Sometimes I catch myself trying to "get it all done" while the little ones are napping and then stop and question myself- why rush through it all? Take time. Breathe In. Take care. Breathe Out. If I treat these duties like a race I will quickly grow tired of it all for we all know laundry, and growing lawns and dishes are never really finished.
Instead, let us share these tasks together and rediscover the joy and rhythm in them. The children naturally follow me as I go from task to task. Sometimes they are looking for something to do so I create a job to keep their hands busy, other times they are happy to just be close to me immersed in their own imaginative games and play.
Here is a list of some examples of 'meaningful work' for toddlers and young children anywhere between the ages of 1 and 7 (and beyond).
In the garden
Raking the leaves
Mowing the lawn (we got the lawnmower at a garage sale)
Watering the garden
Folding doll clothes
Sweeping and mopping
Using the dustpan
Putting rubbish in the bin
Passing the pegs to you to hang the clothes
Taking turns with the vacuum
Sprinkling bi-carb and the bathtub and giving it a scrub (a favourite around here)
Waxing wooden furniture and toys
Spraying and wiping windows and mirrors (white vinegar and water spray bottle)
In the Kitchen
Setting the table
Washing the dishes
Cutting soft vegetables and fruits with a dull knife
Rolling out pizza dough
Putting pizza toppings on the dough
Peeling and/or grating carrots
They take such pride in this work. So often children feel small and ill-equipped to help themselves to do the things that they desire. These little tasks give them a sense of being helpful and useful. They find joy in the rhythm of doing and they remind me to find joy in these little moments also.
Please do leave any other suggestions in the comments section if you have them!