Mo Willems + Practical Life Skills
We LOVE Mo Willems. Our favorite book is Knuffle Bunny, but close behind are his absolutely hilarious series of Elephant and Piggie books. Most of the humor is best for children ages 3 and up, but once they hit that magical age these books are pure gold. We have read all of them and own a ton of them. My personal favorite is probably the one where Gerald has a bird on his head....or the one where they realize they are in a book...but I digress, back to Knuffle Bunny.
a review. Knuffle Bunny is the story of a little girl named Trixie and her beloved stuffed animal. Together they go to the laundromat one morning with her daddy. Trixie cheerfully helps her daddy with the laundry and they head home. On the way home, Trixie realizes she forgot her knuffle bunny at the laundromat. Unfortunately, Trixie doesn't have any words yet so she is forced to find other methods to relay her concern and displeasure. Eventually her daddy rescues Knuffle Bunny and everyone is happy, but getting there is a relatable and hilarious adventure.
Our twins love Knuffle Bunny, perhaps because they have their own beloved animals. Has anyone noticed that Baby Bear and Monkey pop up frequently in our Instagram feed? (PS. Yes I am aware that my children are not the most creative in the naming of stuffed friends. We are apparently all about the straightforward names in our house.) When I saw that Mo Willems was the author for September for the Virtual Book Club, I knew this was the book we had to talk about.
One of the things I love most about Knuffle Bunny is the way a daughter and father doing a chore together is normal and enjoyable. You get the sense that this is a regular Saturday morning activity for them. We believe strongly in including our children in chores in our household. From the time our children were very young they have been helping in one way or another. At this point, we do not have a chore chart. Rather, they are expected to participate with certain tasks as part of the natural flow to our day. To me this feels like a more natural way to approach chores. We are all part of the family and we work together to accomplish things. For example, together we unload the dishwasher and set the table each morning. They know they are expected to put away their cups, bowls, plates, and silverware while I take care of more breakable or sharp items. Then together we prep breakfast.
Another chore that our twins help with is Laundry. Below I have listed out the ages and tasks our children have learned to help with in their 3 short years.
One Year Olds
*Carry wash cloths and put away in basket. We have a basket of wash cloths for our toddlers to use to help clean up spills.
*Put their dirty clothes in a laundry basket. As ones, when we helped take off their clothes at bathtime they would carry them to the laundry basket. Now both in the morning with their pajamas and at bathtime, they independently remove their clothes and put them in the dirty basket.
Two Year Olds
*ALL OF THE ABOVE +
*Load dirty clothes into the Washing Machine. We have a small stool near the washing machine so they are able to reach the top loading machine and help load things.
*Help move clothes from Washing Machine to Dryer. Because we have a top loading washer, I help with this task by unloading the wet clothes and handing them to our twins. They put them in the dryer and close the door.
*Carry their sorted and folded clothes and put them away. At this age, I sorted and folded their clothes while they worked on shuttling an item or two at a time to their shelves. They have a spot for tops. A spot for bottoms. A spot for socks and a spot for underwear. After a little demonstration and a verbal reminder as they toddled off, they were able to do this task fairly well by about 24m.
*Fold wash cloths and small towels. This is a task I learned to teach children when I worked at a wonderful child care center in Minnesota. Toddlers are great at folding wash cloths in half and stacking them. This is an easy way that they can "help" during the folding process.
Three Year Olds
*ALL OF THE ABOVE +
*Sort clothing into piles. At three, our twins are now better able to help sort clothes. We put them into piles of mom clothes, dad clothes, kitchen stuff, and a pile for each of them.
*Practice folding shirts and shorts. This is a new skill for our twins. They are working on folding shirts and shorts in half and stacking them. This is much the same as the skill they practiced with folding wash cloths. Once we master this, I imagine we will move on to folding socks and then gradually, very gradually, letting them take over the process completely.
How do you tackle laundry in your house?
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
A Basket of Laundry
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