7 Ways to Teach Your Child With Everyday Tasks

Have you ever noticed how your child seems to always bug you when you are trying to get something done? I remember when my oldest was a toddler and she was busy playing with a toy so I would sneak off and try to load the dishwasher. But of course it wouldn’t be more than two minutes and I’d hear her footsteps coming towards me yelling “mommy!”. I’d start fumbling trying as fast I could to load the dishes and she would keep asking me “what are you doing?” or shed start grabbing the dishes and making a mess. O I would get frustrated that she just couldn’t stop bugging me and go play. Then one day I decided to ask her if she wanted to help me load the dishes into the dishwasher after we finished breakfast. Her face lit up as she squealed in delight. And so began the first step of teaching with everyday tasks.

Children love to help out so why not include them in daily chores? Including them in daily chores is beneficial for several reasons. First, it develops self reliance as children learn important life skills that will be useful throughout their lives. Second, it helps children to feel important and that they are a useful part of the family. Third, it builds their confidence as they master new skills. Fourth, as children get older they learn that there are consequences of making a mess so they are more likely to keep things clean to make chores easier. Lastly, it is a great way to include hands-on learning to work on fine and gross motor skills, engage the senses, and build critical thinking skills.

I have put together a list of ways that you can easily turn everyday tasks into a learning opportunity for your child.

1) Putting toys away

This one is always easier said than done. It probably seems like everytime you ask your child to clean up they just don’t listen. So here are some ways to turn it into a learning opportunity:

  • Sorting things: Have specific areas for certain toys. For example, the dolls go in one bin, the blocks go in another, etc.
  • Colors: “Can you put the green blocks in the bin? Can you put the yellow blocks in the bin?”
  • Counting: “Let’s count to ten and see how many toys we can put away as fast as we can.”
  • Gross Motor Skills: “Can you lift the baby doll over your head and put her in the bin?”

Some helpful tips to putting toys away:

  1. Give your child plenty of time to clean up
  2. Give a warning before transitioning so your child can finish up what they are playing with
  3. Sing a song or put on a song to make it fun

2) Cooking

I love to cook with my children. And the best part is that once the cooking is done we get to share a meal or treat together.

  • Fine motor skills: Cutting the food, cracking the eggs, peeling garlic, pouring, using cookie cutters, stirring, scrubbing vegetables, peeling fruit.
  • Colors: Ask what color the food is.
  • Counting and measuring: Count different ingredients. For example, “How many eggs are there?”
  • Sensory: Let them feel the different textures such as eggs, flour, batter and ask them how it feels.

3) Laundry

Laundry is the one chore that I dislike the most. But it has to be done. My oldest is old enough to where she can wash, fold, and put away her own laundry. I think a lot of that is because I involved her in the laundry process from when she was little. And I have continued to do that with all of her siblings.

  • Laundry is the one chore that I dislike the most. But it has to be done. My oldest is old enough to where she can wash, fold, and put away her own laundry. I think a lot of that is because I involved her in the laundry process from when she was little. And I have continued to do that with all of her siblings.
  • Fine Motor Skills: Pouring the detergent into the washer. Pushing the buttons on the machines. Folding the laundry.

4) Loading and Unloading the Dishwasher

I don’t know about you, but my children always seem to want to play with dishes when I am trying to load the dishwasher or put the dishes away. But believe it or not, having your child help is a great learning opportunity. The great thing is that my oldest has practiced enough that she is able to do dishes on her own. Here are some ways she practiced while I made it a learning opportunity:

  • Fine Motor Skills: Ask your child to put the dishes in between the racks is great fine motor practice.
  • Sorting: Have your child sort the silverware into each compartment when loading the dishwasher and sort the silverware into the drawer when unloading the dishwasher.
  • Colors: When unloading the dishes ask questions like “Can you hand me the red cup?”

5) Wiping the table or chairs

Give my children a spray bottle and wipe and they just start wiping everything down! For this one I recommend getting a spray bottle because kids love to spray!

  • Fine motor skills: Using the spray bottle is great for hand strength.
  • Gross motor skills: Using their whole arm to wipe the table and chairs

6) Making the bed

Making the bed is such a daunting task but it needs to be done. But o do I love sleeping on nice clean sheets! Making the bed can be difficult for children but getting them involved will help them learn how to make it properly.

  • Gross motor skills: Taking the sheets off the bed. Putting the pillow into the pillow cases.
  • Colors: If you have different colored sheets ask your child to grab a certain color. For example, “Can you grab the grey sheets?”
  • Counting and shapes: Ask what shape the bed is and how many sides it has.

7) Vacuuming

My children all love to vacuum. Each one of them has always gotten curious and ended up with the vacuum stuck on some part of their body. Luckily they didn’t get hurt so I can look back and laugh at it now. We invested in a small hand vacuum for the children to help out but if you don’t have a hand vacuum then that’s ok. You can use a regular vacuum.

  • Gross motor skills: Ask your child to clean under the bed, on top of the couch, under the table, over the rug, etc.
  • Fine motor skills: Using the nozzle to get small areas like the couch or between the couch cushions.
  • Sensory: Have your child empty the vacuum cleaner and clean the filter in the sink. Make sure you are supervising your child so they don’t make mess.

When you involve your child in everyday tasks it is important to be mindful of where they are at in their development. For example, I would never ask my two year old to help fold laundry as that would be too difficult for her and would end up causing frustration. At this young age remember that they can only remember one or two step processes. So don’t make things complicated for your child. Also, try to make these chores fun for children so that get excited and learn that it doesn’t have to be daunting. And lastly, praise your child for their efforts so they are more likely to help out again. There are so many other ways that you can include your child in everyday tasks. So I would love to hear what you have tried!

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