My kiddo is a big help around the house…most days. Sometimes it’s a fight to get him to do anything and on those days, we do the task together, even if he’s fighting me the whole time. For example, the other day I had the nerve to ask my son to put his shoes on the mat when we got home. Well, instead I got a flop on the floor, full out tantrum, pretty much it was the end of the world as my toddler knew it. So I sat on the floor next to him and after he cried it out for a bit he wanted a hug which I of course gave him and told him we still needed to put his shoes on the mat. He lost it again so I picked up the shoes and carried him and the shoes to the mat while he screamed. I put him down, he picked up the shoes and threw them. I put them back on the mat and we left the area. He was fine a second later as if nothing happened and we carried on with our day.
You may think I’m crazy, that it’s not worth the fight over putting his shoes away, but when I ask my son to do something, I expect him to listen and if he doesn’t I follow through. Sometimes it can end up in a tantrum and sometimes it can last a while. Unfortunately, my son inherited my stubbornness. But ignoring my reasonable request or throwing a tantrum will not get him his own way.
Most days though, my son loves to help. Every morning and afternoon he brings me the dog dishes and helps me give them their food. He helps me water the plants, although we’re struggling not to drown them…and I’m trying not to get too attached. 😦 When I clean the floors he Swiffers. When I vacuum he loves to push the power button. When we’re getting ready to go out, he gets his shoes from the closet and usually puts them back on the mat or in the closet. When we’re outside and I’m cleaning up after the dogs, he loves to find messes in the yard, stand over it pointing and yelling “POOP!” until I come with the pooper scooper and clean it up. We clean up his toys together, but he often gets too distracted and starts playing so that’s still a work in progress! The list goes on!
I am flabbergasted when mothers of older children just follow their kids around cleaning up after them, never asking or expecting them to help, and they don’t. Why would they? They’ve never been expected to before! I taught preschool before I had my son and it is always obvious which children have been taught to clean up after themselves at home. The author from Journeys of the Zoo commented yesterday that “our job in life as parents is to teach our children how to live without us.” I think that is so true!
My son is not even 2 years old yet, but I’m laying down my expectations. We don’t have a chore list. We’re taking things slow, easing into what will be expected in the future. And believe it or not, besides those odd tantrums, my son LOVES it! He loves feeling included and helpful. He loves when I thank him for his help and tell him what a big boy he is. And if he ever gets married, I’m sure his partner will be grateful that we taught him to be independent and look after his home from an early age.