11 Jun 2010
“Involve the kids in everyday activities.”
Whoever said this did not have kids, that I can be sure of.
It works well in a school setting. I have scrubbed chairs, watered plants, gardened, done nature walks – all with kids. But a home is not as structured as a school. There are certain things that are a routine like loading/unloading the dishwasher, line drying the clothes, folding laundry and putting it away. We do these jobs together. At times when I am making dishes like soup, sandwich, cookie, cake etc, I involve kids. There have been days on which I have made them sit at the kitchen table with a slice of bread to butter or a tomato to be chopped or a cube of cheese to be grated, even if I am not using any of the above in my dish, just to get them out of my hair.
The thing about involving kids is that it needs some degree of planning. One must know the steps in order to delegate. Even better, the delegator must have done the chore at least once(with the delegatee in mind) in order to comprehend the exact skills essential to complete the chore.
Do you want to know what is even more difficult than delegating to kids? It is a mother delegating to siblings who are close in age. Imagine child1 and child2 sitting in their respective carseats all strapped up. After reaching the destination, child1 wants to take child2’s seatbelt off and the mother agrees. Child2 is deeply insulted. She wants to take child1’s seat belt off. So the mother comes up with the solution where child1 takes her seatbelt off, then takes child2’s seatbelt off and gets on to her carseat and straps herself. Child2 now proceeds to take child1’s seat belt off, every one is happy, calamity avoided. But hell no, the children being highly skilled torture specialists come up with the supreme question of who goes first. Now the mother has two choices, to bang her head on the steering wheel hard enough to do some damage to her brain or to calmly tell her children that this is an egg and chicken problem in which she does NOT want to be involved and walk away. Trust me, they do come up with some creative solutions, because they are clear that the enemy is not the sister but the parent and when the parent is not involved, they do tend to save their energy.
PS: This is not an isolated incident. All chores are now viewed by the children as ‘Why can’t I do that?’, ‘Why can’t I do it ALL BY MYSELF?’, ‘How else can I show off to my sibling?’, ‘Are there any other ways to establish MY territory?’.
PPS: The mother is secretly anguishing over the fact that she was stupid enough to read to the children that the free tiger trial issue of GloAdventurers where it describes in detail how tigers establish their territory by peeing. She is hoping that they do not connect two and two, end up with twenty two and pee all over the house.
PPPS: Double thumbs up to GloAdventurers. Do try them.