Let Them Help!

Today’s moms are so busy that we clean the house, do the laundry, and cook dinner in a crazy frenzy. My kids often follow me around saying “Can I help, let me help!” There are certain tasks that do require a grown up such as chopping onions or washing the fragile wine glasses that get used so often. However, there are many tasks that our young kids can do and want to do.

Kids and choresChores are fun for little ones and they get to spend quality time with Mom or Dad while toiling away. Yes, you may have to follow behind them and sweep what they missed, or scrub the plate a little more, but that’s OK. The short-term goal is a clean house, but more importantly, you are teaching your children how to work and that they are an important part of the household.

Teaching kids to do their share around the house is also important to their development. When kids complete a task such as putting their toys and clothes away, it fosters independence, confidence, and self-esteem, and teaches them to be responsible.

Here are a few tips for getting your kids to help out around the house:

1. Start early – Strike while the iron is hot! Little kids love to help, so start letting them while they are little and interested.

2. Make it fun and do it with them – Kids love just being with their parents. Spending time with them and teaching them to do something they’ve been watching you do is thrilling to them. Make cleaning a game, a race, or sing songs as you clean. Kids love when we are silly.

Kids and chores3. Give them age appropriate tasks – Your 18-month-old probably can’t clear his dishes after a meal simply because he can’t reach the counter or the sink, but your four-year-old definitely can. You don’t want to frustrate them by giving them a task that they aren’t ready for.

4. Praise and reward them – Say thank you and tell them what a great job they did or give a reward such as playing a game afterwards. (Just don’t overdo the rewards or you will be kicking yourself later. Remember trying to break the M&M habit after potty training?)

5. Use charts – If you and your child are visual people, a chart can help. There are plenty of ideas for chore charts on Pinterest.

6. Stick with it – If it doesn’t work out as you had hoped one day, try again the next day and try a different task. Press on Mama!

There are many chores your kids can do at different ages. Simply Google “age-appropriate chores” or type it into Pinterest and you will get plenty of ideas. My girls, Lyla (5) and Caroline (2), have their favorites. Here are a few:

  • Kids and choresSetting the table before dinner and clearing their dishes after meals.
  • Putting dirty clothes in the hamper/clothes in the dryer/clothes away in their drawers.
  • Scrubbing toilets – You may think “eww,” but I give Lyla the brush and strict instructions not to put her hands in the toilet and she goes to town making the potty shine. I use the Clorox wands so she thinks its cool when the water turn blue. Just be sure to scrub hands afterwards too.
  • Dusting and sweeping with a Swiffer – I loved Swiffer products before kids, and now I really love them with kids. Caroline loves dusting and sweeping with Swiffers.
  • Bringing in the recycling bin and trashcan – Every Monday after the garbage trucks come, Lyla asks to bring in the trashcan and recycling bin. It was a job I never enjoyed doing and she does so why not?
  • Washing dishes/loading and unloading the dishwasher – This is definitely a task that requires supervision. My two-year-old loves to unload her dishes and places them on the counter. My five-year-old stands in a chair and washes dishes and also loads and unloads the dishwasher. I simply take out knives and other sharp objects first.
  • Choosing produce – This isn’t really a household chore, but I love this one. After watching the school age kids on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution not able to distinguish a tomato from a pepper, I promised myself my kids would know their fruits and veggies, and hopefully eat them too. What better way than to walk through the produce section with your kids and ask them to find the food on your list and teach them to how to choose the best avocado. Lyla loves to weigh the food on the big scale too.

What chores do you let your kids help with? I would love to hear your experiences with letting your children help you around the house. Do your kids enjoy chores or is it a battle?

Liz Morrow is a stay at home mom and wife to a US Navy helicopter pilot. Their Naval family will live many places, but have been fortunate to have a longer than expected eight-year stay in Jacksonville. Liz is a mom of two sweet little girls who look like twins except they were born 2 ½ years apart. She worked as a Certified Public Accountant for seven years before trading her briefcase for a way too big diaper bag. In her spare time, Liz loves to workout, run, cook, blog, and sip wine. She never turns down a date night with her hubby and also loves Girls’ Night Out. She is active in her Officers’ Spouses’ Club (Navy wives) and her Mom-2-Mom group at church, and you will frequently find her helping with the babies and preschoolers at church on Sunday morning.

2 COMMENTS

  1. My kids love to shuck corn and snap beans! We’ve just started an allowance for completing their weekly chores….not sure if I am 100% on board with it but trying it.

    My three-year old loves stocking the diaper stacker! Although now that the novelty has worn off, it’s become more of CHORE, ha, so she is a little less enthusiastic.

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