Delegation- Children Helping Out

I know that this blog is supposed to be about Life Integration, but to be honest I haven’t yet found a great deal of ability within myself to write about family topics in addition to my more "geeky" posts. My wife and I have two boys, Joshua and Caleb. Joshua is currently 2 (30 1/2 months) and Caleb is 1 (18 months). Joshua seems to have a natural desire to help out. When we’re cleaning up the table after dinner, he wants to take things to the trash. It takes a lot longer with him helping, but on the other hand we’re also teaching him how to clean up and if he wants to help out, why not? Mostly we give him one or two things at a time and tell him to put something in the trash, then take something else to the sink.

Well, as a dad, I’m very proud to announce that Joshua has mastered his very first chore, and he is happy to do it each night. As we go about our nightly routine, two of the chores that must be done are putting the dog in his kennel and feeding the outside cat. One of our cats developed a problem with the boys during the spring and decided to use their toys and bed and things as his litterbox. We gave him several weeks to turn around but he wouldn’t, so eventually he was relocated to the back yard. He’s gotten in once or twice, but he is an outside cat now. I make sure to feed him every night.

Anyway, Joshua has for at least the last 6 months been helping me put the dog in his kennel. It took a lot of work to crate train him, but once he was trained he just seemed happier to sleep in there, so we of course were happy to let him. Joshua, just last week, mastered the kennel latch and now all I have to do is give him the treat and tell the dog to go to the kennel, and he can give the dog the treat and close the latch while I feed the cat. He’s proud of himself too.

It’s great to have children helping out. If your small children want to help you out with chores, but all means, let them. It may take longer at first but it’s a great time to teach them and in our busy lives it’s also a good time to spend together and bond.

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