Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mommy's Little Helper

I just finished a load of laundry, loading and unloading the dishwasher, dusting the windows to the breakfast nook, and sweeping the kitchen floor after a messy breakfast. My 15 month old son and 5 year old daughter were my helpers during these chores. Now, it took much longer to have them help than had I just done it myself. But having them help actually made it kinda fun. We sang, counted, and made a game of the chores. This got me to thinking how beneficial it is for children's development to be "Mommy's Helper". It helps them:

  • Learn to imitate. Imitation is needed for language, motor, self-help, and cognition skills. Whether it be imitating sounds or actions, this is a pertinent part of development.

  • Enhance sense of touch- various textures are touched within the laundry basket, dishes, etc.

  • Enhance visual perception- sorting laundry, putting articles of clothing into the dryer or basket, sorting utensils for mealtime, looking for food particles on floor, etc.

  • Enhance motor coordination- takes balance to walk around with a broom, to push laundry basket, fold laundry, dusting, wash windows (I don't recommend the use of harmful or strong chemicals, use milder fruit or water based cleaners), etc.

  • Develop listening skills and following simple directions

  • Increase attention span by staying with a task until it is finished

  • Gain responsibility by being responsible for the cleaning/care of their property. Also, not expecting the parent to clean up all of their messes for them: room, after meal, toys throughout house, bike outside, etc.

  • Socialize- when cleaning in a group

  • Taking turns, sharing, & waiting- if there is only one broom, then the kids must share

  • Language- have the kids make choices, label activities, and sing the steps to the chores. An example of a choice for a toddler might be "Do you want to sweep with the broom or wipe the windows?"

Because I have had my kids be "Mommy's Helper" from the beginning I have two kids who put their paper plates in the trash. My daughter actually cleans her own room without being asked, especially after a playmate leaves who didn't get a chance to help. Okay, go clean!

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