Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Let Me Do It!"

Toddlers are industrious! They can accomplish much in a short time. Unloading cabinets. Emptying bags of flour for "snow". Unwinding tape rolls. But there is more...

Given a task, an important one, one they care about, they will accomplish much and feel incredibly empowered, eager for the next "job". Last night was one of those moments.

Mr. Red, the fish we inherited from great-grandma when she passed, needed a clean bowl. The water had become a science culture, I am sure, though I didn't test it. Poor Mr. Red! Sick children needed care. Mr. Red had to wait. I moved the fish bowl to the kitchen counter, near the sink, grabbed an extra large coffee cup from the cabinet, scooped Mr. Red into the cup, and within seconds was joined by our toddler who "wanted to help".

"Let me do it, too!"

What toddler doesn't like to play in water!

Mr. Red was swimming happily in the coffee cup I placed out of reach. I dumped the yucky water and poured the rocks and stones into water to be washed. Chair pushed to the sink, smiling toddler turned on water and began cleaning rocks.

Thirty minutes later, the toddler had cleaned every rock and placed all of them back in the bowl. She was so proud to contribute, to care for our beloved Mr. Red. She knew she could be a productive, contributing member of the family, accomplishing tasks of importance. Her smile spanned ear to ear, dimples dotting each corner.

My toddler is like me. She wants to contribute. She wants to serve, to care. In doing so, she catches a glimpse of the much bigger picture, one much bigger than herself. What started as "let me do it!" ended with "I like being a part of a family!"

How can your child contribute? How can he or she make a difference and catch a glimpse of a greater community? Imagine the possibilities!
  • help organize the pantry, cylinder cans on one shelf, rectangular boxes on another. 
  • water the plants, inside or out, with a pump spray bottle (great for fine motor skills)
  • fold washcloths in half and half again
  • match socks
  • sort laundry
  • organize the plastic container cabinet
  • sort coins- pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters
  • roll coins (get paper rolls at the bank)
  • make sandwiches (spreading is a great skill)
  • empty bathroom trash cans into the larger garbage can
  • carry hampers to the laundry room
  • make cookies (with supervision and help)
  • help put seeds in seed beds
  • help wash the car (and clean out the inside)
  • put library books in the bag to go to the library