Miss Enigma, age 4, has become a little helper around the house. She especially likes to help Mommy cook. A few days ago, she wandered into the kitchen, grabbed the kitchen stool and announced,
Miss Enigma: “I’m ready to help you cook. What are we cooking today?”
Mommy: “I’m sorry, Mommy is finished cooking right now. Would you like to help me clean out the dishwasher?”
Miss Enigma: “Oh, yes!”
Mommy: “You need to put the big forks with the big forks. You need to put the little forks with the little forks. Then put the little spoons with the little spoons. And the big spoons with the big spoons.”
I showed her how the forks match and that was all the direction she needed. It was immediately obvious to me that she was putting her mathematics sorting skills to work.
Next, she moved-on to carefully stacking the measuring cups, using her mathematics knowledge about size and ordering.
She also matched the lids to the correct bowl and used her fine motor skills to snap-on the lids.
Our time together was an important reminder to me that I don’t need to buy fancy learning games and tools. Our every day life and our family interactions are the best learning tools available.
Print these cards FREE: Helping Hands Jobs
A valuable lesson I learned as a classroom teacher is that children looooove to help and they feel empowered when they are given responsibilities. In our home, we do not have “chores.” We have family jobs. Daddy goes to work each day outside of our home to earn money to pay for our home and for the food we eat. Daddy also does many jobs around our home that help us take care of our house, yard and car. Mommy’s job is taking care of the family and teaching. The children also have little jobs that help take care of our family. Additionally, they have the very important job of growing, exploring, experimenting and learning!
As the children get a little older, I give them little jobs around the house. I empower them with responsibilities that make them feel like an important contributor to our family. I also pay them homeschool dollars for these jobs. I do not treat these responsibilities as “chores” or as a burden. I stress to the children that they are helping Mommy & Daddy take care of our family.
These FREE printable Helping Hands Jobs can be printed on card stock and displayed for the children. Use them to create a chart or a schedule that fits the needs of your family.
In closing, I DO NOT want to leave you with a false impression. I HATE cleaning my house! Consequently, my house is usually a creative mess. I’m just not one of those Mommies that get an adrenal rush from cleaning my baseboards. Having said that, I’m trying! I’m trying to teach my children simple life lessons and how to be independent. At least I’m trying.
Last week, I introduced Back to School with Morning Jobs. Rather than nagging, I’m trying to empower my children. Again, I’m trying!
Life with Jeannine