When you need to get things done might seem like a strange time to recommend as a talk time, but hear me out on this one.
Not long ago, my twenty-one year old son stopped by as I was cleaning vegetables. He said, “Oh, you’re cleaning veggies. Remember when we used to bring a big tub of fruits and vegetables into the living room and we three boys would gather around them and peel, slice, dice, stem, and “julienne” pounds of produce while you read out loud to us for hours.”
“I’ll never forget,” I replied, getting a little misty-eyed.
“And do you remember how between books or chapters, we would start talking about something in the book and the next thing you know we had just talked and talked and talked. But you said it didn’t matter because we were getting things done?”
Okay, now I was beyond misty-eyed.
It didn’t matter how long we talked…we were getting things done at the same time! 🙂
Working together on mindless type of work (or less-mentally-taxing anyway) is an amazing opportunity to talk. And the thing about talking when you’re doing these types of activities is that is often not rushed and it usually lasts a while (we always did twenty pounds of potatoes at once—and did different things with them for the next couple of weeks and/or the freezer…then there were the strawberries and carrots and celery and….you get the idea).
When kids feel less rushed as they talk (even in a small group like the four of us during my last few years of homeschooling), they talk more. As you talk longer, kids talk even more.
So…when you need to get things done—or you are doing mindless things together, talk…a lot!
Ways to Talk While You Work:
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Driving—of course! We’ve talked about this a lot (Who’s Got Their Shoes On among other places)
2. Gardening or weeding flower beds—while it is difficult to talk with machinery going, we have loved talking to our kids as we hand weeded together or planted flowers, etc.
3. Puzzles or handwork—We used to love to set up a card table in the winter with a puzzle perpetually on it. When Dad sat down (I realllly don’t like puzzles!) to work it, he always had talkers, I mean puzzlers, join him!
4. Fruit and vegetable preps—While I loved talking when I cooked with my kids (and one of my daughters and I still LOVE cooking together whenever we get a chance!), cooking isn’t always mindless….but produce prep usually is. Gather everyone around with knives, and start talking…and chopping!
5. Organizing—this sometimes worked and sometimes did not. But I adore organizing. And doing bookcases or toy shelves with the kids was often a great time to talk
6. Wrapping Christmas gifts—most of our Christmas gift wrapping was done during “Christmas wrapping parties” that we did with movies and fun foods, but this is another good time to talk.
7. Game sorting—this turns out to be a fun activity when you gather everybody and sort games, repair boxes, find missing pieces, etc. The same is true of video and/or audio organizing….wowsie, we spent a lot of time in audio organizing!
8. Scrapbooking, card making, or other joint hand work
Just some ideas to get you started thinking about times that you need to get things done and that you could be talking at the same time because when you need to get things done can often be a great time to talk.
Other times to talk: