Hi! I’m Lyn Heerema, Children’s Librarian for the Ashland Branch library. I’m looking forward to sharing craft and activity ideas with you, as well as other resources and information that might be of interest for families and children. My blog posts will tie into a virtual story that can be accessed through our JCLS homepage, so be on the lookout!
This week’s story is about a big bear and a little bear working together to get chores done so they can finally play. When my three children were little, each of them had their own laundry basket with their name on it. When the laundry came off the line or out of the dryer, I’d sort the kids’ clothes into the appropriate basket, and then we would all fold and put away the laundry together. My youngest son, who was three at the time, would lay on his back and fold his laundry on his stomach. My daughter (age 4) was methodical and exacting with her folding, and my oldest just got it done. I didn’t really care all that much about how they did it or even how it looked, the exercise of doing it and putting it away was the end goal.
The thing is, because my husband and I fostered this idea of doing chores or helping out when our kids were very young, it became part of the culture of our family. When my kids started spending time at friends’ houses in their teens, it wasn’t uncommon for me to hear back from the adults in the house that my kids had offered to help with dinner and pitched in with the clean up after.
It’s never easy to get children (or adults for that matter) to do chores, but when it’s done in a spirit of teamwork, it can actually be a fun way to get things done and at the end of the day everyone experiences a sense of accomplishment and empowerment.
And while all of the above are obvious benefits of providing opportunities for children to help around the house, I think one of the most important and overlooked is that chores can actually create special moments between children and adults. A younger child who always wants to help will feel important and receive a self-esteem boost, and a reticent teen will sometimes decide to open up over a shared task.
You can visit the JCLS catalog for a list titled Children’s Books about Helping. This offers other picture book suggestions found in our catalog similar to You and Me, Little Bear and are a great way to further explore the idea of teamwork and chores.