How many of you involve your children in your day to day house chores? Like hanging up the clothes, setting up the dinner table,sweeping the floor,folding the clothes, taking out the bins etc.
I remember, when I was young, house chores was something expected of everyone, big and small. The younger children’s chores would be sweeping the floor, setting up dining tables, folding the clothes or dusting the chairs. These are important for many reasons.
What parents don’t realise is that children nowadays lack a lot of physical play, i.e. outdoor play. They tend to spend many hours in front of the computer or TV or are involved in more structured after school activities. I have noticed myself that after spending years in front of the computer I was neglecting a lot of body movements, like exercises and house chores, and as a result, my body started to be really stiff and I was experiencing many aches and pains.
I remembered my physiotherapist told me: the human body is not meant/be built to sit on a chair the whole day. Sure enough, when I started to use the sweeping broom that I had not used for a long time, that part of the muscle on my arm to maneuver the broom was not capable/was aching badly. Since then I started to appreciate that I had been abusing my body with less and less movement.
Refer to the article: Daily Telegraph – School kids suffering hi-tech flabby fingers 4th May 2013. (http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/schoolkids-suffering-hi-tech-flabby-fingers/story-e6freuy9-1226634983985). I am relating this topic of doing chores. We need to think about how we move our bodies, on top of physical play, how about involving your children in day to day house chores?
There are many benefits when involving your child with daily age-appropriate house chores:
(1) Responsibility – It teaches your children that everyone is the family has to contribute, whether they like it or not. It is part of life skills training. Sometimes there are things we like to do, but sometimes things we don’t like, but they have to be done – that’s life!
They will also learn creativity and time management. If they have something more interesting waiting for them, but they still have to hang the clothes, they will find ways to speed up the chores process so that they can do the things that they like.
(2) Physical development – As mentioned above, any movement is great for keeping your body subtle. Therefore house chores (age-appropriate of course) is a great way to exercise those muscles that are rarely used, and stay healthy and fit. For example: sweeping the floor or wiping the floor with both hands or on all fours, picking up recycled materials, putting away books and newspaper on the shelves etc. Those activities are not overly strenuous, but it involves movements and stretching of major parts of the muscles.
(3) Connections – Make house chores/activities an opportunity to connect with your children while having fun with them at the same time. For example, create opportunities to communicate when folding clothes together. When you are interacting with them, it is already a connection with your children. Use that opportunity to build deeper relationships with them. Children often open up when doing things together through shared experiences.
Have fun and remember, you can connect and have fun with your children while inspiring them with the love of learning.