Hey Mama Monday: What Can a Four Year Old Do, Mama?
Your house may be a wreck once in a while because of the homeschooling and mothering and training you are busy doing. If you are all about cleaning house and cooking perfection, you just might be missing the most important things. Training gets pushed aside, schooling goes on the back burner, and relationships go on hold, all because of that idol of cleanliness. What is truly important for your children to learn?
When I had my first two children, I could handle things and had a certain level of perfection and order. I could cook, clean, do laundry. I could wash, feed, diaper, dress, and burp babies. I was keeping it all up, but I was exhausted. Then came baby number three, and I felt like I was starting to drown. My husband said, “The kids are going to do some chores!” Well, I balked at his idea, thinking I could surely do a better job than a four- and two-year-old. What could they possibly do that would be helpful?
They started with the garbage and feeding the animals. They put away the plastic cups and plates in a low cupboard. They learned to fold laundry, dust, and vacuum. Well, it sounds lovely, but in reality, it took a lot of instructing and secretly cleaning up after them. The dog food got spilled. There was the garbage that missed the can. There was more water on the floor than in the sink when dishes were washed. There was laundry strewn all over as the folding turned to medieval warfare, and they vacuumed up LEGOs and socks.
It actually was just as much work for me than if I had done it myself. But, persevering one day at a time and maintaining consistency, the children grew up to be great workers and even greater cooks.
Requiring chores of your children is a good way to prepare them for life. Our highest goal is to have children who serve God and serve others; and to reach that goal, we must teach them to be joyful servants of their families.
“Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).
“By love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13b).
It’s a blessing to be able to teach our children these important life skills like cleaning and cooking, and it’s an incredible blessing to have our children Home Where They Belong.
Deborah Wuehler is the Senior Editor and Director of Production here at The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. She would say she is a very ordinary homeschool mom–with one exception: she has an extra-ordinary God Who provides all she needs for life and homeschooling. She has eight children aged 11 to 29. Deborah’s mission is this: to point other homeschoolers to the Lord in all they do, think, and feel—and to confirm that they, too, can find everything they need for life, godliness–and homeschooling–in their knowledge of Him (2 Peter 1:3, 4).