Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Toddlers absolutely love helping. It's a fact. I'm pretty sure everyone knows that. Granted, their help isn't necessarily helpful in the true definition of the word, but getting toddlers and preschoolers involved in household tasks serves more than just putting them to work. It's actually the best predictor of their future success, according to a study done at the University of Minnesota. (Props to the awesome ECFE teacher who mentioned the study during parent time!)
I'm the parent of a very helpful nearly-three-year-old, so when I heard that, I knew that thinking up great ways for my kid to help was one easy way I could help instill important values in my child. Sam helps me bake bread (I measure the flour and let him add it a spoonful at a time, and we knead together until he gets bored). He mops and "flashes" the kitchen floor—I'm not sure what the "flashing" is accomplishing, but to him, it's an important part of the job. He sets the table. He shovels snow. He puts away his books. He puts the toppings on pizza and greases muffin tins and stirs (a lot). He even has his own special safe knife for chopping vegetables. Helping has not only given him confidence in his abilities, but it's also given us a great, fun way to spend time together and make routine parts of my life a little more interesting.
Plus, it seemed like an awesome idea for a set of books. And thus, Henry Helps was born. It's a series of four books (with more to come) featuring Henry, a helpful little boy who loves being involved in his family's daily chores. Like all little kids, Henry loves to help. He helps with his baby sister. He helps with the dog. He helps his dad prepare dinner. And he helps his mom do the laundry. The tasks Henry completes are totally manageable for most little kids. But they're actual important parts of each process. Sure, it takes a bit longer to rely on a three- or four-year old to mash up an avocado for guacamole. And you might end up with more of a mess if your toddler is helping to give the dog a bath or sort clothes for laundry day. Your kid can't feed and burp a baby, but he can fetch a burp cloth or a bib for you.
Becoming part of a home's rhythm is a very important part of a little kid's development. And creating a home rhythm is an important part of being a family. Check out all of the Henry books on our website.