Why young children should help with the laundry!
We often talk about how children learn things so much more effectively from fun, creative or hands-on activities. By allowing your children to actually DO things, rather than just telling them or showing them how, you are involving them in the activity. This has been proven to promote better learning and understanding, not just of the task involved, but also of the concepts surrounding that activity. From a very young age, cognitive patterns are being formed in your little learner’s brain. Allowing them to participate, even with mundane (to us) household tasks, affords them the opportunity to experience things that are totally new to them.
The great thing about allowing children to help with some of the household tasks is that they need to be done anyway, so the time taken out for these useful little lessons is really minimal – Apart from a bit of instruction and supervision of course.
So what can a young child actually learn from helping with the washing?
“The dirty laundry is in the basket. We need to take it out. We will make a pile of light colours and a pile of dark colours, then it needs to go into the washing machine.”
Apart from simple language recognition, looking and listening to what you have said, there are actually quite a few concepts within this instruction alone including opposites, colours, sorting and prepositions.
Depending on your washing for the day and the age of your little one, there may be higher levels of complexity too. “Group together the towels, bedding and socks,” is a classification exercise that deals with objects according to their sizes and textures, and pairing socks together after drying laundry is yet another great task for learning object comparison. “It’s inside out, turn it the right way and fold it in half,” is more of a challenge than a chore for the growing and inquisitive young mind.
More complex still, older children can learn to recognise washing symbols and temperatures and group laundry accordingly. Even helping you to peg the washing out, counting coloured pegs and handing you items can be an invaluable learning experience, you can even get a low peg hanger for them to sort and hang small items (great for fine motor skills). So with lots of praise and encouragement, tasks like laundry and such become a fun learning game you can enjoy with your little learner, rather than a mundane chore.
What else can young children help with?
You will be able to find numerous things within your daily routine which your child can learn from and with which you can create fun games and challenges:
- Tidying their own room, or tidying away toys (sorting and organisation)
- Folding, putting away clothes (motor skills, sorting, colours, textures)
- Put on cushion covers/plump cushions (coordination, motor skills, physical activity)
Obviously, there are many more, and as long as your child is well supervised and the tasks chosen are appropriate for their age, they will be able to help you throughout the home and garden, learning and enjoying time together as you go!
The enhanced cognitive and motor skills that your child can develop through practical and play-based learning, are also complimented with the integration of creative expression through arts, crafts and music. At our Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning and Childcare Centres in NSW, the curriculum encourages children to work together as a team, singing, painting and making great things, further developing their growing minds.