Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Yes! I firmly believe in this and would advocate the same to every parent who is in the process of grooming their children with all possible skills and especially – life skills. Grooming children with life skills is a very important aspect of parenting these days, especially in nuclear families where the children or the single child is generally ignorant of the value of sharing.
Right from the preschool times, I have always insisted that my kids hang around with me as I deal with the household chores. Right from changing into comfortable clothes, the minute they are back home from school or any outing, I have helped them undress, trotted with them and helped them put the soiled clothes in the laundry basket and washed my hands, feet and face along with theirs, basically trying to teach them what is expected in a practical way. When you start this around two, by the time they are four they are experts at this and can even help you in carrying yours! Of course, once in a while they have to be reminded and pulled up for negligence or laziness…
Weekends were great family time! Sharing ideas, stories, experiences of the bygone week, household chores and of course the goodies, weekend specials like ice- creams, pizzas etc were a much awaited time for all four of us. Everything from cleaning to cooking was all teamwork – at times done by ‘mama’s team’ or ‘papa’s team’. At times, they would beg to do even difficult tasks ! Kids just love to hang around and help. Even when they are as young as two, it is a good idea to keep them around in a pram or a walker as you work. Kids get to see how their parents work as a team. These little things groom our kids with the life skills of equality and sharing responsibilities in the family.
I still remember the weekend in which my daughter who was a part of papa’s team ( as she was old enough for the job) set out with him to clean the car and my son who was only four then was a part of my team and we were to bake a cake by the time they were back. The aim was to keep him with me so that he safe at home and doesn’t get wet in the car washing process like the previous weekend.
I had to do something to keep him happily busy in my line of sight. So I put him on a high chair at the dining table and gave him a small bowl with little chocolate syrup and a spoon to mix – after all he was in the baking team (knowing that it is safe even if he decides to taste it). This kept him happy and busy and made him feel very important. I worked at the same table beside him, mixing all the ingredients carefully and managed to pour the mixture into the baking dish without being disturbed by my four years old!
As I walked to the oven to place the dish, I noticed that my son was a sight to watch! With chocolate all around his face, and all over his dress he was still licking at the almost empty spoon, relishing the taste. This was but expected. So I picked him up without grumbling and headed to the bathroom to give him a quick bath.
Soon we were out, only to be horrified by my daughter at the door! All wet and dirty!! Looking at my not so happy face, she said that she was helping Papa! “That’s good”, I managed to say trying to put on a smile… One must be prepared for such situations and handle it tactfully. What is more important is that your children are learning to share and shoulder the responsibilities at home.
Children today must be given ample opportunities to groom themselves with life skills at home so that they are well equipped to face and survive in this society dominated by working couples and gender equality. Including the kids to help with the household chores makes them feel grown up and important. Don’t expect perfection as participation is more important. Encourage them with your praises. Always help and assist your child with a new task. Is this way, you end up spending more time with your kids.
Just teach your children to share. Don’t limit sharing to just goodies and toys!! Encourage them to share, workload, responsibilities, time, ideas, and thoughts. Make them addicted to the joys of sharing. Practice this religiously at home so that it becomes a way of life. Catch them young and watch them grow into responsible, well-balanced individuals… This is the ultimate joy of sharing life with a family.
Few areas where children can help:
# Watering the plants.
# Stacking their books and toys neatly.
# Shelling peas, boiled eggs etc
# Laying the table – at least the plates, spoons and glasses.
# Clearing the table after the meal.
# Loading the washing machine – their own soiled clothes.
# Drying the small clothes like handkerchiefs and socks.
# Sorting and folding dried clothes – except very big ones like sheets.
# Taking the garbage out.
# Put away groceries.
# Sew a button.
# Polish shoes.
# Covering school books.
# Helping themselves to a bowl of cereal.
# As they grow, make sandwiches.
# Feeding pets or even taking them out for a walk nearby.
# Washing unbreakable cups and plates at times – you may have to do it again!
# Helping grandparents with a glass of water or the newspaper.
# Elder child can babysit the younger one when you are busy with something.
# Siblings can help one another with home-work, project work etc.
# They can assist parents in a number of tasks like washing the car or scooter, buying little things like milk or bread, cleaning the rooms, folding small clothes etc.
Depending on the requirement and age of your child, assign simple, safe tasks.
Don’t forget to be liberal with your praises.
Happy Parenting!! You may add your ideas for the welfare of others.