How to encourage children to join in household jobs and activities

Posted under Educator Inspiration

The easiest way for us to gain precious time for our own creative adventures is to help our children become independent of us for their play and entertainment.
Sound easier said than done?


I might be a little controversial here and suggest that our task as parents is NOT to play with, or entertain our children.  I would suggest instead that it is to help them learn to be an independent, free-thinking, creative, imaginative, capable, industrious, self-managing person so that when they leave home upon becoming an adult, they have the skills to run their own household, make good choices in their relationships with lovers and friends, are full of love and light with a solid self esteem, can make a plan and follow through with actions, respect others and respect things, and can meet their own worthy goals.


Whilst a little bit of playing with our under school-age children (and older children too, of course) is lots of fun, and something we don’t ever want to give up, I don’t believe anyone should feel like they have to play the role of their child’s favourite play companion.  : )


If we look to recent history for a moment, we can see that there was little time for adults to play with, or entertain children. Instead, the adults of the house were busy with their daily tasks, and the children had a responsibility to help keep the household running from a very young age, (older siblings caring for little brothers and sisters was pretty common)  but were also expected to find their own things to do and play when they were not needed.


Little ones at home would help bake cakes, hang out washing and feed the animals because they loved doing what mum or dad was doing and joining in real tasks, but after a time, they would grow tired of helping and would leave mum or dad alone, traipsing off to their own imaginary play games.


I believe (and have years of proof!)  that if we encourage (or even demand?) our children to join in OUR fun (and not so fun) tasks, such as cooking, cleaning windows, sweeping, washing the car, making gifts and crafting, preparing dinner and washing up, children learn to join in and be responsible AND take the later opportunity to play out their experiences of life with their friends and on their own.  Definitely without the NEED for us.


If we can add a thoughtful song, a giggling game, ingenious potential in their ‘toys’, and teach them basic craft skills , our children are set for life.


They’ll never NEED us to entertain them again, which will free up HOURS AND HOURS of our MamaMoontime (and MamaDaytime!) each week.  How fabulous!


(Joyfully, anytime we want to spend time playing with them, they’ll happily take our attention but there is a big difference between a parent happily engaging in play with their children and parents who are there, bored out of their brain and resentful at the fact that their children rely upon them so greatly.   For resilient, happy children who are full of potential, be one of the former.)


Here are some ideas that might help to break a ‘needy’ bond:
Practical tips for reclaiming something of your life.
Make perfect bread dough whilst humming a favourite tune!
Any thoughts, or self-managing tips or ideas to add????

4 Responses to “How to encourage children to join in household jobs and activities”

  1. The Seed That Grew

    Lovely Amber. Your blog is still my favourite blog to read. I have been watching Little House on the Prarie DVDs with my two little girls. It has been inspiring to watch the mother and girls on the show work harmoniously together doing chores and crafts. Such a simple life back then. I like finding a happy medium between modern day life and the goodness of times past. Your blog is so very inspirational. Much Love <3 Angel (Angelique)

  2. Amber Greene

    Thanks Angelique! I feel so proud! I love Little House too! A happy medium is definitely the go! Happy household tasking!

  3. Bonnie

    I love this post too Amber & really agree with your view. It’s what works in my house, although my mum insists it is so important to play with your children (I disagree). I love to take my kids out & about but I don’t like to interfere with their play. Love the first photo of a shining S too :)

  4. Amber Greene

    The key is interference isn’t it. When they are playing happily without us, there is no need for us to intervene and in face, we’ll get in the way. and playfulness should be happening everyday with our kids- it might just not be whilst they are stacking blocks or are in the sandpit… Don’t you agree?

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