Letting Little Hands Help

We’ve all got chores to do.  I feel like I spend most days attempting to finish yesterday’s list while wrangling my toddler and adding new things to my list for today.  The battle is real folks – fold one, pull toddler off the counter, fold two, kiss a booboo and wipe tears, fold one more… well, you get the idea.

The problem solver I am, I began looking for a way to make our days, and my chores, a little less insane.  My little one is not yet two, so he is a little young to take on the responsibility of his own grown up chores, but I wondered if there were ways he could be involved with mine.

Helping mom by shooting laundry baskets.

Helping mom by shooting laundry baskets.

We started small – laundry was almost a no brainer once I actually thought about it.  You see, he LOVES basketball. That’s an understatement.  He is OBSESSED with basketball. So I dumped the pile of dirty clothes on the floor next to the washer, lifted the lid and let him go for it.

With each “basket” he laughed and jumped up and down and giggled.  It was clearly not a chore to him at all. Not only did it check an item off my list, but it kept him occupied for a full 10 minutes while I tackled another project.

Next up, dishes.  I used to struggle to put dishes away while trying to prevent him from climbing onto the door and up the racks (anyone relate?).  So, I gave him the silverware basket to “put away,” and our struggles ceased.  I, of course, removed all the sharp objects first, but I am now able to put the remainder of the dishes away before he finishes with his basket.

Full disclosure: there is still a level of supervision required.  I realized quickly that toddlers who are learning to use silverware take every opportunity to practice putting it in their mouth.

Putting  away silverware

Putting away silverware requires some supervision, some rewashing and some organization afterwards.

I also have to go back and sort silverware once it’s all in the drawer, but that really only takes a couple seconds once it’s all in one place.

Once we started finding success, it almost became a game trying to find ways for our little one to be involved.  One of his favorite “chores” is carrying groceries from the car to the house.  This one also involves a little extra caution on my part to ensure things don’t get smashed or broken, but he beams with prides as he carefully makes his way inside, drops his bag with the others and then returns to the car for his next haul.

I’ll admit that I’m a total type-A personality.  I need clean, tidy, order in my life.  And letting your toddler help with everyday chores, doesn’t always result in clean, tidy, order.  It was initially hard to let him help.  But it really has ultimately been a win-win situation for us.  He actually DOES help me get things done faster and I can tell that he is building confidence in doing so.  It’s been a great bonding experience for us as there are lots of praise, hugs and high fives along the way.

I’ve heard repeatedly in recent months that kids only want to help until they are old enough to actually do so, and I’m here to say – not so!  These are just a few examples, there are so many little ways to let little hands help!

How do you get your little ones involved with daily chores?  

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