Now that all of us along with our children are staying at home, Practical Life activities can be the best life saver for all of us. Children have needs and if we listen to them, the stay at home can be harmonious for parents and children.
What is it?
Practical life activities is what we do as human in our day to day life such as cleaning, cooking, gardening, dressing,...
Practical Life activities are important for the child’s whole development as Integration of personality, Refining of gross and fine motor skills, Independence, concentration, co-ordination, order, and self-discipline and self-confidence.
Why Practicle Life activities? As many of us will notice, when we give a toy to a child they might play a bit and then abandon it. and we need to think of different activity to keep them interested. Practical life activities are attractive to children because they serve a real purpose in life. It is a great opportunity for our children's to feel they are contributing to support family with purposeful activities. it help create a structure helpful for the children and for parents to have a sense of order around the home while leaving a place for children to explore and satisfy their needs.
I- Care of self:
By nature, a child has one mission: by the age of 6 they need to become fully functionally independent. this start from early age, at every opportunity a child is showing need to do things by themselves. Our role as parents and adult to create this space and opportunity for them, and only intervene if it is impossible and frustrating for the child to do so. We need to show them first how it works.
We need to support our children to dress themselves by themselves. As parents, we need to continue providing our child with easy to wear cloths without or minimum adult intervention: shoes that they can wear themselves without our help, trousers without button to be able to to put them on alone... and the opportunity to reach their clothes and personal belonging and make a choices.
Feeding themselves: Even if they can create a mess while eating, we need to give them the opportunity to feed themselves. we can clean all together after meal, but for them it helps their development and their self esteem. If we continue feeding our child while they can do it themselves, we become a barrier for their development, We don't want that.
The children also set up the table in school so they can help doing it at home. and clean after finishing.
Brushing teeth: is another self care activity the child is doing everyday, along with brushing their own hair ( this we don't do at school but of course we do it at home), dressing and underssing specially when we go to toilet, wearing shoes, polishing their shoes ...
Washing Hand: This time is the best learner for self hygiene and to keep our hands clean. Our children love this activity but they can understand even more its importance in this current time. if we see the child at the sink want to have more time to work with soap and water, we can give them then a jug, bowl, soap and towel where they can do it and repeat it as much as they want without wasting water. we usually recycle the used water for watering plant, it seems water and soap are good for roses, and can be for other plants.
II- Care of the Environment:
Washing dishes: You can help your child to stand on the sink and if it is too difficult, prepare two medium plastic bowls: one bowl has water and soap for washing and the other bowl with clean water for rinsing. depending on the age of the child, but usually smaller children ( 1-3) are satisfied by the activity itself, even of we have to clean it again after them and without they notice. The older children (3-6) are capable to really clean the dishes.
Children in General have a big love for water, we give them the possibility to use it in a purposeful way, so they can enjoy the touch of water in the same time they do something fulfilling, and meaningful.
by opposition, children who don't have possibilities to use water will jump on the first occasion and misuse the water.
Ps: the two prepared bowl will help to save water rather then the ruling sink.
Drying the floor: if the a child put water in the floor during an activity it is easy! we give them a floor cloth or a mop at and they will be more than happy to dry the floor. An older child is able to spot all the wet spot and dry them for smaller children we be proud if they do the activities and we should not expect that it will be perfect. we just remember we need to give the child the sense of self satisfaction of what he is doing.
Scraping the floor and drying: An activity makes sense for the child when it is real. We usually do it because the floor need to be scraped and cleaned.
the child use first the stiff floor brush and then dry it with a floor towel.
Cleaning the floor: At home when the children see an adult cleaning they want to do the same. the best way is to create meacanism once a mess is created we allow the child to take part on cleaning it. with a broom and dustpan the child can clean anything that fall in the floor while he was working or doing an activity or fall from his hand. or help us clean the floor as they would like to join. The teacher is helping the child clean after himself, but with older children they can start doing it but themselves. we need to observe to understand where our child depending on their development stand on this and we gently allowing the developing of the skills by repetition.
Washing clothes: Yes! this is another activity your child can do at home. we can prepare two dishes one with soap and the other with cleat water and help them to clean a kitchen towel or one of their cloths that get a stain. We all know how much they love water and giving them this opportunity will give them satisfaction, that parents will feel and notice. We need to be close to our children when they do this activity so we make sure they are doing it right. we don't need to intervene, if they are doing it write without harming the surrounding.
Washing the table: this activity can be relevant in daily basis as long as the child is Intrested, it can be a table, a bench or any surface that require cleaning. when the child is interested, they can go for a long time repeating. You can see they are expanding their focus.
Washing window/glass: if you have a spray, cloth and any other tool to help clean a mirror, glass or a window, this is an interesting activity for them
Germination: being in touch with nature is very important; if you have a balcony, a garden or an access to plants, this will help the child to connect with the nature. in this exercise, the child is doing germination, where he places sand in plant pot and then seeds and then with a dropper put some wanter. after it germinates it goes either outdoor or in a bigger pot.
Watering plants: We need to have a water pan or jug easy for the child to use to go around the home and water the plan found. the children may be want to repeat this activities many times so if you have several plants that can satisfy their need.
Polishing leaves: another plant care activity your child can do is while using a cotton and water and can clean leaves so the plants looks shiny and clean. this can help the child developing fine motor skills as they hold the cotton with their finger tips.
Polishing wood: your child can polish wood, silver, or any other metallic surface, when they get Intrested, they can focus for a longer time
Embroidery: Threading and neadle, sewing and embroidery these are all activities can do and can surpass your expectation. we look at the age and little by little we give them more step. At the age a 2.5 a child can thread a needle. when they grow older and their hand can develop they can do the knot. once they know how to make a knot, they can sew a button or can follow a pattern in a peace of cloth.
Weaving with a loom:
Another activity that come from our classroom is weaving. you can do it at home with a stiff paper carton and we can invite the child to do a coaster or a small table cloth.