It is by giving responsibilities to the older ones that they learn to take care of the younger ones. Here are some ideas to lighten your tasks while empowering your children.
Put on the little socks
For the little ones, putting on socks is not easy! It takes a lot of manual dexterity to manipulate the cotton and get it to its destination. In the morning, while you wash, ask the older one to do it. You don't have to be pressed for time; make your request in advance, otherwise you could end up with a "forget it, I'll do it", which could very well disappoint him. Over time, give him greater responsibilities: the shirt, the pants, the coat. Your children will learn to communicate their needs to each other, and you may have time to give yourself a manicure in the morning…or not!
My granddad's favorite choice: help with the puzzles
I asked my oldest what he liked doing the most with his little brother and he said he loved helping him do puzzles. I think it's to see the evolution that helikes the most: he sees that the number of pieces is always increasing and he is very proud to show him that he is capable and that he too can become a puzzle pro. He gives her challenges and I see that sometimes he purposely puts two pieces that go together next to each other to give her a hand. They also learn to work as a team to complete a project. A good way to rack your brains for a good reason!
Developing the imagination by telling stories
Whether your child can read or not, giving him a book so that he can invent a story becomes a magical moment for the little one who listens to it and for you who become a spectator. Explain to the oldest that if his listener gets up, it is not that his reading is not interesting, but rather that he is still too small to sit still for long. Take them to the library and try to find stories that are a bit shorter or stories with lots of pictures and few words. A great way to develop improvisation and photo memory of certain letters.
Psst! A little trick: if the youngest gets up, take his place. Sometimes he will come back, but that way your oldest will not be discouraged and he can conclude his beautiful story in front of a captive audience!
Put the dishes in the sink after the meal
A good way to show them to collaborate with household chores is to involve them as early as possible in doing smalleffort to help. Asking to clear their table space can sometimes be difficult for the little one who does not yet reach the height of the sink. So suggest that the older one take a small bench and ask him to help the younger one do his part of the task. On your side, you will have to accept that sometimes there are small messes or small crumbs on the floor, maybe even broken dishes, but this is a necessary step to teach them the basics of household chores.
Turn fruits and vegetables into mixed snacks
The snack can become a moment of important responsibility for your big ones. Find snacks that cut well with a small junior knife (knife with no teeth and doesn't cut that much). About half an hour before snack time, have your top chef come to the table and cut the youngest's snack into smaller pieces. It is important that you do a little back up to check that the pieces are correct for the age of your mini to eliminate the risk of choking. Fresh fruits are the easiest to manage (strawberries, mangoes, grapes, melons). Once again, you will save a lot of time and our children love cooking so much that you will make it a daily activity-responsibility!
Help rinse the foam in the bath
When your little one is filled with foam, show yourbigger how to gently rinse it. Offer him different containers of several sizes so that he makes the most appropriate choice for the part of the body to be rinsed. Keep your hair down to avoid water in your eyes until he becomes a pro at rinsing! This is a stage which requires trust and supervision, but which can become a pleasant moment in the routine, the child learns to “pay attention” to someone smaller than him and the little one learns to trust him.
It is by connecting with others that we learn to collaborate, to resolve conflicts and that we discover that they too have needs. Remember that your home is like a micro-society where your children learn different values such as mutual aid, collaboration, appreciation, autonomy, camaraderie, courtesy, but above all that of the family. It is by teaching them to take care of themselves that they will understand the importance of a brother or a sister in life. At this point, you will have accomplished a huge part of your job as a parent and you can be very proud of yourself!