When I was a little girl, my Dad often told me “You can help by not helping.” That statement always puzzled me because I thought “How can doing nothing be helpful?” Then….I became a parent and I was enlightened into his line of reasoning!
My children, especially as toddlers and preschoolers, wanted to help me with dusting, vacuuming, cleaning up spills, etc. I even caught myself repeating my Dad’s “You can help by not helping.” There is a time when it’s more trouble for them to help and then there is a time to encourage their help.
Occasionally I allow Luke to dust (when company is not expected), and it entertains him a full 90 seconds before he is off playing with his brother. Luke is responsible for putting his dirty clothes in his laundry basket and making his own bed. His bed is not made military perfect, but I do not go behind him to “re do” the job. He does his best and that’s all I ask. Small tasks can boost his confidence in big ways.
Lindsay and Logan have assigned chores that must be completed before school begins three mornings a week. Lindsay wipes down all the bathroom counters and sinks and Logan empties all the trash cans. They both make their own beds and clean their rooms. They are helping make their own lunches, and I hope to teach Lindsay this summer to wash her own clothes.
I used to keep a perfectly clean house, but when my children came along, I no longer had all that time to clean. Their help is invaluable to me, and I need to ask for it even more!