Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Enabeling Little Helpers

Miss Mega is 1 year 2 months old
Zilla is 4 years 0 months old

Today I'm going to tell you all a secret... shh... 
remember, this is a big secret...
 Kids love their independence!!!
They don't like to rely on other people to do everything for them!!!
They want to move around and see things for themselves.  They want to touch, taste, feel and smell.
They also want to be able to take care of themselves.

This morning Mega spilled some water on the floor.  She went right away to grab a towel and clean it up.  I didn't point it out to her or anything.  At 14 months old she knows that when you make a mess you clean it up.  Zilla did the same thing at this age.
At supper Mega spilled again but this time she was unable to get out of her chair to reach the towel.  She made noise to call me over, pointed at the paper towels on top of the fridge and signed "more".  She knows that at mealtimes we use paper towels to clean up messes.  When I handed her the towel she cleaned up the mess without a fuss and again without me having to say anything.
 In order for little kids to be able to clean up their own messes they need to have access to the right materials.  In our house this means hanging towels on the cabinet at a height that they can both reach.  There is a general wipe-up towel (the blue one in the first picture), a dusting towel (the white one) and a super soaker-upper towel (the lights blue one).  They have learned by watching me which towel is used when.  When they aren't sure which one to use they ask.
Kids learn by watching us.  Every little thing - including which towel we use to wipe the table - is noticed and copied.  One way to make life easier is to let them help out by giving them the ability to take care of themselves!

Along those same lines... here is where we keep the aprons and smocks. Having smocks and aprons handy saves on laundry.  It also helps the kids to get into the right mindset for the current activity when they change/add a piece of clothing. They each have a cooking apron and a craft smock.
Mega is still too short to reach the higher row of hooks so I added a couple at her level.  These hooks are attached to the wall with stickers so they can be removed easily.  Since kids grow so quickly and their abilities change so fast I like using hooks which can be taken off and rearranged as needed.

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