Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Me Do It!

It’s yet another snow day in these parts. We passed on preschool this morning as it simply wasn’t worth risking slippery roads with two little ones in tow.

With just one monkey underfoot on preschool mornings, I usually reserve this time to get the house in a state of acceptable order and cleanliness. I’m certain that one of these days, a health and safety inspector is going to show up at my door to measure the amount of food caked to my dining room floor! It drives me batty but my attempts to keep up with it have all ended in complete failure. Muffy ensures a steady stream of oatmeal, yogurt and scrambled eggs hits the floor at regular intervals throughout the day. All hope was lost until Chi-Chi became the self-titled “Scrubber”. With his scrubby sponge in hand, this little guy can work wonders on those hardwood floors.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking and reorganizing these past couple of weeks. I borrowed Positive Discipline from the lending library at Chi-Chi’s preschool and it has prompted me to make an adjustment in my approach and attitude. Inspired by this book, as well as the Montessori approach I’m witnessing first hand at preschool, I’m making a concerted effort to get the little ones to take on more responsibility around our household. As Muffy would say, I’m promoting and supporting the concept of “Me do it!”

I’ve approached my efforts with an easy access attitude. If the kids can access their belongings easily, then they can put them away easily (in theory!!). The walk-in closet in our mudroom houses the kids’ wardrobes and has recently been named the “Hockey Dressing Room”. Chi-Chi was asked to review his bulging stack of clothes and to pick out his three favorite pants and shirts. The rest were put away in storage. He is now happily choosing his outfit and dressing himself. I think he feels a sense of pride that he was able to make the decision. He’s definitely not making a fashion statement, but he’s comfy and that’s what matters I suppose! Chi-Chi also chose more easily accessible storage locations for his apron and cleaning supplies. They no longer have to request access to the broom closet to retrieve these items. Once again, the pride he is exhibiting in making these choices means they are more often being put away properly.

I’ve also assigned a few small daily “chores”. They are responsible for setting the dinner table and clearing the plates. Instead of loading the lunch dishes in the dishwasher, I’ve been setting them aside for Chi-Chi and Muffy to wash by hand.

Don’t get me wrong, my house is still a complete disaster zone most days! These new efforts are not running 100% smoothly and I have found that perhaps I’m creating a make work project for myself. Greater involvement in meal preparation leads to even more food on the floor. Greater involvement in the cleaning efforts leads to occasional minor flooding! Seconds after that photo of the vacuuming was taken, the brush attachment was melted on the wood stove by a curious three and a half year old. I guess I’m banking on some long term benefits from this “investment” including strong self-esteem, independence and self-sufficiency (and maybe a cleaner house!)


Inspiring Mama said...

I can totaly relate to this post. At least you have the luck of having hardwood floors, as I am stuck with horrific carpet, which does not mesh well with little ones...sigh! Nevertheless, i have learned that keeping mini baskets around the house as a "collect all" has really helped. Sort of a lost & found. then when I have the time I will clear the baskets or have our 5 year old take a basket and put things back where they belong. Great blog! I will add you to my blogroll!

The Wool Fairy said...

I love the "Lost and Found" basket idea! I will give that a try for sure. Sounds like something the kids would actually enjoy (: