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10 Teachable Moments While Doing Housework

Infuse thought-provoking lessons into daily chores with these suggestions.
 

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Cognitive Skills
Research
Responsibility
  1. Emphasize responsibility. It may be a mystery to your child why he must empty the dishwasher every day or put toys away only to bring them out again. Discuss his roles and responsibilities as a member of the household, and tell him how much you appreciate his contributions.
  2. Create a science lab. There are so many different kinds of cleaning products that it's hard to know what is most effective. Conduct a science experiment together, testing an array of cleaners on various surfaces — bathroom tile, hardwood floor, kitchen countertop — to see the effects on each.
  3. Become a botanist. Is watering the plants one of your child's chores? Make an instant experiment out of the duty by asking her to track certain variables: how much water is used, how much sunlight the plants are exposed to, and more.
  4. Where does dust come from? Jump on the opportunity to clean-up inquiries like these with some independent research. Teach your child how to find information by using indexes and cross-referencing key terms.
  5. Introduce budget management. If you decide to award an allowance for doing weekly chores, show him how to make the most of his money. Discuss how he can use his cash, balance a budget, and save toward a goal.
  6. Organize time. Give your child tips on time management when it comes to tackling chores. For example, if he tosses in a load of laundry before he begins his reading assignment, the clothes will be clean and ready for the dryer by the time he's ready to move on to another project.
  7. Read the paper. If one of your child's responsibilities is picking up the newspaper from the driveway or mailbox, make it her responsibility to read it too! Give her the first choice of what section to read.
  8. Follow directions. Remind your child to read instructions, whether it's the bottle of laundry detergent or the manual for the vacuum cleaner. Be available if he asks for help, but encourage him to put written directions into practice.
  9. Make a chore chart. Ready for an art project? Break out the construction paper, and make a chore chart! Smaller kids can cut out pictures from magazines or draw their own to represent jobs, while older kids can write down their jobs — maybe even using a formal job description format.
  10. Puzzle put-away. How can you make putting away toys more fun? Teach your child that organizing toys into bins or boxes is kind of like a big puzzle — everything has a place where it fits best.

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