There could not have been a single person in this world you hasn’t been, in one way or the other, touched by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. In my life, his thoughts and lessons have a significant influence on the way I perceive and think. I acquired my degree in Education from an institute that was firmly rooted in Gandhian philosophies. I have not only been inspired by his thoughts on education but also life in general. Without me being able to do much about it, how I parent my son has delved deep into his philosophies.
The chief advocate of Ahimsa and Satyagraha, believed in Swawlamban ( Self – reliance ). If I had a priority list of virtues I want my son to imbibe, I’d vision being independent/ self – dependent or self-reliant somewhere on the top. Now, at this point of time, you could have totally judged me, for being a helicopter parent, or an over involved parent for talking about something so complex when I am only raising a preschooler.
I speak of this now, is because the foundation of how a person thinks is laid at an early age. I have no idea of what the future holds for us. But what I know is, now is the time I have with my son and NOW is when I am going to give him all I have.
When my little boy, chops veggies with me, or put his clothes for the laundry, folds sun dried clothes and cleans his table, it definitely is a great way of keeping him busy and out of my hair to be honest. But the perspective behind getting him involved in chores, is deeper than just that! I could have easily been judged for “pressurising” a little boy way too much. But as a mom, I just do what I want to do 😉
Gunbir started to be a part of all the chores I’d do at home, since as young as one year of age. I believe that kids learn a lot from doing mundane work at home. They learn to care for themselves and their family. Cleaning, organising, preparing meals, laundry, keeping the garden etc are valuable life skills he can use for the rest of his life. And from a short term perspective, doing these chores promotes fine motor development, communication skills, team work, self confidence and help them feel competent and responsible.
What kind of chores can Toddlers and Preschoolers do?
We as parents are perfect inspectors to what our child and do and what could be harmful or dangerous for him. Here are chores that we do at home :
Picking the clothes for laundry and piling them all together
Sorting them – the ones that are dark in colour and are likely to bleed and the whites
- Fold clothes
- Wipe up spills
- Put the toys and other items in their proper place
- Water the flowers
- Help stock grocery in place
- Chop vegetables ( with a baby knife )
- pick litter
- Wash toys
- Clean the house
- Clean the car
- Knead the dough
- Roll chapatis
- brush their teeth
How we have been doing it
A lot of my friends often ask how did I get my son to help me? There isn’t a rule, a procedure or a fool proof method. But here are a few suggestions I’d make based on our experiences :
Start early : As long as you think a particular task is safe for a child to do, get him involved as early as possible. You may think that your child is too young, but he is going to surprise you with what he can do.
Praise and Praise some more Praise him while he is still doing it. Encourage him! You want to get the positive momentum going. Also weather it’s a sport, or a grade or a chore at home we believe in appreciating the efforts and not the end result.
Don’t expect perfection Infact I’d say don’t push it too hard. If he folds a shirt into a triangle, let him. You can make your suggestions but pushing him it doing it correctly is going to take the fun out of the task
Make it fun “let’s tidy up the room, let’s all tidy up the room” is what we sing when we are tidying up. “Dhobi aya, dhobi aya, kitne kapde Laya ek, do, teen” – is the rhyme for when we are knotting the clothes to be sent for ironing. “Wash, wash, wash your clothes” for laundry time. We basically have a song/rhyme for every chore. We sometimes just roll the clothes straight into the washing machine to hit goals. The idea is to laugh and play and have a lot of fun
Make it easy : I’d say take baby steps. First show them how to do a specific task and let them try it out. Being specific with instructions helps too
Reward or Allowance for completing the task ?
Chores are about responsibility and learning household tasks. Associating rewards with what they are expected to do anyway will make them expect more. And so in my opinion you must shower them with praises for attempting the chores but rewarding them for completing it won’t be such a good idea. But yes, I am very liberal with a high five or a bear hug kind of rewards.