I had a playdate yesterday, where a friend came over for some cake and a chat (don't worry she brought her child as well).
|Rounding them up with granddad|
We talked about lots of things but one I thought was interesting was when she asked me how I felt about children helping or working.
Now I'm not talking about sewing Nike trainers in a sweat shop here, more helping around the house and in my case helping out on the farm and garden as well.
|Helping sort the sheep|
I've never really questioned whether this is right or wrong, for me the children "help" and that's just how it is. Sometimes they want to, other times they don't, but they still have to pitch in, even the boy at 20 months.
In fact yesterday was a prime example of this, as my dad had come over to help me wean the lambs and sort out a few cull ewes. I had the children all day so they had to be out there helping us, to start with they were quite happy as we rounded them up, but as we got near our second hour they were both getting bored, a little wet from the rain and obviously wanted to go inside.
They didn't though - as I had to stay until the job was done, they found ways to amuse themselves, picking blackberries and playing on the bike, but they'd definitely had enough!
I said to dad that "I keep sheep differently to most, I normally have three kids in tow."
He just said "Well that's how I did it as well".
We emulate our parents without even realise it sometimes. I remember so many hours of things like this, learning through osmosis.
|Done with the job for today! He just wants to go in!|
The day before they put their own toys away in the sitting room while I hoovered, although I had to do much nagging to get them to do this. And yesterday they helped me bake a cake and some bread for lunch. Things like being able to send my eldest off to get herbs and veg from the garden for tea is really helpful as well.
But don't get me wrong, them helping doesn't mean that my jobs get done any faster, in fact normally quiet the opposite! But it should make things easier when they're older and they're building skills and hopefully a work ethic which will last them a lifetime.
But I'm glad that my children already help out, and they seem to enjoy it. The look of pride on my daughters' faces when I put them to bed and say "Thank you for helping today," says it all as they beam back at me and say "You're welcome".
I don't want to spoil them by making their lives too easy!
What do you think?
Should I be making my children help me or just letting them play?