It is really important for children to help take care of their home environment. Setting the table is just one of the many ways that children can do this. Not just because it helps their parents, but because it is their home too and it teaches them life long skills that they will need. Here are just some of the wonderful things that your child develops by setting the table:
- Respect – for their family, environment, and for themselves.
- Discipline and Responsibility – It is their important job and they need to remember to do it each day.
- Pride – feeling proud of how great they have made the table look and also that they have helped their family.
- Maths – counting how many people will be having dinner, then counting the same amount of chairs, plates, glasses, knives, forks, spoons, napkins, and so on.
- A feeling of Belonging – being part of a family and an environment.
- Independence – learning valuable skills so that they can do them for themselves.
- Confidence – mastering tasks and feeling like they have achieved something.
- Self-esteem – they have been entrusted to do this important job for the family and in turn they feel good when they look at what they have accomplished.
Some handy tips to remember:
- Praise them, because everyone likes acknowledgement . This doesn’t mean giving them a medal because they have done their job, it is as simple as saying ‘Thank you the table looks great.’
- Put plates, cups, cutlery, napkins etc somewhere that is easily accessible for children.
- If children are very young, get them to put out forks and napkins and leave the breakable or sharp items for an adult or older child to do.
- Make this their job so that there is an expectation that they do it each night. Of course this can be flexible if they are busy doing homework one night etc, but try to get them to stick to it as much as possible.
This is just a start to helping in the home, but it has many benefits, so give it a go!
Darling Precious Children
There is so much that I love about Spring – the weather warming up, the flowers blooming, the return of butterflies and lady beetles, and the sense of new beginning that it brings. Part of the new beginning is systematically taking stock of where you are heading on your journey and assessing if it is where you want to be. Another huge part is clearing the bogged down Winter feeling by Spring Cleaning! It is not only physically cleansing but also spiritually. There is nothing quite like getting rid of clutter you don’t need and beautifying your environment to make you feel more peaceful and happy.
Children also hugely benefit from being part of a big Spring clean and there are so many ways that they can help. In my twenty years of working with children, I have seen how much they really love to get in there and help when given the opportunity. They don’t see cleaning as a chore but as a meaningful, purposeful task. Besides all that, it is their environment too and they should be helping to take care of it. If they do need a little encouragement then plan a special treat for when you get all the Spring Cleaning done. Something like a movie night, bowling, dinner at their favourite restaurant or whatever it is that your family love to do together.
It is better not to use money or toys as a reward because helping to keep their environment clean should be one of their responsibilities not something they get paid to do. The treat is just a nice way of celebrating the work that they have completed and something to look forward to once everything is finished. In actual fact, the feeling that they get inside when they see what they have achieved will be reward enough. No material object can really make you feel as good inside as the feeling you get when you work hard and are proud of what you have done!
Here are just a few ways that you can get your children involved
- Help them sort out clothes, toys, accessories, etc into three piles: What they love and want to keep; What is broken or unusable and can be thrown away; and the things that are still in good condition that they don’t want or can’t fit anymore, which can go to a charity.
- Give them a natural cleaner such as white vinegar/eucalyptus/bi-carb mixed with water (you can find many natural cleaner recipes online). Then show them how to wipe and dry the shelves and other furniture in their bedroom before putting the things they are keeping back in. It will smell lovely and make them feel really good about their contribution to their new spring cleaned room.
- Make little cards up with Spring Cleaning tasks on them such as: Clean handprints off mirrors and glass doors; Sweep the leaves off the path; Dust the window sills in one room or whatever it is that needs to be done in your household. Then ask them to choose one daily or every couple of days depending on what suits your family.
- A great idea is to have a little rack with a child-sized broom, mop, dustpan, vacuum cleaner, bucket, squeegee for window cleaning, spray bottle with natural cleaner, sponges and any other equipment your children will need for cleaning. This entices them to clean more often and they don’t have to wait for an adult’s instruction all the time which is great for independence, self-esteem, responsibility and so much more.
These are just a couple of ideas to get you started on your Spring Cleaning but there are so many more. Remember that children are developing so many skills everyday and most importantly they are constructing their self-image and self-esteem. Inviting them to help you and then allowing them to complete tasks unobstructed not only gives them so many physical skills but it teaches them responsibility, team work, how to contribute to their household, goal setting, and gives them a feeling of autonomy.
So get out the dusters, put on some old clothes, and have fun. I’m off to sort out my wardrobe!
Happy Spring Cleaning,
Darling Precious Children