Have you ever had a job to get done? At the same time, toddlers demand your full attention. How do you get anything accomplished? Indeed, there is struggle in the juggle. Do you put them in daycare? How about confine them to a playpen?
My own toddlers
As a mother of six children who owned a farm business, this challenge visited daily. I had work to do, cows to milk, customers to serve. The children needed fed, held, changed, and nurtured. To be honest, chaos reigned sometimes.
Daycare was not an option. The playpen worked for a whopping 15 minutes. It took more time to drag that beast out. It was not worth the effort. The only way to get work done was to include my children. I found creative ways to involve them. In doing so, they developed strong work ethic. It enhanced their self-esteem and helped them develop skill sets.
The Next Generation of Toddlers
My children are now adults. The season of getting it all done with toddlers changed. Now my grandchildren live on the farm. My job includes supporting the next generation’s training of little people. This new season allows me to observe more. Subtleties stand out since I am not the one sleep deprived.
Here is a powerful two part observation.
- Toys morph into tools
- and tools morph into toys.
Toys give children the ability to work alongside adults mimicking them. Children bring joy to the work experience with imaginary play.
Toys Morph into Tools for Teaching Work Ethic
Stop by the farm and you will find my two-year-old grandson pulling around a little red wagon. He works alongside his mother and uncles on the farm.
He fills the wagon with intriguing objects like the following:
- tools (never to be found again)
- hunks of metal (will be found again by the mower)
- and even his little brother.
Sammy loves to pull that wagon around. He does it with such purpose and determination. While it is a child’s toy, we use it as a tool to shape Sammy’s work ethic.
Once he filled it full of hay and mimicked his uncle Zach. Zach used a garden cart to transport hay from one side of the farm to the other. Sammy would not be left out. Of course, we do not leave him out. We are purposeful about including him. The little red wagon transitions back and forth between toy and tool. Sometimes it is both.
A few weeks ago, I went outside. I found his mommy and Uncle working hard to clean up the market garden. Sammy was there with his red wagon.
Me: Hi there, Sammy. What do you have there?
Sammy: Rocks and sticks.
Me: Wow, that is quite a collection.
Sammy: I am going to market.
Me: Really? Are you selling organic hand collected rocks and sticks?
Sammy: Yes. They cost 7.00.
I couldn’t contain my laughter. Sammy has a business spirit at the tender age of two. Not only that but he loves to help on the farm and in the studio.
Pros and Cons of Including Toddlers
Including my grandchildren is not always easy. Sometimes it comes with a cost. For example, last week Gabriel, 15 months old, was in the studio. His mommy was working on book keeping. Suddenly, it got quiet, all too quiet. You know how it goes. Quiet leads to catastrophe. He reappeared on the scene foaming from the mouth. It was a gorgeous purple foam. Next, he offered his mother the bath bomb with a neat bite out of it. The bath bomb was a loss. I doubt he will do it again. His mother begs to differ. “He’s a stubborn one,” she says.
I have lost a few bars of soap to my grandsons. Both boys thought they looked good enough to pass a taste test. Then there is my show room wall. Look closely at the back and you will note subtle scribble marks.
You may wonder, is training the next generation to work worth the struggle?
In the middle of all the chaos, sweet moments pop up like this:
Sammy enjoys helping grandma while she is making bubbles.
Sometimes the training falls into place. And, their help makes a difference. Sammy loves to help pack orders.
The song in this video answers the how to get it done with toddlers. Specifically, we did it together. That’s how we got it done. Including children requires sacrifice. But it is a sacrifice well worth it in the end.