Eliyahu (4), out bug-hunting
"I really appreciate your view of working alongside your children and I try to implement that sort of lifestyle with my own little ones.
"While my children truly seem to enjoy helping me and doing little chores, I also feel like I am constantly having them do things for me ('Will you throw this diaper in the pail, please?' 'Will you pull your chairs up and help me with dinner?' etc. - all day long).
"We set aside time where I play with them or read to them throughout the day, and most of the evening after dinner is spent just playing. But I still feel like a bit of a slave driver.
"Do you ever feel like that? Do you have any specific standards as to how much help you will require of your children? Do you feel like giving them time to just roam and explore are important?"
I've been thinking about this very thing recently, especially since my oldest child is 6 now and very capable of doing many things to help around the house, including cleaning, changing diapers, and "babysitting" (while I am home of course!).
I want to teach responsibility, and I want everyone in the family to work together so our home is peaceful not chaotic, but I don't want to pass things that should rightly be my responsibility as a mom on to my child.
One of the ways I balance that is by examining my motives. If I am giving a job to a child simply because I am too lazy, that is not good (in my opinion). It's not necessarily a question of what the task is, but why it is being given. :)
If we're all working together, including me, then it's usually okay. We all eat meals. There's nothing wrong with children helping clear the table or unload the dishwasher... every single day. :) I simply can not do everything! Most of their jobs take only a few minutes (like setting the table), yet it helps me get dinner ready on time and blesses the family.
The amount of help required, I think, depends on the family's needs. Growing up on a farm, some seasons required a lot more work of us children than other seasons did. In the summer, an extra hour was spent weeding or working in the garden. If it was time to butcher chickens, my whole morning was spent helping. Other days, I got away with just washing dishes and had lots of free time!
Duplos -- received as a gift and supplemented by some from GoodWill -- are the boys' current favorite toy. :)
Our children have days with lots of free time, and other days (like Fridays) when they have to help with extra chores. Work is part of life, and since I know we do balance it with play, complaining is unacceptable! (I'll be re-reading this again in a few years when we have teenagers. :P)
I'd love to have reader input on this topic! What are your thoughts regarding the balance of work and play for children? Any tips for making chores more fun? We do things like setting the timer, having races, small rewards at the end (to motivate the kids AND me!), and music/audio while we work. Some days motivating myself is harder than motivating the kids, unfortunately!
Moshe (6 months), just chillin' on my lap at the playground. :)
"Where we live, it gets extremely HOT in the summer, plus thick and humid. I'm talking lows in the high 70's and highs in the 100's. My 4yo is a bursting ball of energy who is almost never quiet or still, except when watching TV. I really hate TV, but he has been watching a lot of it lately. HELP! What are some fun energy-burning activities that you do with your young children when they can't play outside?"
Oh, boy. Heat! I do NOT like the super hot days, and am so thankful that we get very few of them here in western Washington! Since we don't have a/c, if it does get really hot, the kids play in a cold bath tub of water, eat ice and frozen blueberries or frozen peas, we grill all our meals outside, and play in front of the fan!
We can't really do any indoor energy-burning activities since we're in an upper-floor apartment, but one thing I've found that kids like is running around things. Either through rooms in a circle, or just pulling the kitchen table into the living room or pulling out the couch -- my kids can not stop running around things! :)
I'm sure the kids would do exercise videos with me as well (I wonder if they make kids exercise videos?!), and since the winters here are cold and rainy, I want to do more of that sort of thing once we're not living above other people. :)
We've also tried going places, like to a (not-crowded) mall or big store (where running wouldn't disturb others) or to the racquet-ball room here at our apartments, and just letting the kids run around and around! They love it if I play tag with them.
We also play what we call "obedience game" which is similar to "Simon Says" except that they have to do everything. :) We give them things like "lay on your tummy", "go turn on the light", "go get your pillow", "come to Mommy", "give each other a hug", "sit Indian-style", "Okay, now stand up!".
They usually try to do everything as quickly as possible and get quite out of breath in the end! :) Ruth (2) likes to join in, and when she was younger, she would play along by copying the boys' actions since she wasn't quite old enough to understand the commands. :)
And of course this "game" is to give them practice at doing things immediately and without complaining. It really does help chase away the whines! :)
Anyone have any more indoor exercise ideas for Sarah (and me)? :)
We went on a really long walk earlier this week (about 4 miles I think!) and Ruth walked the whole way! (Yes, she has good shoes and lots of energy!!) Then she did this, for the first time ever. After I took a quick picture, I started to wash her up and she awoke and said "I'm eating!!" and finished her food before heading to bed. :)