What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 12: Helping Out

Letting Children Help

At first, letting kids help would seem to be the opposite of a magical childhood but involving them, where possible, contributes to feeling important, trusted, and capable. We all like to be included and that’s also true for kids.

appropriate chores for kidsDo you remember times from your childhood when you were allowed to help? I remember helping to knead dough, sprinkle the cinnamon, and spread the raisins for my mother. When I stayed on the farm with my grandparents, I would walk with my granddad and check the animals in the barn. Of course, there were times when I didn’t want to help and still had to. That’s part of the learning process too.

letting kids help around the houseThere are appropriate ways that even very young children can help. Putting toys in the toy box can be a game as much as a chore. Kids can pick clothes off the floor and put them in the laundry basket. Occasionally, you can pretend to get mixed up and almost pop them in too. Make sure they understand the joke and enjoy the silliness. Kids are closer to the floor than we are and like to give it a sweep or swish. With a big, old sock over each hand they can help dust. If they have moved out of cribs, they can help make their beds.

Grocery shopping with kids takes more time than if we just go ourselves, but when we do get home, kids can help put away some of the items. In the kitchen, kids can wash fruits and vegetables, and be involved in food preparation and clean up. A sink of warm water and a squirt of soap is a sort of magical formula for fun.

These are just a few of the ways that kids can be part of the action at home. Both inside and outside, there are things that kids can do. Best of all, while we might call this work, to kids it can feel like another way to play. How does your child help at home?

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