Thursday, April 22, 2010

Teaching children household skills

I was chatting with some Mum's at the boys kindergarten today and I was sharing with them how I like to do a 'Mum Spot' for family night which we have every Monday night. This family night is an activity where we all get together - no excuses - and spend time learning from each other, playing games and having a yummy treat!

This conversation all started because they were commenting on how much washing/housework I must have to do. Yes, there is lots of washing and housework and finger prints and toys and books and dirt and dishes and mess and enough food on the floor to feed another family...

I am thankful I have such great kids to help me out and can help carry the load of keeping our house in order. Now that some of the kids are getting a little older it is wonderful that they can reach things - like the washing line- and can even take clothes off for me! Woo hooo!

As the mother of the home and the 'personal trainer' on most things cleaning and organising (I say MOST because Matt is wonderful at helping out at this too and he generally has more free time to teach things or so it seems), around here I generally take this training seriously. So I allocate time on our family night to teach a new skill.

Some of these 'skill training' moments have been lots of fun. It is also one of the few times that I have everyone's attention and I can get them all together at the same time. 

Anyway, some of the things that I have done to teach the kids are:

Learning to fold a tea towel or face washer - I found this is great to start the kids off as it is a lot smaller than a bath towel and they can practice folding it over so that the edges touch and we talk about it being a square shape or rectangle.

Folding a bath towel - Once they have mastered the tea towel I then have taught them how to fold a bath towel in half length ways and how to hang it on the rail in the bathroom. Now just remember here they are little kids and the first couple of times it does not have to be hung straight, just hanging on the rail.

Setting the table - My kids learn this one early - even my 2 year olds can put a fork and knife on the table, crooked but still on the table.

Making a bed - Straightening out the blankets to begin with when they are little and then progressing up to learning to tuck in sheets and then learning how to change a bed by themselves.

Brushing teeth - Trying to learn to brush their teeth for 2 minutes and then also flossing. 

Learning what a wash basket is - This may sound silly but I find as parents we forget that we take the names of items around the house for granted. Our children need to be taught what they are called. So pointing out where the wash baskets are in rooms and around the home and what they are used for is a big help. I do this to try to stop all the clothes being left on the floor!

Sweeping the floor - Sweeping the kitchen floor is actually a difficult skill to learn. I teach the children the process of sweeping under the table and the importance of creating a pile.

Using a dustpan and broom - This is great for younger kids as it is just the right size for them to hold and they can start by cleaning up the mess they make themselves!

Answering the phone - I teach them what I would like them to say and not what I would like them to say (example: mum is on the toilet...). I teach them to speak clearly and to ask people to call back if needed.

Answering the door - We teach our children that they are not to answer the door until an adult is with them. They can speak through the door and when they hear a knock they need to come and find me right away. 

You can also use this time to teach:
how to put on socks, 
put on shoes, 
tie shoe laces, 
brush hair, 
tie hair back, 
how to do up buttons or how to hold a knife and fork. 

I want my kids to grow up independent and responsible. To be able to take care of themselves and their future families. Yes, it does take a lot of effort and planning and patience but the results are wonderful. Children who are motivated and happy and getting themselves organised gives me so much free time to do the things that I want to do.

We still have a long way to go around here but now that I am getting back on track I hope to see some sensational results.

Does anyone have any other great ideas to teach your kids?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

family principles chart part 2

After finishing the family principles chart and trying to work out where to put it. I realised that I had a spare frame that I picked up at a second hand shop (for $20...bargain!) and thought it just might fit in it. 

I loved the silver frame immediately.
We then found the perfect spot for it and it is in our lounge room and love it!

It has taken the place of the television we used to have in that room and is much better to look at.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Remove your shoes sign

In my blog searching I have found some fantastic blogs with really creative ideas, inspiring women doing amazing things and so many women who are just keeping it real. One of my latest finds is a site called: How Does She?

A group of three women got together to collect ideas on how other women go about being better mothers, better wives and better women. I love it because that is what I think all the time...'How did they do that?'.

One of their ideas I loved was to make this Please Remove Your Shoes sign. 
(I took this picture off their site..I am new to this stuff..and guess I should have asked permission first).

I have so many old frames that I don't know what to do with so this seems like a perfect project. My poor kids, I dragged them outside and told them I wanted to take pictures of their feet...such a funny experience...trying to get them to stay still was a nightmare! Anyway, they know what I am like...the project had to made yesterday!

Ellis legs and feet!

So far I have the pictures, the frame ready and now I just need to find the perfect spot!
If you are interested in learning how to make it click: please-remove-your-shoes

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Family Principles Chart

I have been doing some blog searching lately and came across this great site that has lots of craft ideas. It is called Tatertots and Jello and they have excellent links and instructions.
One of the ideas I loved was to make a family rules chart that was made by The Pleated Poppy.
I just happened to have a spare canvas that I could recycle and thought that this was an activity that I immediately had to do.
After some discussion with the family we decided to call our chart the 'family principles' chart because we believe in teaching our kids correct principles and letting them govern themselves. 
We all talked about what we wanted to have on our chart. The principles needed to be simple and easy to understand as we have many little ones still. Then I went off to Spotlight to get some paper and decorations and Liahona, Chelsea, Harmony and I went to work.
We had lots of fun and are so delighted with our finished product. It is a large looks great and we hope to refer to it often. Good work girls!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter Basket String hunt

For Easter this year we decided to try a new hunt.
It involved all the kids having to follow a piece of string around the house to get to their Easter Basket. I went off to the op-shops and managed to find 8 different coloured balls of wool for around $2.50. Of course I had to include Matt in this as he went without chocolate for a whole year last year and was very excited to be able to participate in the chocolate egg eating this year.

I started at the front door with the shoe basket (not very original but I needed something that would hold the string in place) and tied the string to it with everyone's name on it.

Once they had their piece of string they then had to follow it all around the house to get to the end and find their basket.

With some of the smaller kids I gave them a bag to put all of the string in as it was too hard to keep rolling it in a ball. The bigger kids and Matt had longer string to follow and had a great time going under tables, over couches and all over the house searching for chocolate.

The best part was eating the chocolate and for me seeing the delight on their faces enjoying a fun family activity. Of course I made Matt's string hunt really hard and he was going for some time after the others had finished.

I found this idea on 71toes blogspot. Thanks for the idea Shawni.