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Making Work Play

For most of us, young and old, cleaning isn’t much fun. It’s routine work to be done. But put some playfulness in it, and you might find children becoming more welcome partners. Here’s a story about a five-year-old boy you might enjoy. At the end of the meal he shared with his family at a friend’s home, the hostess asked the boy if he’d like to help with the cleanup. Seeing him hold back, she tried a novel approach. She bowed to him and in a royal voice offered him a “throne” of a high stool to sit on, a robe of a towel draped around him and proclaimed him “King of the Silverware.” Our friends were surprised to hear their son giggle as he stepped up on the stool to start washing the silverware. As they cleaned up the counter around him, they saw him laugh with delight at the soap bubbles that floated off in the water to pop and vanish. It probably took longer that day for the silverware to be washed and dried, but everyone was involved in the clean-up and enjoyed it more because they were doing it together.

Good Feelings about Being a Helper
Not only was the boy having some fun, he was feeling helpful. What a good feeling that is, especially for young children! Most of the time young children hear from us what they can’t do. They realize that they need a lot of help from us for most things. It’s especially important that they also know we value what they can do. They can be helpers, too. When children know that their help is valuable, they feel valued, and naturally they’re likely to do helpful things for us and others in the future.

Tapping into the child within us.
Do you know what else can happen to us as grownups, when we add a childhood sense of playfulness to everyday household chores? We might just find that “child within us” and see the playfulness carrying over to other chores or other parts of our lives, as well.

Helping has two sides — asking for help and giving help. Whether we’re young or old, helping can enrich both the receiver and the giver.



Produced by: Support from:
Fred Rogers Productions logo Corporation for Public Broadcasting logo Rite Aid Foundation “529 “Vroom”

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