Guest Blog: Important Lessons Learned From Helping Around the House by Rebecca Miller
Learning is happening all around us, all the time. Even when we are not following a curriculum, or sitting at a desk with a workbook, educational opportunities arise every day. One of the most common areas that children learn through experience is in the area of housework. There are many important lessons learned from helping around the house. When children are allowed and encouraged to help out around the house (ie. Cooking, laundry, sweeping floors) they learn many skills that they will take into adulthood.
The most obvious thing children learn from helping keep a home tidy and clean is “life skills.” Life Skills are those skills that they will use to be successful adults. Learning to wash dishes, mop floors and make meals earlier in life is vitally important. Young adults who are not required to participate in household chores as children, often find it difficult to transition into adulthood. They are not equipped to take on the responsibility of their own household, because it was something they were just never taught. In order to give our kids an advantage when going out into the world, we need to allow them to build those essential skills as they grow up.
Responsibility and Accountability
Children who regularly do chores or housework, learn early on what it means to be responsible. They learn that it is their responsibility to pick up after themselves. They also learn that being part of a family means you each have a role to play and support each other to have a comfortable living space. If your children complain about having to wash dishes, consider having a discussion with them about how being a family unit means everyone is responsible for pitching in.
There will be many times in our children’s lives when they will find themselves having to work in a team. Whether they join a sports team or get a job where they have co-workers. Teamwork is a skill they will need in the future. Sharing in the responsibility of housework as they grow up, helps kids learn to work as a team.
Fine and Gross Motor Skills
There are several tasks around the house that can help children build and strengthen both fine and gross motor skills. We do these actions so regularly that we often don’t stop to think of them as motor skill activities. Hanging laundry on a clothesline with clothespins is a great fine motor activity. Sweeping the floor promotes bilateral (using both sides of the body) co-ordination. Setting the table and matching socks are both activities that can improve sequencing, memory and problem solving skills.
Following a recipe, sorting recycling, and putting away groceries are just a few of the household tasks that can help teach our kids organizational skills. As adults, we use our ability to organize every day: at work, at home and out in the world. Many parents don’t realize that encouraging our children to take part in the upkeep of the family home can help them become more organized adults.
Sometimes we can tend to overlook learning opportunities that don’t look like “school.” But, everyday tasks such as sorting recycling and taking out the trash have so many skills hidden within them that it’s important not to overlook them. Even when it feels like it would be easier and faster to just do the housework ourselves. It can be extremely beneficial for our kids to encourage them to take responsibility for our household as well. And the bonus is, it can lighten the load for parents as well.
Read another guest blog by Rebecca Miller – Click Here –