Children naturally learn to imitate and to copy their elders, their role models. From the moment a child is born, they begin to mirror our facial expressions, gestures and mannerisms. ‘Seeing is learning’ and by observing and copying others, children build and learn essential life skills. By allowing and enabling our children to take part in day-to-day activities and chores which are carried out around the house, we then include them not only in family routines but aid their development of essential life skills. You can also ‘lighten the load’ with a teensy bit of child slavery… I am kidding of course!
It doesn’t matter how many toys that you give your child to play with, you more often than not find the things that your child finds most entertaining to be an object or item that their parent/ carer uses regularly. It may be the washing basket, pots and pans, a sweeping brush or even your makeup and much-loved accessories. Be warned, my little angel likes to spend most mornings selecting my favourite pieces of jewellery to wear whilst parading up and down the corridor.
Rather than discouraging your children from using things which may not necessarily by associated with play, try finding a smaller and safer version of these items which your child can then experiment with. There are a wide range of children’s hoovers, sweeping brushes, mops, dust plans, dusters and even ironing boards available to purchase. Although these things may not seem like appealing toys to us, they are often the most sought after for children seeking to fulfil the need to mirror their elders actions. By enabling your child to take part in household chores, you are giving them the opportunity to feel like ‘part of a team’, this not only develops life skills but also builds confidence and self-esteem. You will also find that things seem to get done quicker because you aren’t having to multitask by entertaining your little one with an alternative activity whilst you try to get the chores completed.
Try to keep products/ items which replicate your everyday household tools close to where the actual items are kept, so that when chores are being carried out, it is easy for your child to pick up the items that they require and to join in with as little fuss as possible. Encourage your child to join you in carrying out day-to-day jobs and praise them for doing so, even if they are unable to complete the process in full.
Purchasing a children’s apron for your little one to wear whilst doing household jobs can help them to associate particular tasks with certain clothing and sequences, such as putting on an apron to clean, washing their hands after cleaning etc. Wearing an apron can also help to keep your child’s clothing clean.
Whilst it may or may not take you slightly longer to complete the jobs originally planned, offering your child the time and guidance to join you (their idols and role models) in the household chores can be fun for all!