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Lessons Learned in a Cupboard
December 15, 2015

Lessons Learned in a Cupboard

This week my daughter learned some good lessons in a cupboard. Alright, I’m baiting you. She wasn’t locked in a cupboard, the lessons were learned from tidying and cleaning a cupboard.

As the hectic madness of the last term of the year has eased up, I’ve been doing some rather late spring cleaning. (Its summer here in South Africa.)

My younger two children’s cupboards were in a state of chaos. Clean clothes, dirty cloths and some of their spare bed linen were all mixed up in a jumble.

I called her in to help me tidy up and sort through her clothes.

We emptied one shelf at a time and I got her to wipe away the dust with a damp cloth. It was a good time to remind her of a motto I try to teach my children: “If the corners aren’t clean, it’s not clean.” – this applies as much to shelves as to those nasty corners of the kitchen floor.

We sorted through the clothes and separated them into different piles or placed them into cardboard boxes:

1. clothes to fold and pack back on the shelf
2. dirty clothes to be laundered
3. clothes to give away
4. clothes that are still too big to be stored for another season (she gets hand me downs from her sisters)
5. items that don’t belong in the bedroom, to be packed away elsewhere in the house
6. junk to throw away

By doing this, she learned a method of taking on a job that was too overwhelming for her to tackle on her own. With me working alongside her, folding the clothes and giving them back to her to place neatly in piles on the shelf, she played a big part in getting the job done, one shelf at a time.

She also saw how long it took us. It took more than the waving of a wand to bring order back to the mess. I believe she will have a greater appreciation of the time and effort it cost both of us, than if I’d done it for her. Ultimately, she will be trained to do it alone.

It’s been a week and she seems to have managed to keep the cupboard tidy. Will they get messy again? For sure. I have no illusions.

But by getting her to help me, she learned that

• she has the skill to do the work
• I have confidence in her to do it
• she is responsible for state of her cupboard (and bedroom shared with siblings) and
• she observed a practical method of sorting, sifting and bringing order back to her closet.

Don’t always do for your children what they can do themselves.

There are many valuable lessons hidden in everyday tasks that they can do alongside you.

"Research has shown that children who have grown up to be productive, well-adjusted adults are those who have been drawn into the parents' world; their daily activities, work, and interest; rather than having parents who centered their world on the child." ~ Diane Hopkins,The Baby is the Lesson

ABC Fun & 1-2-3 - Encouraging Reading

ABC Fun & 1-2-3 is a literature-rich preschool programme that includes reviews of over 100 quality children's stories that you and your child can enjoy together - plus it includes lots of other age-appropriate activities.

Click here for more info and sample lessons: ABC Fun & 1-2-3

Developmental Activities

1. Gross motor skills

Let your child pretend she is walking a tight rope. Either place a piece of rope along the floor, or alternatively let her walk along a line between tiles, or the around the edge of a mat, or the joins in the concrete on the sidewalk.

2. Fine motor skills and 3. Visual skills

Create a colour-coded scrap book with your child. Make a page for each colour, by writing the name of the colour with a crayon or marker of that colour on the top of the page. Begin with the 3 primary colours, red, yellow and blue, then create a page for the secondary colours, green, orange and purple.

Let your child cut out items in shades of each colour and glue them into her colour scrap-book. Keep this book for future activities. This activity need not be completed in one day.

4. Auditory skills

Make an effort to expose your child to good quality music with complex musical patterns. Listen to musical stories which you can buy or borrow from the library. Try Bernstein's Favorites - Classics for Children

5. Mathematical skills

Play easy games that require using dice, like ludo or snakes and ladders.

6. Language and thinking skills

Look around your home and ask your child to name as many things as he can see that are:
Made of wood
Made of fabric
Made to wear
Made to use
Give light
Give heat
Made to store things
Can be eaten etc.

7. Faith-building

Read a Bible story to your child each day. Answer any questions your child may ask as honestly as possible. If she asks something you are not sure about, then tell her that or tell her you don’t know. Children soon find out when adults are bluffing them! When asked questions like, ‘Where is heaven?’ tell your child that you don’t know, but that we’ll all find out when we go there!

Wishing you and your family a blessed festive season and plenty of rest.

Till next time...


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