Who said you can't keep house and teach your children at the same time? If you just know how to multi-task, keeping house and teaching your children can be double the fun, for you and your children! Here's how.
- Get your children involved. Children are eager to please and even more eager to learn. Include them as you plan the week's activities. Ask them how some things could be done easier and quicker. Children whose opinions are heard will feel a sense of belonging, and it will teach them the dynamics of group work. This will also give them a sense of responsibility and leadership.
- Assign chores to everyone fairly. You can ask the older ones to join you as you cook for the family. Request the younger ones to help you with simpler tasks, such as wiping the table top or washing the dishes.
- Talk to your children. As you do these household chores, try to explain some things to your kids. For example, tell them that while washing dishes, they must be careful not to waste water because it's part of our natural resources. If they're tasked to handle the appliances at your house, you can explain to them that they should be careful because electricity can be harmful to people if we're not careful. These chores can be wonderful means of introducing science to them.
- Make cleaning fun. Teach them the virtue of cleanliness by asking them to make their own beds and clean their own rooms. Most children don't like these tasks, so try to make it fun for them by turning it into a contest. Ask them to start cleaning their rooms at the same time, and whoever finishes first and cleans the best will have some sort of award. It could be an extra scoop of ice cream for dessert, or they could be exempted from performing one of their assigned chores for one day.
- Teach math through shopping. When you get back from the supermarket, ask them to help you compute how much you've spent and if it's within the budget. This can be a great way to teach mathematics to younger kids who are just starting to count.
- Help with recipes. While you're cooking, you can ask them to help you with the recipes. This will help them learn how to follow instructions closely. It can also be a form of problem solving, if some thing goes wrong with the dish. Your kids can help you figure out what the cause was.
- Talk about recycling. If you're planning to conduct a general cleaning of the house, teach your children the virtue of being resourceful by asking them how some things can be recycled for other purposes. Listen to their ideas; they just might come up with very innovative ones.
- Give compliments freely. Over dinner, compliment your children for jobs well done. Kids need to feel that they're being appreciated. This will encourage them to continue doing their tasks and to do them better.
The trick to keeping house and teaching children effectively is to be creative all the time. Think of how simple chores could become great lessons. Make your children feel that you're one big team. Most of all enjoy yourself! Nothing is more fun than doing productive things with your beloved children.