One of my favorite things about toddlers is their inclination toward attempting to do “grown-up” things. There are definitely times when it can be a little bit frustrating (i.e. your toddler wants to put their socks on all by themselves when you’re running late for an appointment), but for the most part these everyday activities can provide great opportunities for teaching your child.
As parents we are the first teachers that our children will ever know, and it is up to us to find little times in the day that can become teachable moments. For example, in the photo above, my daughter is “putting on makeup” with me while I get ready and do my makeup for the day. I let her sit down next to me while I work, and she pretends to apply mascara and we talk about the various parts of our faces that we are putting makeup on. I ask her to hand me items and we make different faces in the mirror and it helps us talk about feelings (i.e., happy face vs. sad face among others). It’s not anything major, but she is learning, and we are spending time together while I do something that I have to do anyway — and it makes her feel empowered when she is included in these kinds of tasks. The sheer look of pride on her face as she shows me her “pitty eye yashes” is priceless. Does she need to learn to put on makeup anytime soon? Definitely not! But that doesn’t mean that I can’t include her in my daily routine. She loves it, and it makes it easier for me to fit in the things I need to do.
I try to mimic this in other parts of my day as well. For example, she helps me unload the dishwasher and clean up toys, or sweep a lot of times. We sing songs about cleaning and talk about how we sometimes need to do work before we can do fun things. She helps me put items in the cart at the grocery store and we talk about the different kinds of foods we get and where it comes from and what we are going to make with it. We brush our teeth together and we talk about our mouths and count those tiny white teeth. We collect the eggs from our chickens and use it as a time to talk about where our food comes from and we count as we collect.
There are a million little ways that we can include our little ones in our daily tasks!
What are some ways you include your child in your daily tasks?