Learning Anywhere, Every Day

Part 4 of 12 - Helping At Home

10 May 2017

learning any where everyday part 4 helping at home

Preschoolers love to help out, but too often we don’t let them. Sometimes it’s just easier and faster to do everyday jobs ourselves. Your child may take 15 minutes to do a job you can do in one. But in 15 minutes your little sponge can learn a lot. Helping at home can carry big rewards-- for your child and your whole family.

Everyday jobs are in fact big jobs for your preschooler! These may be indoor or outdoor jobs.  Setting the table, planting flowers, and cleaning up when visitors are coming are all important jobs for little hands. These can be done together in cooperation with with other family members.

Young children learn so much from these routine, big jobs. They learn to:

  • Work with other people - Teamwork is an important part of doing big jobs, such as cleaning up after a Skilly-do activity, like Wheelie Painting.
  • Solve problems - Figuring out the best way to do things together, like washing the dog. Can you please find Spot and I’ll get the tub ready.
  • Compromise - Coming to an agreement for the better good. We need to pull the weeds before planting flowers.
  • Contribute to the family - You can make dad’s job easier by helping set the table.

Here are few examples of big jobs preschoolers can do:

  • Cooking and baking - Washing and peeling vegetables, stirring muffin batter, tearing lettuce leaves to make salad.  Try making a Skilly-do snack, like Spider Crackers!
  • Gardening - Digging holes, planting seeds, raking leaves, weeding, watering plants indoors and outdoors.
  • Doing laundry - Carrying the laundry basket, sorting, folding, delivering clean clothes to each family member’s room
  • Caring for pets - Feeding, brushing, walking, cleaning the bird cage or aquarium.
  • Cleaning - Rinsing dishes, dusting, emptying wastebaskets.

Keep in mind these tips when doing big jobs at home:

  • Have fun. Remember your child will want to do big jobs if the experience is a fun one.
  • Be safe. Show your child how to safely use equipment like a rake or a vegetable peeler.  Stay close by when it is your child’s turn to use the equipment.
  • For older children, ages 4 years and older, try to find child-size tools. They make jobs easier and safer. Some good tools to have on hand are child-sized hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, and tape measures. 
  • Talk while you work together. Chat about what you are doing and whatever else your child wants to talk about. This is great for your preschooler’s language development.
  • Be appreciative. Show you are appreciative for the work your child has done.  “Thanks for folding the towels. You helped me a lot.” This will also help them appreciate what you do for them.

So, if you haven’t asked for your preschooler’s help lately, I hope these ideas get you started!

And after your preschooler has helped you clean up with a sponge, check out Spongy Walkers to explore another way to have fun with sponges. Let us know what suggestions you found the most helpful. What did your preschool enjoy most about helping out?

If you missed it, here’s Part 3 of our Learning Anywhere, Every Day series: Encourage Curiosity. Up next in Part 5, Fun Fitness! And as always, we'd love to get your feedback right here!

+ Inspiration/Photo credit goes to IDuke's aerial view of housing developments near Markham, Ontario.