Children and chores, may sound totally opposite. No matter how expensive toys we bring for our children, their favorite toy would be that one discarded plate or a discarded plastic bottle from the kitchen. Irrespective of their gender, children are always inquisitive of what their parents are upto, till the time you ask them to study.
Most of the times, we mothers often try and finish our chores, before either the child wakes up or once the child leaves for school. Our entire life revolves around what they think and what they are upto. Our schedules are no longer ours. Earlier in India, it was said that men never enter the kitchen, until and unless it is for commercial purpose i.e. unless they were a part of the catering team. With increase in nuclear families, the burden on each members started increasing and therefore, both men and women are equally sharing chores today.
Since, childhood, I have seen my father and uncles and cousins, help in household chores, simply because women were also working. Even today, there is a debate, whether boys should be taught household chores. Without going gender specific, here are a few benefits, that I realized after I taught my son simple household chores.
- Teach them vegetable shopping – Before we leave for the market, I always tell my son, what are the vegetables, that we need from the market. We keep talking about the same and I explain him how a particular vegetable looks. Once, we reach the vegetable vendor, I ask him, what we came to purchase and buy accordingly. This increases his self confidence as he feels he is doing an important task. It is easier to teach him names of vegetables and identify them, when he sees them directly.
- Cleaning the vegetables – Yes, this can be messy sometimes, but with right amount of patience, this is the best way to keep your baby distracted. While cleaning, I do not mean to teach them to handle knifes. But simple task such as cleaning Methi Leaves, Pudina Leaves or green peas. Children feel sense of achievement when they complete this task. While doing this activity, explain them the parts of plants and how this particular vegetable gives you nutrition. Most of the times, it becomes easy to feed my kid, the vegetable, he purchased and cleaned.
- Putting leftovers in dustbin – Often I ask my little one to put the vegetable skins in the dustbin. The trick is to do it differently. I usually give him a utensil and ask him to do it one by one. This ensures, that he has enough on his plate to do time pass and he is not distracted by unwanted mischief on the way. This is the easiest way to teach children about environment. Now, he knows the fact, that any plastic wrapper or vegetable skin has to be thrown in the dustbin and not on the roadside or anywhere else.
- Laundry – No matter, in which room I go, a pile of laundry is always waiting for me. This is the story of every mother around the globe. Just teach your kids, simple task of putting the clothes that are soiled by them into the washing machine/ laundry basket by themselves. Trust me, not only does it reduce the mess around the house but also makes them responsible. How can you make it interesting for kids? Teach them to count the number of clothes they put inside. This way you can teach them counting.
- Identification – Today Supermarkets have labels over everything. Children can easily identify different things by just reading the labels, identifying the colour and texture of the products. You can also teach them about weight in this process. They also learn to handle currency in the meanwhile.
- Value for money – Most of school syllabus have weight and currency by the time students reach 2nd or 3rd standard. When you teach these things practically, it becomes easier for children to remember. There have been times, when I had asked my son to pay the vendors, and he has screamed in public that the Uncle did not return his money. Yes at the age of 4, he is too small to understand the complex calculations, but for future reference he will always remember the transaction and it will be easier to remember.
- Classroom learning Vs. Practical Learning – Children have amazing grasping power and they learn the maximum, when you teach them in a practical method. If I were to teach him to identify the fruits and vegetables, through books, maximum for 10 minutes, he would have had sat with me and then we would have had a fight. Teaching him through technology would have been other alternative but as a parent, I would have loved to keep it at the bay, till required. Instead of fighting over sitting in one place with books, I am now able to teach the practical use of all the knowledge that he gains from studying. In short, instead of me nagging him to sit and write and learn, he has learnt the importance of basic maths, reading and identification. This has also reduced unnecessary stress time between us.
- Helps in improving relationship between parent and child – When we do chores, with our children, it helps us to spend some time with them. It is not important to make them do everything, but one activity per day, will help you spend time and talk about your day. You spend enough time with each other and hence, you do not need to take out time especially for each other.
I realized the biggest benefit of practical teaching, when I went for his school interview. He was able to identify the vegetables kept there and also tell the teacher the taste of the vegetable he liked. Yes it was either yummy or blahh!!! But still for a toddler I felt that was a big achievement. More than the book knowledge, I am more concerned about teaching him practical things and making him ready for the world.
Do let me know what do you think about the same and how do you moms spend time with your children?
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