Grandparents Teach, too
Young children enjoy being included in many household chores and learn important skills at the same time. In addition, young children begin to understand that everyone helps in a family.
Your young children will be developing language skills, muscle control, and organizational skills, as well as, the positive self- image that comes from helping others. They may not be able to do much at first, but they can help with added responsibility as they grow older.
Around the house
≤ Washing Up: Young children love to use water and soap bubbles to clean silverware, plastic dishes and cups. Set your little dishwasher up on a sturdy stool at the sink or on the floor. Show the kids how to wipe off the table and chairs, too.
≤ Sorting clothes: This is an extremely important skill. Your children can help you sort the dirty clothes into piles of dark and light colors. Later, when the clothes are washed and dried, they can help fold and sort again into piles for each person. Matching socks is an especially good activity for learning about pairs, as well as, the concepts of same and different.
≤ Dusting, vacuuming and sweeping: If you plug in the vacuum, provide a broom and dustpan or Swifter- type sweeper, your preschooler will love to push it around to gather up crumbs and dirt, especially in their own room under the bed. You can work together or make it a game to find little bits and dust bunnies. They can also dust surfaces with a damp cloth.
Cleaning the car
≤ Washing the Car: This fun job is a big favorite. Set your young children up with a hose, a bucket full of soapy water and a sponge or rag. Let them play in the water while they wet and clean and rinse the lower parts of the car with adult supervision. Teach young children the proper steps and washing with a circular motion.
Children can also clean up crumbs in the seats and dust the inside. Use a damp cloth and avoid harmful cleaners and sprays.
Give work children can handle depending on their age and understanding. Be ready to finish up or redo later, if they get tired. Let children know you appreciate efforts. Keep it fun and talk together as you go. Sing or play some music as you work and keep activities positive and short.
There are many other jobs to train children to be helpful: Raking, sweeping, shoveling, setting the table, providing pet care, stacking magazines, getting the mail, watering plants, separating materials for recycling, working in the garden, and taking out the garbage.
For more family tips see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com or wnmufm.org/ Learning Through the Seasons live and podcasts.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the U.P. Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.