My daughter, Esther, loves to watch me work. If it’s cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming the floor, she loves to follow me around and ride along with the business. However, when it comes to washing dishes she isn’t happy. What I’m doing is too far up and out of site for her to watch, and Mommy standing there doing, well… something, seems boring to her always-active self.
Now that she understands most of what I say, I’ve come up with a solution; let her help me.
She stands on a chair next to the sink and sticks her arms as far into the soapy water as she can and does her best to “scrub” the dishes. She needs to wear the biggest bib I have and there is a puddle of water to clean up afterwards, but she loves it and I do too. It might take twice as long to get done but I can see the concentration and happiness on her face as she “helps.”
I’ve learned that I can include her in many of my activities. Including her might mean more work to get the job done, but the alternative can be a lot of frustration when she’s winning about wanting attention and I’m trying to juggle patience and cleaning at the same time.
If I’m taking the garbage out, I let her walk outside with me. If I have to get the laundry, I take her along and let her press the elevator buttons. If I’m sweeping, I give her a broom too. And if I’m washing the floor I give her a cloth. At only fifteen months I can already see how desperately she wants to be a grown-up and, if possible, she would love to participate in everything I do.