Dear Amy: My husband and I have been talking about doing some updating on our house. I would also love to add a fresh coat of paint in one of the rooms, for sure.
But we have two young children (ages 3 and 1). They are at home – all day every day. I’m trying to teach my children a whole bunch of stuff to make sure they thrive.
I feel bad any time I try to do something that isn’t directly benefiting the kids.
I let dishes and laundry pile up for a few days before I actually do anything after they go to bed.
I feel like I’m neglecting them if I don’t spend as much time as possible playing with them.
But is it OK to let them play safely in a different room while I try to get the house in better shape?
How do I let go of the guilt for having my attention elsewhere?
– Feeling Neglectful
Dear Feeling: You’ve got an incomplete idea of how children learn.
Don’t leave them in another room while you work – have them “help” you!
A 1-year-old can clang Tupperware lids together while the elder child stands on a chair to help you to wash non-breakable items.
A 3-year-old can “fold” washcloths when they come out of the dryer.
My point is that there are many, many lessons embedded in house and yard work – and you could use some of these chores to teach your children.
Otherwise – yes, let them play independently for short periods while you do your work.
©2023 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.