Clean Up, Clean up, Everybody Do Their Share

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.

http://motherbynature.ca/2008/12/toddlers-and-housework-part-of-the-action/

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.

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One thought on “Clean Up, Clean up, Everybody Do Their Share

  1. Years ago I found a book written by Elizabeth ???? on a study she did for what ages kids could be expected to do certain chores. She was from Seattle and the book had a chart that showed the ages and the chores….the interesting thing was that when kids hit their teens, they actually get worse in following chore guidelines and so can be expected to take more time & instruction again for a chore they may have done quite well at a younger age!

    I googled chores and age appropriate guidelines and found this site among others:
    http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/chores-for-children

    One of the things that helped me with a classroom of kids and some chores being very popular (scrubbing the sink with toothbrushes 😉 and some not so popular was to list the chores needed and have kids volunteer…..the girl with the worst behavior problems actually was the best book arranger and too pride in re-shelving the class books! Of course, popular chores like using the carpet sweeper and cleaning the computer screens (after lots of practice) had waiting lists for rotation.

    In Kindergarten classes it was especially effective to chant, “Clean up, Clean up, everybody clean up!” Then to sing or chant….I like the way “Nora’s” cleaning (or sweeping, dusting, etc.), I like the way “I’m” vacuuming, I like the way Daddy’s Daughter picks up toys, etc. finishing with “Cleaning Up!” (I had to be creative since only the two of you were doing the cleaning……Everybody loves to
    hear their name doing something praiseworthy! I also asked kids to pick up 5 things and put them…in the trash, put them away, etc.

    We had a “Found It!” basket which filled up gradually with stuff that needed to be put away. Kids required to take a “Time Out” before going out to recess were handed that basket to put away the things and were quite cheerful about doing this before joining their peers on the playground.

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