“Can I help, mum?”
How many times have we heard this from our toddlers? When we’re making dinner, hanging up the washing, cleaning the windows.
My daughter asks this as I am about to make some pizza dough for dinner tonight. I hesitate. It would be so much easier, cleaner, and quicker on my own – but can I say yes?
This time I can (sometimes we can’t). She gets her step and brings it to the edge of the work surface. As she’s scooping and pouring and mixing the ingredients there is flour going everywhere. I take deep breaths, saying to myself, “It’s ok, it will still rise, I can wipe the mess up after.”
“I love helping you”
As she is rolling out the dough she looks at me. “I love helping you”. My heart could melt.
I almost said no. This experience almost didn’t happen. It is pretty stressful for me, but she loved it – she felt valued, capable, and part of the team.
Have you ever wondered why our toddlers don’t help tidy up, or why we have to moan at our older children to help clear the table or load the dishwasher? Sometimes I wonder if it is because we’ve said no too many times. After a while they got the message that we didn’t want them to be involved. Now that they’re at an age where they might be more effective, they’ve stopped asking and we have missed the opportunity to normalise everyone playing a part in household chores.
They don’t feel like part of the team. They don’t feel valued.
Even though an 18 month old helping to hang out the washing or put away shopping will make the task twice as long today, it can help them to them feel a valued part of the family. They may be more likely to continue to enjoy and participate in household activities for years to come. And, you never know, you may make some wonderful memories working together at your everyday tasks.
Kristy Munday- Raising Myself and ToddlerCalm Cambourne
I’m Kristy, Mummy to Lana and wife to James, and we live just outside Cambridge. I am passionate about becoming compassionate in all aspects of my life, to children to adults, to the environment and to animals. I also love being outside in nature (when it’s not too rainy, cold or hot), watching a movie, reading a book and generally sitting doing nothing. My role as a CalmFamily consultant is to be here and to support parents in the most challenging times, and help them to parent the way they want to, confidently, compassionately and consciously.
Kristy has also written The benefits of open-ended toys, a great article challenging the idea that all singing electronic toys are ‘best’.
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