Mothers are multi-taskers. We are known for talking on the phone, while changing a diaper, keeping an eye on the oven, while re-attaching the leg of a minifig casualty of war. With five little boys running around, I've become proficient at multi-tasking. And yet, sometimes I'm the multi-tasking mom that wants to be a one-woman-show. I forget that I don't need to do it all myself.
The reminder all of us busy moms need sometimes is this: Creatively employing our kids is the ultimate in multi-tasking.
Training our kids to help, at any age, accomplishes all this and more:
1) Builds their skills in cleaning, organizing and other help around the house
2) In time, takes tasks off of your plate
3) Teaches kids cooperation with siblings
4) Reinforces the principle and heart behind servanthood
5) Keeps little ones (and their hands) busy
6) Provides built-in family time...that can be fun!
Is this new to you? If you tend to think that cleaning should be done when your kids are asleep or that organizing is best accomplished when the kids are at school, perhaps creatively employing your children in tasks around the house feels more like a hinderance than a benefit. However, in my own experience, making time for inefficiency sometimes becomes the most special ways I've learned to enjoy my kids and get things done...at the same time.
Here are some practical ways I've been including my kids in my multi-tasking:
1) Keep kids cups and place within reach, and have little ones unload their own dishes from he dishwasher
2) Hand a little one a swiffer mop with a wet or dust pad on it. (Maybe they won't get the floor clean, but this entertaining task will inevitably result in some clean areas!)
3) Older siblings are great at helping with putting on shoes, and taking littles to the bathroom.
4) Teach kids to do their own laundry by partnering up with an older sibling.
5) Give the job of setting the table to a little one.
6) Plan ahead to involve your children with different areas of dinner prep that can be done in advance. Do you need potatoes scrubbed? Have a little one do that early in the day when an activity is needed. Do you need carrots peeled? Give that task to an older child when he's ready for a job.
7) Tedious jobs like dusting blinds can surprisingly delight a little one who needs a measurable task to accomplish.
8) My kids are great paper-shredders! Just make sure the pile you give them to cut and shred are thoroughly examined as trash! They won't think it's work at all! :)
What about you? What ways do you creatively employ your children? How do you keep them busy and teach them to help out around the house?
Ruth Simons, www.gracelaced.com