When you have a daughter, everyone assumes she’s Daddy’s little girl. In our family though, our 19 month old daughter is attached to my hip (literally, sometimes, since I often can’t say no when she pleads “up please, mama!”). She follows me around the house and if I close the door for privacy, you better believe she’s outside knocking and yelling (and occasionally crying) for me.
Although I secretly love that we are so attached and am trying to appreciate this short-lived phase, it occasionally causes logistical difficulties because I need to do things, like, you know, shower or blow dry my hair or cook dinner. No toy holds her interest the way I do. What I have realized is that my daughter wants to be part of what her mama is doing because, hey, mama is cool.
So instead of fighting it, why not include her? Here’s how I do it.
1. Kitchen Duty: We spend a lot of time in our kitchen, between cooking, packing lunches, and washing dishes. To keep the munchkin occupied, I hand her a wooden spoon and a bowl and let her “cook.” Nothing makes her happier than when we “taste” from her spoon.
2. Recycle It: When I organize my mail, old magazines, and work papers, I hand her one piece of paper at a time and ask her to place it in the recycling bin. You’d be surprised at how many times she’s willing to run back and forth!
3. Clean-Up Time: Whenever I am straightening up, I ask for her help. Toddlers love to move things around, even if they are undoing some of the organizing you have done. When all else fails, I hand her the plastic watering can, and ask her to water our plants.
4. Our Morning Routine: Week day mornings in my house used to be chaos as I did my makeup with one hand while simultaneously entertaining the munchkin. After leaving the house one too many times with no mascara on one eye, I realized we needed a new system. Now, the munchkin situates herself on the floor outside the bathroom while I do my hair and makeup. I hand her combs, makeup brushes, mascara tubes, and plastic foundation containers, and in turn she hands them back to me when I need them.
It teaches her to share and say please and thank you, occupies her while I get ready, and most importantly serves as quality time together before I leave for the day. That’s what it’s all about in the end.
How do you complete your everyday tasks with your children’s “help”?