I admit that I was just listening to NPR about Mexican families who teach their kids to help around the house from the time they are able to hold something in their hands (age one-three).  I wrote about this subject briefly in 2010.

The attitude is, really, of letting their children help with chores because they want to.  I believe this too.  Not that I was great at it when I was raising my daughter (she is 36 now and the mother of three-year-old Audrey), but I did have that in mind – like having her make her bed.  Of course, it didn’t look like it was actually made.  But that’s not the point.  Not to expect them to do the chore like we would or even an older child is capable of, but that they are included in what the adults around them are doing.  

This desire to be part of what’s going on around them is a powerful force in us humans.  Some parents feel, rightly, that they would have to clean up the mess that was left by the toddler who “helped” make dinner, or wash dishes, put their shoes away, etc.  But it’s about including their small children in what the older children and adults are doing and not making fun of the job they’ve done.  

As all of us experience as time goes on, our children grow up so fast!  We experience them, hopefully, one day at a time, and “all of a sudden” they are teenagers, or parents themselves.

So, if we start right out of the gate, we will be raising kids who are part of their family in a very deep sense.  What a gift to give them!


Chores or Doing Your Part

I’m a strong believer in children having chores, or responsibilities, that are appropriate for their age.

Once they have passed the threshold (the front door of the playgroup), children are asked to take off their shoes – even if they need help – and put them in a box that I have for that purpose only.  If they can, they take off their coat, jacket or sweatshirt, and hang it on my kid-size coat tree.  This is something they do after they have been greeted at the door, and enter – with or without their parent or caregiver.

It took me a while to understand how important this is.  Some parents seem to think this is silly, but I know it is incredibly empowering.  Some kids resist like crazy.  I have the patience to wait, so I am a great match to their opposition.