When the kids were younger I thought it was funny, in an odd sort of way, to buy them a kid’s broom and dust pan. I’d see these items in toy magazines and I thought that it was sort of a demeaning toy. Really, what kid would want a broom?
Now that I have an official “chore chart’ and three older boys who claim that they don’t know how to do things. . .I have reformed my way of thinking.
Last month I ran over one of our brooms when I pulled into the garage and didn’t see the broom off to the side, but right where I park. So Scott cut the broom down and gave it to Dylan to use.
He loved it! And, he swept everything: leaves, popcorn that had been an afternoon snack, dirt from an overturned plant. Dylan quickly became a pretty proficient sweeper.
So this evening when I asked Will to sweep the kitchen floor, I quickly realized that he was pushing the broom rather than sweeping. And when I tried to show him the correct way to sweep, he said it was “too hard”. I quickly scanned my memory to think if I had ever seen him sweep and “No!” was the answer. In the past, even when he spilled something, usually I was the one to sweep it up because I was faster and I did a better job. I chose efficiency over skill development.
But, I’ve seen the error of my ways.
All of these things kids are learning to do are all skills that are rarely done right the first or second time. And they are skills that are best honed through–let’s say it all together: PLAY! By the time kids are six or seven, sweeping is a chore and not something that is fun. Dylan, at three, LOVES to sweep.
So, if Santa Claus didn’t bring a kid’s (or a cut-down adult) broom for Christmas for your toddler or preschooler, I’d start putting a bug in the Easter Bunny’s ear. Truly, your two-three-four year old will think that this is THE BEST GIFT. And, when that child is seven. . .and you need the floor swept. . .you will think it was too!
You might even think of throwing a “duster” in that Easter Basket, too! Can you imagine the fun they’ll have with THAT and how absolutely dust-free your house might be?
Really, if one of our jobs as parents is teaching our children specific skills, why wait until they are older and have chores? Give them the opportunity through play to “learn” how to do it on their own.
This summer a water tub with plastic dishes might just be the go-to toy.
Have you ever bought your children items to pretend they are cleaning?