Thursday, August 27, 2009


I once heard a story about a father who had his child/children go out in a big field to pick up every stone they could find.  I wish I could remember the details, but the story went something along the lines of another adult pointing out to the father that they weren't even going to use that specific field but the father replying something to the effect that he wasn't preparing a field, he was preparing children to work.

Gosh, I wish I could remember that story better -- does it sound familiar to any of you?

Well, whatever the details are, it made a deep impression on me.  I really believe we need to teach our children to work.  Whether it is a specific chore or just giving them something to do and making them stick to it until they are finished.

Well, one day I did just that.  I gave 3 year old Max the chore of taking every book off of our bookshelves.  He already enjoyed doing that anyway, might as well make it a chore right?  So, he unshelved every last book and stacked them all on the couch (with my help).

Putting them back on the shelves we color coded them, which is great for teaching colors and also, it looks really cool.  He worked on this for a while but was side tracked when he found out the stacked books looked like stairs and a big mountain for his cars.

In the background of this picture you can see the final product:
Cost: FREE
Variations:  Have them clean out the fridge with you.  They LOVE this.  Have them take everything out of the fridge, you wipe it and clean it and they put everything back again.  They can put the laundry in the machine, take the laundry out of the dryer.  Have them sharpen all of the pencils in the house, make sure all of the lights in the house work, count the tiles in the bathroom floor, make sure there is a star sticker on every shoe/chair/window/blue thing in the house .  You know, silly things that give them a sense of purpose and accomplishment. 


Christie Burnett said...

My daughter is 18 months old and loves loading the washing machine and putting away the dry face washers and tea towels in a drawer in the kitchen. These are her chores! She also loves sweeping with the dustpan and wiping tables.

Let's hope she stays that way!

Kristen said...

That looks fantastic!!! Love the idea!

Likely said...

great ideas. I checked out your blog Christie -- you have some wonderful ideas! Thank you for the link!

Mama Ruck said...

My son started out as the 'door closer'. He then progressed to 'spoon fetcher'. Now that he is a whooping 2 years old he helps by putting the silverware away, wet clothes into the dryer, putting his dishes in the sink and beating eggs with Mommy. You are so right about the sense of accomplishment. Work is a great confidence builder!

meg said...

That is such a great idea! I think our bookshelf could do with a little bit of reorganisation, yours looks lovely.

Jess said...

oooh, love the color schemes! Is it hard to find the book your looking for? (Or is it one of those where they've mostly all been read anyways, so you're just warehousing them like I sometimes do--- that whole being-married-to-a-soon-to-be-professor-with-a-jillion-books thing.)

Oh, and I LOVE the ideas for work!!