I wrote about it before, but I’m constantly reminded of how therapeutic it is for children to simply allow them to help when they want to.
My 19-month-old daughter, now, insists on being the only one authorized to push the baby’s stroller down the street. Works fine for me as she actually walks much faster when she’s pushing, though gets distracted by fire trucks and “beeeiiiig buss!!!” sightings much the same way as the dogs in “Up!” got distracted by squirrels.
Yes, it makes crossing streets perilous (thanks to How To Be a Dad for the suggested street signs by our house), but our daughter is more and more assuming that she gets to help, and that she has a responsibility in the house. She’s tries to burp the baby when he’s done eating, tries to help do the dishes, and helps clean up her toys when she’s done. It’s something my wife and I have every intention of continuing to foster.
And of course, no sooner do I get finished posting this, but my daughter now insists on being the only one in household permitted to vacuum the whole house. Video follows:
From the excellent Successfully Raising Children course:
Children, in the main, are quite willing to work. A two-, three-, four-year-old child is usually found haunting his father or her mother trying to help out either with tools or dust rags; and the kind parent who is really fond of the children responds in the reasonable and long-ago-normal manner of being patient enough to let the child actually assist. A child so permitted then develops the idea that his presence and activity is desired and he quite calmly sets about a career of accomplishment. — LRH