In the past few months, Allison’s become quite a big helper around the house! Any time I need to do something, she suddenly exclaims “Allie help!” and will grab whatever is relevant to the situation. I love how she’s actually paying attention to what Mommy does now; it’s preparing her for when she gets older and learns to start doing these things for herself.
One big thing she’s been doing is sweeping/using the Swiffer. I’ll say it’s time to sweep, and she’ll usually run and grab her toddler-sized broom and dustpan and start sweeping. Or if she really wants to be helpful, she’ll request the Swiffer, and I’ll grab a cloth for it and let her go to town. She actually does a pretty good job cleaning up for me!
I have to share this picture because I still laugh thinking about it. Allison was barely past a year old and wanted to help sweep, so I gave her the broom and left the kitchen for some reason. Suddenly she came running past me, broomless, and I wandered back into the kitchen to find that she had somehow stood the broom up on its own and just left it there. I know it’s a bad camera angle, but yes, that broom is just standing there. I have no idea how she did it, but I’m pretty sure she’s a wizard.
Another thing she likes to do now is help prepare lunch/dinner. We got her a step-stool for the toilet, and now she carries it in the kitchen to stand on and watch me. Sometimes she’ll bring some of her play food and utensils and chop her own toy potato as I’m chopping mine. Other times she’ll just stand there and watch, and steal some food to snack on as I’m preparing it.
She’ll also want to wipe things down with me! I’ll sometimes grab a baby wipe and start cleaning off the bathroom sink or toilet, and she’ll run and get a washcloth and wipe down the sink cabinets for me. Or when I’m putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher, she’ll grab a washcloth and want to help, too. So I’ll give her all the utensils, she’ll wipe them down, and put them in the dishwasher for me.
Honestly, I’d get a little frustrated when she’d say she wants to help, because it really does take longer to get things done. But I quickly learned not to say things like “You can’t help right now”. Instead, I try to think of a way that she can help, because if I don’t encourage this helpful behavior now, I can’t expect her to be willing to help later. I’d love for her to be able to do things for herself, like wash dishes, do her own laundry, prepare food… these are just baby steps in her development and are preparing her for the real world!
The takeaway message is, let your kids help! It can be more time-consuming and frankly a little annoying, but it’s such a great way to get in quality time, and the kids are learning, too. What else can I do with Allison to help her be more self-sufficient later on?