If you have young children, keeping your house clean can seem, well, futile. That's because while you're attempting to tidy up one area (wiping down surfaces, sweeping up crumbs, or putting away toys, to name a few examples), more often than not the kiddos are off making a giant mess in another room. It can feel like an endless cycle, for sure. And if you can relate to this dilemma, then there's a chance you might appreciate Jessa Duggar's video of her son vacuuming. The video is an important reminder that kids are capable of helping, a sentiment that might be nerve-wracking to parents who see themselves as perfectionists.
On Tuesday, July 9, the Counting On star — who became a mom of three in May — took to Instagram to share a sweet video clip of her oldest child, Spurgeon, 3, struggling to vacuum a rug in the family's living room. Although his technique isn't very efficient (he's 3, remember?) he keeps at it, determined.
Jessa also took a moment to reflect on her son's excitement about helping his mom with the vacuuming, writing: "There’s a window of time in the toddler years where little ones become eager to help. It’s so sweet to watch their excitement as they are allowed to take part in meaningful tasks — not pretend 'helping,' but really doing something that helps out the whole family ... There’s a sense of importance and belonging and being needed."
She continued, "Sometimes as a mom I have to pause and remember this. Yes, it may take 5x longer than if I did it myself, but they find it exciting to help out and lend a hand. We definitely need to encourage this and not squelch the excitement."
Jessa went on to explain that Spurgeon was actually the one who expressed a desire to vacuum the rug that morning, so, she showed him how it was done. Jessa then stood back and watched "in awe" at her "determined little guy." It may have taken her 3-year-old 10 minutes of going in circles and stopping to check his progress, but he did it!
Jessa added that as kids start showing interest in helping out around the house, instead of "sending them off to play," there needs to be more of getting little ones involved in household tasks. If you're a 19 Kids & Counting fan, then you'll probably remember this is a lesson she learned from her mother, Michelle Duggar. All of the Duggar kids grew up having "jurisdictions" — or chores — from a young age, after all. Jessa brought up her mother's influence in her post, adding:
At first, tasks will be joint or may require our full supervision, but before we know it they will be older, competent, and be able do these tasks on their own— and do them well. My mom modeled this beautifully. 'There’s a window of time where they’re eager to help. Capture it. Don’t squelch it.'
If Jessa's message inspires you to get your toddler or preschooler in on the cleaning action, it's worth heeding one bit of advice. "There's always a learning curve for kids, whether they're toddlers or teenagers," Patricia Greenfield, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Parents. "But the best way to encourage kids to pitch in — without making more work for yourself — is to make sure the jobs are age-appropriate." For some inspiration, feel free to check out this list of age-appropriate chores for children from Psychology Today.
Confession time — my husband is so much better at getting our kids involved in chores than I am (I'm such a perfectionist that it's "easier" for me to just do it). But I'm thinking it's time to bite the bullet and make some chore charts because if Jessa's 3-year-old is vacuuming, then my 7 and 5 year old can probably help out more around the house, too. Thanks for the advice, Jessa.