Want to keep your kids busy and engaged with something that’s not a screen? What to feel less of a perpetual Cinderella vibe? Let them help you!! Yes, a lot of it is the kind of “help” you don’t really need. As a lot, kids under 5 are not the most dexterous, logical, emotionally regulated beings. But, they enjoy being with us so much, and they learn fast! A big parenting lesson I have learned; is the more credit I give my children, the more they shine.
Helping is a spectrum, so you can adjust the role depending on the child. For instance, Lela “helps” by banging on pots, stealing my utensils, and taste testing. Zara is 3, so her strengths are pouring, mixing, smooshing, and she LOVES to crack eggs.
Yes, sometimes it’s better to get things done myself. Sometimes it’s faster (and way less messy) to make everything myself, feed them myself instead of hand over the utensils, and clean everything up myself. Big picture- I could do everything for them, all the time. BUT- do I want to? No. Do I need to? No. Is it better for them if I don’t? Yes.
This is one of those fundamental “long game” strategies I use with parenting. Trusting them with tasks at first makes more work for you; more time spent, more frustration thus a need for more patience- and ultimately more wine at the end of the day. The long game however, results in more independent and capable kids, less work for you, less multitasking thus less stress, and less crying in the shower.
So, take it from someone who has absolutely no idea what they’re doing, and invite your kids into the kitchen with you. Smaller steps? Start with cleaning up. Teach them to sweep, to wipe things up when they spill, to put their toys away. Show them by example, but also show them how to do it themselves. Stay consistent, and I promise you you’ll see results!