Nov 2, 2013

What Can a 6-Year-Old Do to Help at Home?

Children are not just mouths to feed;
they can also be extra pairs of hands.

Today, my daughter Bea turns seven. I think it is a fitting tribute to her to tell the world what an amazingly helpful daughter she has been, not to brag but to thank her, as well as to propose an answer to other mothers who may be wondering, "What can I let my young children do at home, to teach them industry, responsibility, and respect for work?"

At six years old, Bea did these things to help Mommy out:

1. Wash the dishes. Ever since she was four years old, Bea has been washing dishes. She started training with plastic dishes and cups. At six, she could wash all the dinnerware that the family used at a meal, plus an occasional pot or pan.

2. Clean the house. Bea is in charge of sweeping and mopping the kitchen every day and the children's bedroom every week, and she does a better job of it than her dad, ha ha. (Yeah, that room gets cleaned only once a week. So sue me!) 

3. Prepare food for cooking. Bea loves pancakes. Since she was four, I have let her help me make the batter. For half a year now, she has been making the batter all by herself, without any supervision. (I still do the frying, though.)

She also slices meat into little pieces for soup, and she coats meat pieces with breading (flour, then egg, then bread crumbs) so Mommy can make Rabbit "Chicken Joy."

4. Fold the clothes. I admit, my children's drawers are not models of neatness. But when the chaos reaches the point where the drawers could no longer be bullied shut without physical intervention, Bea and her big brother Josh can be relied on to fold their own clothes and restore some order in their drawers that will last for almost 24 hours.

5. Take care of the baby. Of course, I do not recommend that you let your six-year-old take care of your one-year-old, but – bless me, Father, for I have sinned – I must admit there have been times when I relied on Bea to watch her sister while I finish my work on holidays, when the yaya does not come to our house.

Yesterday, Bea went far beyond the call of duty: when she returned the baby to me, the baby was bathed, diapered, and combed! (I don't even comb my kids' hair; if you don't believe me, ask my mother-in-law.) 

Now those are not all that Bea can do. She can also keep the toys, set the table, and feed the rabbits; but I did not include those in this list because those are the jobs of my four-year-old.

Am I saying that your children should do what my children do? Definitely not! Children develop at their own pace – but one thing the modern-day mom often does is underestimate the domestic capabilities of her kids. 

If your children are not helping out at home, maybe you're just not giving them a chance. Don't limit your children's abilities in your mind. Your child may be the extra pair of hands you have always wished for.

Happy 7th birthday, Bea!

The Nanay Notebook is written by Blessie Adlaon, a work-at-home and homeschooling mom of four. Check out our About page to know more about this blog's author and our policies on advertising, press releases, and reposting.

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