We’ve all been told the phrase “If you want something done right, do it yourself” at least once, if not multiple times. There is nothing farther from reality when teaching a toddler how to do chores. Today we worked on hanging our laundry outside. I didn’t plan on doing this, it was my son that taught me that he was ready and that I needed to include him.
My son was standing beside me fussing and whining. I was focused on the task of getting the laundry up and trying to get him to play independently (i.e. chase our dog around the yard). When he wouldn’t let up, I gave him one of his shirts and told him to put it on the line, gently guiding his hand. He beamed with pride when it stayed up! I handed him another one, he focused on getting it on the line, it fell, but he just asked for another piece of clothing.
I know that I need to be more patient and slow down. I can thank my son for helping me to teach him. Sure he piled the clothes into one area or half of them fell down and I had to go back later and fix them, but that was not what my son saw. He learned how to do something new, he enjoyed working alongside me, and he felt pride in his work. Perhaps next time his coordination and his attention span will be longer.
Adult to toddler hack: In order to make our clothesline toddler friendly, we just added a rope at his height at the bottom. Cost= $0. Time=5 minutes
Advanced Lessons: for older toddlers and children you can incorporate lessons on solar energy and/or practical life of folding clothes after they have dried
It’s hard to be a little kid in an adult world. Everything is made for big people and you are working so hard to navigate this world but don’t seem to fit in. Having a toddler sized layout is important for building self-esteem and independence. Unfortunately, it is surprisingly counter intuitive and difficult to do as an adult that has had adult sized items for so long. One way I like to help myself navigate this new world better is to crawl around and see what my son’s perspective is and how I can better create an appropriate environment for him. It is not something that has happened quickly, but I like to give myself credit even for the small things. My house doesn’t look like a Montessori classroom or a toddler oasis but I am trying one item at a time. One rearranged item is better than none I tell myself!
It’s a small change I made. I happened to have this non-glass mirror hanging above my dresser so I could put my earrings in. It was very useless since I can’t wear earrings anymore unless I want to risk losing my lobes. I decided to hang it low in my son’s bedroom so that he can see himself in the mirror.
The first time he got a peek he did a double take. He smiles when he sees himself. He gets joy from seeing me in the mirror and then turning around and seeing me right there. Sure it’s covered in finger prints most of the time and doesn’t entertain him for more than a couple minutes, but I believe having this at his height is one small step I can take in making him feel confident in his environment, making him feel that his room is his.
Future goal: a brush on a shelf so he can learn to comb his hair