Ty loves folding washcloths. He’ll fold and refold them over and over!
It is so important that we teach our children good work ethics while they are yet young. Not so that we can push the household chores off onto them, but so that they are blessed with the joy and satisfaction of accomplishing a goal. Children are so eager to please, and love it when they are able to show you a job well done. Use this time in their life to teach them the importance of doing a job thoroughly, with a good attitude, and in a timely manner.
We should remember not to expect perfection. These are children we are talking about, after all. If something isn’t done properly, praise them for what they did do well, then gently encourage them to do the not-so-great part a little better next time. Follow up with lots of praise. You don’t ever want to discourage them, but you do need to correct them sometimes. If your child is under three, however, I would suggest that whatever they do to help you at this point is good enough; no correcting at this age is necessary. They will have time to improve their skills as they get a little older.
Reward their hard work with lots of admiration and praise! Then step back and enjoy the pride on their faces, and be ready to give them another “job” when they ask you for more!!
Here are a few suggestions on ways that your children can “help” you around the house:
- Teach your children to put their dirty clothes in a clothes basket/hamper.
- Little ones love throwing laundry into the washer and dryer.
- Let them push the buttons to start the washer and dryer.
- Allow them to help you pull the dry clothes out of the dryer and into a basket.
- Folding towels and washcloths is easy for little ones. Older kids can put hangers in the shirts for you, and match socks.
- Show them how to put the clean clothes away.
- Kids age 2 and up can help you dust. Give them a microfiber cloth to dust table tops and furniture with. Don’t ever give them chemical cleaners to use. I’ve also seen the idea to put an old sock (or sock puppet) on their hand to wipe with.
- Kids love to sweep. Mine especially love using a Swiffer with dry cloths on our wood floors. I give each of the kids their own sweeper, and make a game of it. Whoever catches the most “dust bunnies” wins! Of course, I don’t ever declare a winner- they both do a great job! They have fun, and my floors get much cleaner!
- Arm your child (ages 3 and up) with a spray bottle of homemade window cleaner and a wad of newspaper and set them to work on the windows in your home. My little one always begs for more to do!
- Small bathroom trash cans are the perfect size for kids. Easy to empty, and easy to put a new bag into (if you use bags). If they have a small can in their bedroom they can empty that one too.
- Even the youngest kids can carry their dirty dishes from the table to the sink.
- Older kids can help load and unload the dishwasher.
- Older kids can help wash dishes by hand.
- Children enjoy helping to set the table as well.
Picking Up After Themselves:
- If your kids are big enough to pull the toys out, they are big enough to put them back. That’s my general rule. Make cleanup easier for younger kids by giving them one big box to throw everything into. Older kids can sort toys into separate bins for better organization.
- Encourage your children to keep their rooms picked up, or to have them picked up by bedtime.
- Once my kids are old enough, I set a timer. If their room is not cleaned up in so many minutes (time depending on the mess), then whatever is left out after the timer goes off I put into a trash bag and it is taken away for 2 weeks.
- Teach your children the importance of making their bed. I don’t do this every single day, but on Saturdays (cleaning day), or when company is coming over, I have them practice making their beds. When they are a little older I will expect their beds to be made every morning.
So, there are lots of things your little one can already be doing to help around the home! I’d encourage you to allow your child to help alongside you as you go about your daily chores.
Do you have any different chores that your children help you with around the home? I’d love to hear what you do!