Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Never too little...

There are so many ways even a fifteen month old can help. Sure, it may not actually cut down on the time it takes to complete a project, but incorporating children in this aspect of family life is so important. The extra effort is well worth it!

Ever since Rosalind learned how to make a mess (and that skill comes pretty early ;) she's helped clean it up. Even if it was just handing me pieces of toilet paper she'd strewn across the floor, we've begun working on the important lesson: if you make a mess, clean it up. As she grows and blossoms, I want her to know the importance of responsibility. Though I'm there to help her, she shouldn't expect someone else (i.e. me) to constantly clean up after her.

Not only does training her to put her toys away teach responsibility, but instills a sense of order and peace in the home. Keeping things picked up makes play time much more enjoyable. There is no longer an array of toys strewn across the floor to distract or be tripped on. The blocks are much more fun when she's put away her Noah's ark. One toy is much more exciting when there aren't a dozen others vying for attention.

In addition to putting her own toys away, we've been working on areas where she can help contribute to the family. I'm not advocating forced child labor or anything, but strongly believe that even the littlest children can and should take part in the tasks required to make family life run smoothly.

Even a fifteen month old can:

  • Load small clothes into the dryer
  • Bring Papa his shoes in the morning... and put them away when he gets home
  • Help take out the trash (or at least walk hand in hand to the dumpster)
  • Add flour or sugar to a batch of cookies...

Of course, helping should be fun, not drudgery. Growing up as the oldest in a large family I saw the huge difference in response depending on how I portrayed "clean up time". If I viewed it as fun, the little ones did too. Now working side by side with Rosalind gives me the opportunity to show her that having a good attitude makes work fun.

Learning to help also teaches her that she is an important and useful part of the family. She loves it when I place the basket by her side and let her put the clothes in the dryer. Once it is loaded, she walks around and pulls the dryer door shut with a look of "All done mommy, aren't I a big girl?"

Work is a normal part of life. God created us to work, to take dominion and to rejoice in His creation. As we train our children to work joyfully beside us, we are helping equip them to be godly men and women.


Johanna said...

How sweet... I love learning from other young mothers. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna,

I linked to your blog from Jessica's and am so glad I did. David and I are facilitating a Growing Kids God's Way at our church and I would love them to read your post today. Your joy of motherhood and wise understanding in training are a blessing for this older mom to see! Joyfully, Mrs. Hardin

14xMommy said...

What a wise Mommy! Thank you for your lovely blog! I enjoy it so much, and am refreshed in my own mothering by reading it! God bless you, Shelly Burks

Anna said...

Oh dear! It's kind of embarrassing knowing that experienced mothers have stumbled across my blog! :) But thank you for your kind encouragement. It's such a blessing as for young moms like me to be able to watch older mothers joyfully raise their children! Thank you for your inspiration.

a'yi said...

I think you are so right, Anna. Teach Rosalie early that work can be fun! It is the attitude that makes the difference between "work" and "WORK!" Keep it up!:)

Anonymous said...

Anna she is a doll:)
Well see ya all today:)