Work with children is the work of children

14 Mar

I talk a lot about play here. We know play is important to children, but so is work. Children learn through imitation which makes it vitally important that children see us (parents) WORKING, and then we allow them to both play at grown up work and be involved in our work.

Work means many things, especially in the home environment. Here, most of my work involved cooking, cleaning, mending, etc. Recently my boys are  showing lots of interest in these things. They have a play kitchen in which they spend lots of time “cooking” (banging around pots and pans) and “cleaning out the fridge” (emptying everything out and putting it back in. They also started stealing my cleaning supplies. The broom, dustpan and swiffer are favorites, so I decided they needed their own tools to help. Even at 13 months (tomorrow!) there is still plenty they can do and pretend to do. Since A’s favorite tool was the swiffer I was inspired to get them their own. I asked friends and posted to craigslist hoping to score one or two cheap to no avail. Then, one fateful day I went to the dollar store for random junk (cleaning supplies and Easter stuff) and there they were. Swiffer knock offs. Not nearly as “nice” as the real thing but given that they are going to be used by toddlers, I was not worried about their cleaning efficacy. Hubby will be cutting them down to size. I also got them each a pail, floor brush, small spray bottles (which I filled with water for “cleaning solution”) microfiber dusters and dust pans. SCORE! So far the dusters and swiffers are the favored items. The boys help me clean their table and sweep the floor. It’s really cute and a great learning experience for them. I really need to snap some photos of this cuteness to share with you.

In the mean time… Today we had other work to do. Our home is ALL wood/ tile/ laminate flooring. So we need rugs. I started this rag rug some time ago (and may have posted about it…) but it got pushed aside. I’m trying to clean out my stash and WIPs, and we need rugs. So out this bad boy came and the boys decided to help me work on it. They had fun playing with the strips and picking which color went next. “Hobbies” and “crafts” like this should not be ignored as work. It’s still work. Making necessary items for the home instead of running out to buy them is rewarding for both you and your child and should not be dismissed. This sort of work is also a great time for other teaching moments. Colors, counting and simply learning to be still for awhile while you work. (Sewing and knitting are great ones too that my boys are certainly not ready for!)

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It comes down to this. Letting children help you work is important, even if it’s inconvenient and you end up having to wash the floor again or untangle several yards of cloth strips. The investment in teaching them and letting them learn by doing and being involved will pay off ten fold and more.

 

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2 Responses to “Work with children is the work of children”

  1. Umble Wife March 14, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    I completely agree! And I want to make a rug like that for our cabin. UB will be happy to help, I’m sure.

    • goodwifegoodmama March 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      It would be a great activity for UB! braiding and braiding and braiding is very relaxing.

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