When I was a little girl, I can remember not having much involvement in the kitchen. I have so many memories of sitting on a couch, propped in front of a tv, occasionally glancing towards the kitchen. That is where my mom liked to be-alone.
I don’t recall there ever being an incident but she never invited us or encouraged us to join. Maybe she didn’t think we belonged there, I don’t know. When I visited my grandma (her mother) she usually shoed me out. I may have been six or seven. I don’t even have memories of being taught on how to clean. Then one day I was just expected to do it.
My own children like to “help” me clean and cook. At the very beginning of their involvement I sort of felt like it was a nuisance. I could get it done faster and get on with our day quicker, if I just did it. In part, I think this was due to my own upbringing.
I know this wonderful family, the mother is a seasoned homeschool mom of six. Her daughter(s) have been babysitting for us for nearly two years. The independence, attention to detail, and maturity in these teens is amazing. When my husband and I go out for date night, we return and our house is spic and span. Our children are fed and in bed, if it’s bedtime. The kicker? My kids helped clean.
This started about a year ago but listening to that fifteen year old girl talk about how my kids “helped” her, gave me a different perspective. That my children helping me shouldn’t be viewed as a nuisance but that they really are trying to help me. More importantly, with the right kind of encouragement, I am setting the stage for some very important life skills.
I don’t blame my mother, I love her. It’s every generations job to improve from the last, so her mother may have kicked her out of the kitchen but mine just never encouraged it or taught it-until the end. Well it’s my generation and my turn to improve.
It is easy to think that a very young child is not old enough to be helping. However, if they are trying then that’s a sign that they are ready. It just takes proper guidance and direction. I’ve changed my perspective and embraced the help that they offer.
When they see me get the broom out, one grabs the dust pan and the other grabs the small broom, I encourage it. “You are sweeping well, thank you.” When I start to unload the dish washer, they jump in to help, and I encourage it. “Look how you got those glass cups out of there, so gentle, thank you.” When they want to help wash the floor I encourage. “Look how well you are washing the floor.
By changing this one negative thought from “nuisance” to “they really are trying to help,” my children have begun to blossom. By adding encouraging statements, I’ve had amazing results. We work together as a team, cooking and cleaning, establishing a solid foundation for future life skills.
One important thing I’ve learned so far in our homeschool journey, is that learning is so much more than academics. Life is learning and it is our job as parents to teach our kids all of these life skills. I may not have been taught in my early years, but I can change this for my own children. To ensure they are prepared for independence and are able to be successful adults. When did you start teaching your children to cook and clean?
I am currently looking for more ways to incorporate life skills into our home education. Skill Trek is a life skills curriculum that offers what I am looking for and helps give me ideas in which way to go. If your interested you can find out more about them by clicking on the picture below.
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