Do you have a child that wants to be beside you at all times? It can be a little crazy-making, but this is a child who really needs some extra attention. Instead of telling him to go play and leave you alone so you can get things done—why not show him how to help you with the household chores? Now your child is being included and is getting the attention that he craves, and you are getting your work done.
It may seem like it takes longer to teach your child how to help do chores, but it is an investment in two different ways. Your child is being emotionally cared for and included now—and he is learning how to do things. Learning life skills pays off in the future. You might actually get more done by including your child than by spending a lot of time trying to get him involved in a solitary activity before you do the chores.
Being with you and involved in what you do gives your child an emotional boost that will actually help him feel included and needed right now, and to be more independent in the future. It also gives him the opportunity to learn how to do things that contribute to the family.
Some things young children can help you with are: loading laundry into the washing machine, folding clean dish towels, matching up socks, mopping the kitchen floor, hand washing plastic food storage containers, feeding a pet, vacuuming part of a room, dusting the coffee table, etc.
One of my favorite 3-year-old youngsters likes to wash his hands and then help me unload the dishwasher—and I do have to be right there to quickly receive the dishes as he pulls them out of the dishwasher. He also wants to stand on a chair and help clean up the countertop with a dishrag. He is just so happy to be allowed to help!
Including your children in your daily activities is worth all the time it takes, because years later, your older child just may start clearing off the table after dinner and loading the dishes for you every day without ever being asked, while you relax. That is such a great reward for your early teaching!