Feb 6, 2008

My Helpers

As I do my household duties, like cleaning, laundry, doing the dishes, I always encourage my children to participate in the activity. I feel it is important for them to see and value my work at home. Malena and Lautaro both love to unload the dishwasher or help fold laundry. Yes, it takes longer. Yes, it is not completed perfectly. That is OK with me. They have such pride in the work they have done to help me. Malena beams as I put away the clothes as she folded it. I do not believe in the toys and games marketed as “enriching” for young children. For my children, I believe the sense of self and rhythm they develop from participating in my cooking and housework is far more enriching than an “educational” toy.

I must admit though that our daily rhythm has been faltering lately. We don’t have a complete Waldorf home, but I try to incorporate elements that work for our lifestyle. I really notice a difference in the children when we do things like sit down to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same times, go outside frequently and spend quiet time reading together. I try to allow them to stay “in” their imaginative play. Our toys are made of natural materials and open-ended (with a few exceptions).

When there are tasks that Malena does not want to do, I try to make a game out of it or sing a song about the activity. If Malena is pretending to be a ballerina and I would like her to pick up the mounds of scarves and books off her floor, I sing or tell her something about ballerinas needing a clean stage before performing. And, I must make a confession, the kids do have a few videos, but they are limited and very tame (especially considering what is “acceptable” these days!). I really believe in limiting media exposure, especially television (we even bought our flat screen without a tuner and don’t have cable), due to the commercials and inappropriate subject matter. I have realized also that I need to limit my listening to NPR in the car. This has been really difficult. During our 45-minute drive to school, it is so tempting to change from “ballet” (classical) music or stories to my favorite NPR station to hear the latest happenings in the World. But never fail, there is some report about the war and I suddenly have to deal with a whole range of questions that I don’t know how to answer appropriately for her age.


Yoli said...

Well, first of all, not all fire fighters are great cooks (imoo)but mine is! :) I have to tell you I love this post. While we don't incorpoate the Waldorf lifestyle in our house, and we do allow the kids to watch t.v. (limited)I love your attitude in raising your children. It's with such love. I also beleive to limit media influences, spending quality time outdoors and reading. Don't you notice such a difference in thier demeanor when you give them quality time? And I love when they are using thier imagination! Which is almost all the time, right? I need to let them be my helper more though. I kind of have my own way of doing things (ocd cleaner!) Thank you for sharing this!

Yoli said...

excuse the incorrect spelling!