Today is just one of those days. As I type sprawled out on the floor Nora is rocking back and forth on my back ordering me to “neiiiigh!” as she says, “Giddy-up horsey!” Although I had a fun pumpkin activity planned, the alarming amount of housework that needed to be done took over my limited amount of free time (I am still nursing an eight month old baby). So as I tried to clean my dining room and finish putting up painting tape, which Nora also “helped” with, I felt a little bad that we did not get to our planned activity. Then, as I was vacuuming, Nora got her toy popper vacuum and happily joined in the tidying up. This cheered me up a bit and I smiled as I watched her pretend to vacuum. I noticed my eight month old sitting in the corner watching us with a worried but brave expression (motor noises worry her). When we finished Nora leaned her toy vacuum up against the wall next to my vacuum, and seeing our vacuums together against the wall made me feel great. This really got me thinking about how little I actually include her in housework, and what a huge mistake this probably is. A friend of mine once told me that she had taught her two- year-old to fold washcloths and hand towels, and I thought, “Yes, that’s important!” Admittedly, I have been bad at this. In cruising the blogosphere I found this post on the importance of including young children in housework and I thought it was excellent common sense. The message I came away with was that there is a developmental reason that young children want to help with chores, and that if we rob them of this opportunity to form good habits they may not be as tidy and organized as they could be later in life.
I am sure the day is not far off when Nora will be trying to get out of her chores. Of course this is my big chance! She wants to help me now, and so the time to teach her is now. This week I have a renewed resolve to make a cheerful event out of the laundry, dishes, picking up, and taking the time to include Nora in all of this.