Today the Littles practiced folding cleaning rags. Bella (almost 4) folded with no problem. She enjoyed it so much, in fact, when we were all done she asked if she could unfold all of them and do it again.
Not on your life, Bella.
Seth (2) was completely frustrated by the activity and needed lots of help and encouragement.
Noah (5 – Down syndrome) definitely wanted to do this activity his own way. I showed him how to match corner to corner, but he insisted on trying to fold the rags in thirds. We did about half of them with me showing him a step, then unfolding the step and having him do it. That went well, and we used vocabulary words “corner, fold, half, side, press, flat, smooth.” He was really good at smoothing the rags between each step. Meticulous. Then, when he was still trying to fold it in thirds, I caught on and said “what the hay” and did the whole process with him as he folded everything in thirds. So what if some of my rags are folded in half and some are folded in thirds. Just don’t tell a certain member of my family who likes everything to be just so. 🙂
Sitting at the table with my three littles working on this life skill reminded me so clearly that in teaching chores there is so much more to learn than just physically how to get a job done. We had real fellowship working together for a common goal. How cool! It was one of those magical moments that when you first start homeschooling you’re sure your life is going to be full of. The Littles experienced working enthusiastically with genuine joy – what a great habit to have engrained in a child. So what if I could have done it faster myself. In 15 minutes we covered character, fine motor skills, obedience and life skills all in one activity – and they didn’t even realize we were doing “school.”
One word of caution on preschool chores like these. If after the job is done, it is not done to your satisfaction and you want to do it over again yourself, don’t you dare let your little ones see you undo their work. Let them know you think they did a wonderful job and they are so big to be able to do chores with mommy. If you absolutely have to touch it up, wait until they are occupied or better yet in bed.