Early in my motherhood, a friend introduced me to the writings of Barbara Curtis – specifically her books on mothering toddlers. Barbara is a mother to 12, and is a trained Montessori teacher. She has a passion for helping moms enjoy and make the most of the precious toddler and pre-school years. I think the most valuable lesson I learned from her books was that even the littlest member of the family can help. Not only CAN they help, but they WANT to help, and as long as I pay attention to their desire to help and I nurture it, that desire will grow and will help their development in so many valuable ways.
I’ve tried to pay attention and let my kids help as much as I can. It’s not always easy, especially in the kitchen, when making dinner or baking a cake for someone else, but I do try! And now, in the midst of getting ready to sell our home and make a 1,200 mile move, I’m so thankful I listened to that advice.
Our family is moving. Not just me and The Narrator, but T-Rex and Little Miss Sunshine are just as much a part of this move as we are. In fact, this move may affect them in the long run more than it does us – where they go to school, growing up around aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents – this move is HUGE in their lives. It’s impossible for them to grasp the significance of this change, but we want them to feel like they are a big part of it. Having responsibilities of their own helps them feel like an integral part of the family, and also serves as a positive distraction from all the changes going on that they don’t yet understand. Not to mention, it is a big help to the Momma trying to keep a house clean and ready to show to prospective buyers.
So, yesterday morning after breakfast, I sat down with Little Miss Sunshine and explained that a nice person was coming over Wednesday evening to help us sell our house so we could move to Michigan.
“I need your help so we can do our part to help her sell our house. Can you help me?”
“Oh, YES! I can do that!! What can I do?”
I pulled out paper, because I know she loves lists, and stickers and charts (be still my heart), and I asked her to help me make a list of things she can do to help keep the house clean and looking nice. I told her at the end of each day we’d put stickers on everything she had done and that on Sundays we’d go do something fun as a family. This is the list that she came up with almost entirely on her own.
All day long, she’d remember to do the things on her list and be so incredibly proud of herself. She’d help remind T-Rex to do the things on his list too (although it means much less to him, but he likes to do whatever she does!). Before bedtime, we put stickers on their charts and The Narrator and I thanked them so much for being such incredible helpers. In fact, they were in such the helping mood today that they even volunteered to help Housemate clean her room too!!