they learn to do everyday household chores and realize that as part of the family, they too are responsible to help it run smoothly.

At this point, I don't assign any chores to Piper but I do have expectations such as cleaning up her room before she goes to bed, clearing her place at the table when she is done eating and putting her dirty laundry in the laundry closet instead of her bedroom floor! Depending on the day, I do have a bit of a struggle getting her to do these things but for the most part she is happy to help (mostly because it makes her feel like a big girl!). But that is not the end of the tasks this little one is learning to do! She is truly my sidekick and pitches in with whatever I can find for her! She loves being just like Mama and works so hard to get things just so (although they often are not which is something you just have to learn to be ok with!).

Folding laundry with a 3 year old means the face clothes and towels are somethimes less than perfect but the concentration she puts into each is beautiful!
At first, I was kind of surprised at the idea that young children can do domestic tasks. (Are you sure she can pour her own cup of water??) But once I began including her in much of what I find myself at in the run of the day, I was amazed at how capable she really is and how intrigued she is with it all!

Piper almost always pours the water for everyone at supper. You'd be amazed at how few spills have occurred! Of course, any spills that do happen are cleaned up by her as well (and that's even part of the fun!).

Although I think that learning to cook and clean are in and of themselves very valuable things to know, there is so much more that Piper is learning through these skills - matching, sorting, fine and gross motor skills. The list goes on! We're not joking when we say she is being 'homeschooled'! Ha!

But the best thing of all is the time I get to spend with my sweet daughter! My days are full in part because I have this little one, tagging along, keeping me company, desiring to learn and wanting to know 'why?' Why must she start wiping the window she is cleaning from the bottom and not the top? Why should she be very careful of where her fingers are when grating cheese? Why must she not push down too hard on the cracker when buttering it? Why must you tuck the blankets of the bed under the mattress? Why?

I won't lie. Initially, this was simply a means of keeping my girly out of trouble when I had some cleaning or cooking to do! It took a bit of work and creativity on my part but, in the end, I was able to dust the living room or make supper or fold laundry without too many mishaps or interruptions. Over time, I began to realize the value of including her in these things and now it is just becoming a way of life for us!

I'm sure a day will come when all these things are not quite so delightful to her! But in the mean time I'll continue to cherish these memories (and perhaps hang onto these pictures to remind her that once she did love to do the dishes!)

For some more great ideas of life skills appropriate for preschoolers, check out this article at Raising Homemakers.

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Andrea Cook said...

i loved my little cleaners....they haven't been as helpful lately for cleaning (more with baby stuff now) but i still remember one night when she was crying becuase she couldn't help with the dishes! i just enjoyed all the "help" while she loved doing it!

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