In this age of technological advances it is easy to allow the computer, the TV, the MP3, or the video game system player to keep your children occupied and pacified. Really what are they learning? One, that they are not personally important enough to you to spend time with them. Two, that they are basically useless for any task other than “couch potatoing”.
Let’s not let our children think that. From the time that they are little put limits on the time they spend in front of the aforementioned devices. Make time to read with them, play with them, have a hobby with them and most importantly to work with them. Children, like adults, learn by example. They are much more tuned in to hypocrisy because their minds are innocent and uncluttered, so do-as-i-say-not-as-I-do isn’t going to fly with them.
Now I am not at all suggesting using your babies as slaves to do all your dirty work. What I am suggesting is try to find some task in your daily routine that is age appropriate and safe for them to undertake and guide them then LET THEM DO IT THEMSELVES. For instance, children as young as 3 can be taught to help with supper – tearing salad and putting it in a bowl, snapping green beans or asaparagus spears, pushing the plunger on a salad spinner. They may not do it perfectly, but what a sense of pride and accomplishment they will have when you tell the people at the dinner table, “Little Susie made the salad and helped me prepare the veggies for supper.”
Help them to learn that they are valuable members of the family as soon as they are capable of following direction. Granted, this may cause more work for you as a parent in the short term, but the personal growth your child will experience will far outweigh any inconvenience to you right now.