Wax Off, Little Kiddies

by Roo on February 29, 2012

in bittylutions, home, parenting

Bittylutions is a series on small, achievable resolutions.  For example, instead of “be completely organized and keep my house so clean that when the eight year old next door wants to sell me Girl Scout cookies I can let her in without shame,” we are finding ways to achieve success without killing ourselves by making teeny goals.

While I love the time slots that Jack whisks the girls away so I can deep clean, I’ve realized that as their main caretaker, I need to be able to get things done even when I have a 2 year old and a 3 year old underfoot.

Which seems impossible.  And I always hated when mothers with more experience would say things like “Oh, just get them to help you!  They love that!”

Right.  While I’m unloading the dishwasher, Baby Shark can practice her knife throwing skills.  Sounds totally feasible and safe.  (Sidenote: she’s available for hire at your next party if that Cirque du Soleil act falls through.)

I’ve come up with a list of things my tots can do while I’m cleaning.  Be advised, none of these things occupy them for more than a couple minutes.  But, I’m amazed at how much I can get accomplished in spurts of two minutes.  As a bonus, I always feel better when I can find alternatives other than another episode of Yo Gabba Gabba.

Also, I feel like the magic age of really being able to help is around 3 and a half.  Rembot just hit that magical number, and I find that she is a lot more able and willing than her younger sister.

Pin It

Toddlers and Preschoolers can…

1) wipe down cabinet fronts.  Put some nontoxic cleaner (or a little soap and water) on a rag and let them at it.

2) clean the outside of a fridge.  Spray a little nontoxic glass cleaner on the fridge and let them practice their wax-on, wax-off skills.

source: motifake.com via equispace.blogspot.com

3) put things in the garbage.  (A plus for pregnant moms when bending over and picking that tissue up off the floor seems like a difficult feat.)

4) deliver their clothes to the dirty laundry basket.  I bought an inexpensive laundry basket from Ikea for their room, and they love running their dirty clothes over to it.

source: IKEA

5) lay out their pajamas on their bed to be worn that night.  We try to get two wearings out of pajamas.  So in the morning, they’ll take them off and put them on their pillows.  (Or in Sharky’s case, fling it in to her crib.)

6) wipe baseboards/furniture.  Sometimes I give them a rag and dampen it, sometimes I let them grab a baby wipe and go to town on the front door.

7) put their non-breakable cups and bowls in the kitchen sink.

8) fold washcloths.  Rembot LOVES this and it really gives her a sense of accomplishment.  Look at that face!

9) sweep.  They have a mini broom, and sometimes I take the Swiffer, remove a couple of segments, and shorten it to tot size.

10) put their books in the book basket.  (We have one in the living room.)

11) put their blocks away.  Or any toys, really, as long as you have specific, designated spots for them.

12) take off their shoes and coats and put them away.  We have a basket by the front door designated for shoes, and I put two little hooks inside the closet door at kid height so they can easily put away their coats.

Got more to add?  I’m taking notes, too, as my homeowner’s insurance policy requires that Baby Shark stops playing with fire extinguishers.  Or some nonsense like that.

If you liked this post, you might want to check out THIS post where I outline how I keep my kids’ room clean, and how they help me do it.  :)

You may also like Surviving the Third Baby.  

 

{ 175 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirby February 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

I also purchased that hamper from Ikea, Leila’s chore is to put her dirty clothes in the hamper after her shower.

I purchased the Ikea plastic dishwear so she will clean off her plate after dinner into the trash and either put her plate, bowl, cup, utensils in the sink (if the dishwasher is full of clean dishes) or in the dishwaher if we are re-loading it. She will also put her dishes away. I made a drawer at our old home (we are in the process of moving)that held her bowls, cups, plates, then the utensils went in the utensil drawer. She knows not to touch the knives so she will also put our metal utensils away.

Folding towels-mostly hand towels and dish towels.

Since we are temporarily at my parent’s home, she helps move the laundry from the washer to the dryer and push the buttons to put it to wash or dry.

She helps get her “clothes” out for school (sometimes, dresses are NOT okay in the winter girlfriend!) and for bed time.

She cleans up after herself-toys and such.

She gets upset with me if I start to vaccumm so we bought her a small (REAL) vaccumm so she can do it.

There is no fun playing with a new toy unless the other toys and books are still out and there is a mess.

Thanks for sharing your suggestions. I think that’s a great idea to have them clean cabinets and doors!

(Do I sound like I enforce Child Labor? LOL)

(I feel like that’s what it sounds like but I don’t….she’s a kid and she asks to help, it makes her feel proud and she gets rewarded for it! I just don’t want her thinking that mommy is going to do EVERYTHING for her ALL the time. She’s learning responsibilities and having fun!)

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Roo February 29, 2012 at 9:55 am

A little child labor never hurt anybody. :) I love your ideas! I think I’ll reserve a spot just for their dishes where they can reach them. Thanks, Kirby!

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Kirby February 29, 2012 at 10:03 am

And those ikea plates are amazing and VERY inexpensive. Oh and the knives totally safe for Baby Shark to do her knife tricks with!!!

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Jamie February 29, 2012 at 10:01 am

Getting them a little real vacuum is a great idea! I think Jonas would love that :)

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Roo February 29, 2012 at 10:01 am

Ooh, yeah! Kirby, what kind of little vacuum do you use? Is it a hand vac or a push vac?

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Kirby February 29, 2012 at 10:04 am

ummm….IDK. lol it’s one of those ones you can take the handle off and it’s a hand vac which is good for stairs. I’ll look when i get home and let you all know. Oh and she got to pick the color since it was for her!

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Jessi March 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm

My 14 month old LOVES vacuums! What kind of “mini” vacuum did you get? He obviously can’t push our upright yet, but he loves to try.

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Roo March 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Jessi, Kirby wrote on the FB NGN wall that she bought her daughter a Dirt Devil! :)

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Katie March 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm

It’s not child labor, it’s life skills!

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Yeah, baby!

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Jamie February 29, 2012 at 9:58 am

Love Rembot’s face in that pic! Jonas (almost 4) loves to put things in the trash and laundry basket too – I’ve tried having him clean the table with paper towels and wipes, etc, but he often leaves it worse off…has fun doing it though! :) The things he likes helping with most is bringing me various trash cans from bathrooms to empty into a big bag. No idea why, but he has a great time doing it! He also puts all of his toys away before his bath while Claire (1 year) takes them back out and throws them at him…she is less helpful.

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Roo February 29, 2012 at 10:01 am

Hahaha, I think it’s time you gave Claire a talking-to. :)

I like what you said (and what Kirby said above) about putting things away before another activity (like bathtime). We’ve been trying to reinforce that here, and I’ve been limiting the amount of stuff they can drag into the living room. Mostly because I can’t handle all the visual clutter. :)

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Jamie February 29, 2012 at 11:08 am

I know – babies these days *shakes head*

I totally agree with not being able to handle all of the visual clutter – we just moved, but once the living room is set up they will have their own area of the living room (behind the couch) where their stuff needs to stay…for the most part. And they are really only allowed to have one bin of living room toys, in a pretty target bin.

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Shannon February 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm

I too enforce child labor in my house for the same reasons…my kids are not going to think that I will be here to do everything for them for the rest of their lives (at some point I would very much LIKE to have a life again LOL). My boys are 4 1/2 and 3 (Conner and Jackson). I cannot stand visual clutter, so several times a day (usually before lunch, before snack, and before dinner and sometimes more as needed) they have to clean their bedroom. That is where I make them play with all toys at right now while we live with my in-laws. I also make them put their own dishes in the sink after every meal, clean their place at the table if they make a mess, put their clothes in the hamper in the morning and at night before bath time, help me strip their beds, help make their beds (this one gets frustrating so I have stopped this one for now), help me clean the bathroom (usually the sink and the bath tub, although when Conner found it funny to pee on the toilet I made him clean the toilet), help pick up trash on the floor before I vacuum, help feed THEIR dog, and help put their laundry away after I take it to the laundry mat to wash it. If one of them happens to be with me on laundry day, it is also their job to put the clothes in the dryer. I learned through all of this several things: 1. Kids do not do chores perfectly, but I should NEVER re do a chore they did in front of them nor should I make them feel they did not do a good enough job (hard since I am OCD about cleaning), and 2. that kids really do love to help with the chores in toddler and preschool stages (maybe this will carry over to those troublesome teenage years???). I love seeing the look of accomplishment on their little faces when they have worked to do a chore and have done it as best they can. They love their responsibilities around the house, and usually ask me if they can do something to help me clean. I love it.

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Jenny @ Fondant is Gross February 29, 2012 at 10:04 am

I don’t have a kids tip to add to this, but I do want to tell you I love the bittylutions. I am try to spruce up my skin care routine one step at a time and it’s so much more manageable than it was before!

Bittylutions = GENIUS.

Thanks :)

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Kirby February 29, 2012 at 10:06 am

Roo is a FLIPPIN’ GENIOUS!!!

Share what you are doing with your skin care….I always love hearing new things about skin care and/or makeup. Especially if it’s good for you and time-saving, $-saving helps too! So share away chica!!!

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Jenny @ Fondant is Gross February 29, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Well right now, I am starting off with lotion and moisturize after a shower at night and in the morning moisturize and cover-up/foundation only. Switching to washing my face outside the shower is next, once I find a face wash that doesn’t dry out my face. Suggestions anyone?

Marriage Confessions raves about Basis, I was going to try that, but I am open to suggestions.

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Kirby February 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I use the Skintelligence Line from Market America. I’ve always had skin “issues” and it doesn’t dry out my face but it also takes care of my acne. I mean that plus changing my eating habits has helped a WHOLE lot.

My mom (who I got my wonderful acne genes from….THANKS MOM!) started using it. Actually she stole it from me since I had a travel kit and She’s seen the same results but not drying out.
It’s a face wash, conditioning spray and moisturizer.

I wash my face at the sink in the AM and in the shower at night but only AFTER shampooing and conditioning. (I don’t know where I heard it but it’s better to wash your body and face after doing both those things to avoid build-up in your pores and so far it’s working!)

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Roo February 29, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Jenny, is your face dry? I’ve read that if you wash your makeup off well at night, when you wake up in the morning, you shouldn’t need to rewash it. Just a few splashes of water and some moisturizer are good for the day. :)

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Jenny @ Fondant is Gross February 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Kirby- thanks for the suggestion. I don’t currently have a problem with acne (knock on wood) but I will check it out.

I never knew to wash my face after I shampoo and condition, although it certainly makes sense!

Roo- Our house is really dry and we can’t find our vaporizor. I currently only wash my face in the shower with Clean and Clear Morning Burst (at night, haha) And in the winter especially my face feels dry. I was just going to transition into washing my face morning and evening, out of the shower, but I will try the splashes with the moisturizer. Once I get into that I plan to use a Mary Kay day and night solution my Mother in law (and a few others) love. The day solution has SPF in it and my foundation doesn’t so I need that, especially in the summer.

Fair skin is evil.

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Roo February 29, 2012 at 10:26 am

Jenny, I’m always guilty of this! I’ll buy a ton of products at once and it ends up not really making a lot of sense for me.

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Jenny @ Fondant is Gross February 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm

It’s so frustrating when that happens because then you have all this stuff clogging your house up! I am going to do a cleaning binge this weekend to get rid of old products that either aren’t safe to use anymore, or I just. don’t. want.

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BreyLee February 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Jenny, it makes my day that we read the same blog! What a small [cyber] world. :) (Sidenote to everybody else: Jenny and I were diaper buddies back in the day, grew up together, moved away from home, and then reconnected over our blogs years later.)

I echo Jenny’s lack of kiddo chores and love of the Bittylutions. I am slowly trying to take better care of myself and, coincidentally enough, my first step was also a better skin care regime! Thanks for the always interesting posts, Roo! :)

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:03 pm

EEEET’S A SMALL WORLD AAAAFTER ALL.

:)

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Tiffani February 29, 2012 at 10:22 am

Phoebe loves to have a rag and scrub things, she’s only two right now. She also loves to put things in the trash and the dirty clothes in the laundry basket. We are still struggling with her putting her toys away. She thinks every single thing she has needs to be out on the floor where she can see it.

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Roo February 29, 2012 at 10:31 am

Toys are hard, I think. Like I said, I swear a light switch went off in Rembot and she is now happy to clean and pick up after herself. It’s amazing. Now to train her sister….

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laura February 29, 2012 at 11:41 am

I think it’s a developmental thing. If they can’t see it, it doesn’t really exist. You might try see through bins, so they can still see the toy, but it’s off the floor.

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Roo February 29, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Ooh, good idea!

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Tracey February 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm

another helpful tip for putting toys away is to tkae a picture, or use a graphic from computer, print it out and tape it on the front of the clear bin (even add the word in black font). its a great way to help them learn to organize but also great for learning word recognition, categories, etc.

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laura February 29, 2012 at 10:31 am

We had to wait until after they took the sharp knives out, but my mom would let us put the silverwear away. As I got older, I got put on sharp knife and everything else in the dishwasher duty and my sister did the silverwear. To this day, when we’re at home and doing the dishes, I automatically hand her the cutlery basket. She doesn’t appreciate this, and claims she is capable of putting other things away as well.

I would also consider getting a plastic child sized pitcher. I had one for milk so I could make my breakfast at whatever ungodly hour I would wake up on Saturdays. Apparently walking in on your 5 year old standing in the fridge trying to reach the gallon of milk above her head is terrifying.

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Roo February 29, 2012 at 10:40 am

Hahaha, I love that you still hand her the cutlery basket.

Good idea about the pitcher!

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Kirby February 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I too like the pitcher idea….Oh Roo…if you want to try that I may have an extra small one at home with little cups to match. Let me as Monica! I bought one and then she bought one for Leila too and leila doesn’t need both!

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Erin February 29, 2012 at 11:46 am

Agreed! My mom said once I got to age 4 (I think?) on weekends she would leave a bowl of dried cereal on the counter and a tiny pitcher of milk (with enough for my bowl) in the fridge and pre-program the TV to the cartoon channel so all I had to do was get up, push the on button, open the fridge and pour my milk and she was golden for at least 1-2 hours more sleep!

I know, TV is bad, blah blah blah — I turned out ok. :)

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laura February 29, 2012 at 11:58 am

There was a “no bothering mommy and daddy before sunrise” rule in my house. I remember being older and being able to turn the TV on and change the channels, but I’m not sure if I always went for the TV or if I did other things when I was younger.

We were the only family I’ve ever known that kept all of the dishes in the bottom cabinet. When my parents moved after my sister and I were out of the house, I asked her why she moved all the dishes up. Apparently that had been adopted to prevent me from climbing all over the counters. That and the small pitcher thing started after the sunrise rule was instituted. I was tiny and resourceful.

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Amanda March 11, 2012 at 12:25 am

Never thought about a small pitcher for the milk, but I’ve been known to put a Sippy cup in the fridge and a banana and nutri-grain bar (both slightly cracked opened so he could open it the rest of the way.

As for chores, he brings everyone’s hampers to the laundry room an sorts them mostly correctly as a 4.5 yo. He’s taken the clothes out of the dryer for me since he was strong enough to open the door at about 3yo. Loves to dust with the swiffer duster, sorts silverware (minus the knives I take out first)Lysol wipes the toilet and floor around it and swishes the toilet with the brush (a favorite of his but must be monitored or it becomes play time) helps water the flowers outside, and will take what few leaves we have with his toy rake because he wants to jump in the pile. ;)

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Nicole February 29, 2012 at 10:41 am

Ethan has a little Dirt Devil that actually turns on and has a filter and everything. ACTUALLY PICKS UP DIRT!!! We found it Toys R Us. He LOVES it. We got it because he insisted on helping his dad vacuum every time the vacuum came out. Its runs on batteries and as I look at it right now I can see the dog hair he picked up the last time he vacuumed.

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3142104

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Oh cute!! :)

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laura February 29, 2012 at 11:33 am

O, that reminds me, have you seen the baby mop?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPpdyOQ5RA0

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Bahaha.

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Erin February 29, 2012 at 11:44 am

My two year old Noah has helped with chores for 6 months or so now…
*unloads his dishes from the dishwasher (I give them to him and he puts them in the bottom drawer where we keep them all — also doubles as “toys” when my almost one year old wants to play in the kitchen when I’m trying to cook)
*clears his dishes from the table after meals and puts them on the counter or in the sink
*puts dirty clothes away in the hamper when needed
*picks up his toys before bedtime
*feeds the dog (with help so we don’t over-feed…he’s already 100+ pounds!)

They *love* to help — my philosophy is why hamper that enthusiasm??? :)

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Good point about not hampering the enthusiasm! :)

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Catherine February 29, 2012 at 11:53 am

When my kids were that age, if I really needed some time to get something done, I would give them a sponge and pop them in the bath. They had fun water play and loved wiping down the tub at the same time. They used to like using a squeegee to clean windows too. Sometimes I would let them wash all the plastic plates and cups in the sink while they stood on a stool. They got perfectly clean in warm water with a little bit of detergent. They enjoyed drying them using the tea towel too. I have to say I love that my kids are now 9 and 6 and they can do a heap of stuff! They clean their own bathroom (incl. the toilet), they sweep floors, unload the dishwasher, wipe down counters, put the washing in the machine, dust, clean windows etc. etc. LOVE IT! Disclaimer: they don’t do much of that willingly…buuut, once they get started they are fine…

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Oooh smart. I have to keep a close eye on my girls in the tub (they get a little too daring), but I do take that time to tidy up the bathroom while I’m in there with them. :)

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Erica February 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I love this! Leilani (4) is getting to be more and more super helpful. I love all the tips you shared. Mith my kids including my 1 1/2 yr old love putting clothes in the washer and dryer too. If you have a small broom they love to sweep, especially their own mess. Leilani practices making her bed which is niiice! Also, if i’m going to vacuum I have the kids pick up everything off the floor for me first. There are lots of ways yo get the little ones yo help and it’s important they learn to help out and pick up after themselves! :)

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Ooh, our washer and dryer is in the dungeon part of our basement, so it’ll be awhile before they help me with that. Great idea! One day I’ll have a Pinterest-worthy laundry room, and they can help. ;)

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Erica March 2, 2012 at 7:14 pm

LOL! So is ours. We have a pretty new washer and dryer and they sit in the dang dungeoun…I dream of beautiufl laundry rooms, preferably on the same floor as the bedrooms. haha! But the kids still like to come down with me ocassionally and i make sure they just stay right there and load from the washer to the dryer and march right back up the stairs. I’ll take whatever help I can get! ;)

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Erica February 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I love this! Leilani (4) is getting to be more and more super helpful. I love all the tips you shared. Mith my kids including my 1 1/2 yr old love putting clothes in the washer and dryer too. If you have a small broom they love to sweep, especially their own mess. Leilani practices making her bed which is niiice! Also, if i’m going to vacuum I have the kids pick up everything off the floor for me first. There are lots of ways to get the little ones to help and it’s important they learn to help out and pick up after themselves! :)

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm

I want to start teaching Rembot to make her bed. :) Great idea. :)

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Jen @ A Touch of Lovely February 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Ooooh great ideas! I hadn’t thought of having her wipe down cabinets and the fridge!

I bought a little spray bottle at the dollar store and fill it with water. I let her spray and wipe tables and stuff (she’s just not allowed near the TV!).

I also bought one of those toddler knives that don’t have serrated edges. I set her up with a cutting board and some relatively soft foods (strawberries are her favorite) and let her cut the tops off. She thinks she’s especially cool doing that!

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Wow, what a great idea!

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Juliana February 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I have my boys (5 and 2.5) separate the laundry for me. We put it all in one hamper so I dump it on the floor, put out three baskets and have them separate whites, darks and lights. I have to fix up the colors a bit but the whites are usually done right. That takes them a good 10 minutes. They usually fight over the Swifer mop so, while my older son is sweeping I take the little one with me in the bathrooms and he sprays the toilets down with anti-bac. Then I let him spray things like his potty seat and the step stool. By the time they are finished with all of these things, they are ready to move on to something else like playing with toys and I am free to finish my cleaning without them bothering me. Oh, I only use Method brand cleaning products. They are non-toxic and smell great.

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Roo February 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Good idea about separating laundry! I’ve let my girls sort socks, but it usually turns into a sock fight. ;)

I like the Method brand products, too! A friend of mine lets her kids use the minty wipes. :)

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Juliana February 29, 2012 at 1:48 pm

We have had fights over laundry, so I usually assign colors to one and whites to the other. Sometimes I bribe them with treats or an extra TV show for no fighting while working together. Most of the time they forget about the bribe if I whisk them off to another chore when they are finished.

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angie @ seriouslyahomemaker February 29, 2012 at 1:58 pm

when they do get a wee bit older they really can help a lot more with laundry, especially if you keep it fun. my kids, dare i say it, look forward to folding laundry in the summer time (i do most of it during the school year). Here’s a fun video we made the explains why it is fun-ish. (basically i throw their clothes at their faces as hard as i can and they laugh about it… i dunno. they think it rocks.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk-2KyWQiOA&feature=g-upl&context=G2d3dbe4AUAAAAAAACAA

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Hahaha I love that video.

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Jennifer February 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I didn’t start this at an early enough age and I’m totally regretting it now. Big Girl has just started really helping out at 7, but I have to give her some pretty specific tasks. Last night I tried to get Bud to help with the laundry by sorting socks to be folded. I tried to sell it to him as a fun puzzle, but he didn’t go for it. Although, he loves helping me with the dirty laundry. He puts it in the washer and then starts it for me. I’m pretty sure by the time he’s 7 he’ll be able to do easy loads on his own.

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I keep seeing really cute Chore Charts on Pinterest. A little too old for my girls, but maybe perfect for your kids??

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Ashley L Pelletier February 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Hmmmmmmm…….

I don’t have any kids (yet) but when I do (which will be never? 10 years from now? cats instead?) I will be alls about this. I am all in favor of kids + chores.

Chyeaaaa.

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:11 pm

If only I could get mine to blow out my hair for me…

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Ashley February 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Although I have no kidlettes of my own (and at a tender 22 years hopefully not for a looooooooong time) Im a child care worker at a before and after school care centre. I have found that the kids love helping out with cleaning/tidying so much that I can no longer use it to punish bad behaviour!

My base rules include scraping/rinsing their own plates and putting them in the dish washer, helping to tidy any toy or activity that they are involved with and with the older kids I get them to help make brekky for the little kids (pouring cereal, making milo, toast etc).

Our centre also has hundreds of those bowls and plates from ikea!!! They’re ace!

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Fantastic! I like the idea of not making chores as punishment.. because helping is a good thing. :)

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Lindsey Mattei February 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm

I didn’t read all these so this couldve been said but Nev (almost 2) loves to “wipe” things so I give her a swiffer cloth and have her wipe all the surfaces… i hate dusting and she does pretty amazing so i believe it is a win.

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Definitely a win. :)

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Liz February 29, 2012 at 9:40 pm

My son sits on the counter, and I put the basket of clean silverware next to him and pull the drawer, and he puts it away for me. He also seasons our food with the spices I pull out of the cabinet…he loves helping me cook.

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Ohh, spices! Great idea!

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sue March 1, 2012 at 11:11 am

all this tips are awesome my 6 year old likes to help with the laundry i empty the washer to her and she loads the dryer. my nine year old likes to help with the dishes and make her bed

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Oooh, I’m not a huge fan of doing dishes. That will be one chore I will be happy to pass off. :)

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G Alford March 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm

A collegue put socks on her little 3 yr old twins and let them have fun dusting the furniture. They thought it was a game but were learning to be good little housekeepers!

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Cute idea!

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Brooke March 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I have two daughters, ages 2.5 and 3.5, and just like yours, my 3.5 year old is very helpful. She actually comes to me several times a day asking, “Momma, do you have a job for me?” I couldn’t always think of something on the spot, so I had to make a list, and of course, we have many similar ideas, but here are a few different ones… 1. In addition to putting their dirty clothes in the laundry basket, my girls love to carry the dirty clothes from their laundry basket to the washing machine, and then move them from the washer to the dryer. After they’re clean and dry, they help me sort socks and they put away their socks and panties. 2. Sometimes I get out the canister vacuum and let them vacuum the carpet. They can handle it, and feel like really “big stuff” getting to be in charge of such a big chore. 3. On days when I’m ok with a little mess, I let them wash the dishes. They FIGHT over who gets to do it, they love it so much! I put their little chairs at the sink, fill one side up with water, put aprons on the girls, and let them scrub the dishes. After they get all of the food off, they put the clean dishes in the empty side of the sink, and I later load them in the dishwasher. 4. They enjoy helping unload the dishwasher. They can put away utensils, pots and pans, and tupperware containers. I handle all of the dishes and glassware. 5. They can empty bathroom and office trashcans. All they have to do is pull the trashbag out of the can and then carry it to the garage door where they leave it on the floor for me to tie up and put in the garage. 6. They help make up their bed every morning by straightening their blankets the best they can and lining up their pillows the right way. 7. Every time we come home, they take off their shoes and put them in the drawer where they belong. They also hang up their own backpacks if we used them that day.

I’ve enjoyed reading your post and all of the comments!

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Beautiful! I loved reading this, Brooke!

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Randi Sowders March 2, 2012 at 2:24 am

I have an almost 4 year old and her chores are cleaning her room, making her bed, putting our pajamas in the dirty clothes, brushing her teeth, setting the table (when we use plastic plates), clearing the table (on those same plastic nights) and feeding the dogs.

Daddy helps with the dogs for now, but in about another month or two she will be big enough to do it herself.

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Roo March 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Ooh, what a great little helper!

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Chelscy March 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm

I’m 9 momnths pregnant and my 3 and a half year old helps a LOT! The chore that helps me the most though, is getting the clothes out of the dryer. After it cools down, I open the dryer door and put a laundry basket in front of it – he pulls the clothes out (usually 1 or 2 garments at a time) and by the time he’s finished, I can have a sink full of dishes done or God knows what else (and I only have to bend down once – to pick up the basket!!)

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Super smart! :)

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sara March 3, 2012 at 1:23 am

Olivia likes to help set the table for meals. She may get all the forks at one place setting but it takes her awhile cuz she gets one piece of silverware out at a time. We help with the plates and cups of course. I can usually finish making the meal while she is doing this.

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm

That’s great, Sara! Get some cooking done while she’s still within your line of vision. :)

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jen March 3, 2012 at 2:07 am

We started using Norwex products in our home. We now clean with water, so there is no reason my 4 year old can’t help more. He is AWESOME with a mop! :) We have a Melissa & Doug chore chart that is great for tracking his chores and he completes them every day! Gotta get em started young! Now, if only the 11month old would pull her weight! ;)

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I’ll look up that M&D chore chart. Thanks, Jen!

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Erika March 4, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Love your ideas. My kids love to load and swap laundry. I discovered this when I was preggo with my middle one and had new frontloaders (not on pedestals) and realized that bending over to swap got increasingly uncomfortable. I decided to scrap the dream of getting pedestals one day so that my girls can still help. I also give them microfiber clothes to dust with. Another fun time…is using big rubberbands to attach microfiber cloths to their feet and let them “skate” across the floor. We used to have a small “real” vacuum made by Bissel. However, the motor died after several years of use and they don’t seem to make it anymore:(

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I’m totally going to keep an eye out for a mini vacuum. Seems to be a hit!! :)

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Joanna March 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Love all these ideas! My little kiddo is 18 months, and though his help isn’t always *helpful*, I let him do the following things with me: he empties measuring spoons/cups (after I fill them) into the bowl when we are cooking and baking (big cleanup and sometimes re-measuring required, but he’s getting better); he gets the broom and dustpan for me; he picks up little tiny specks of fuzz and other garbage and puts them in the trash; he LOVES to have a wet rag and wipe things down (usually a whopping 3″ square or so!) when I am cleaning countertops; LOVES to use the duster, especially the part where we shake it outside the door; he drags the rugs to the door when it’s time to shake them; and his #1 favorite job is to take a glass of juice or water to daddy when he comes home and sits down (ummm, can you say spills everywehre?! but, he loves it, and tries really hard to make it without spilling, and is very proud when he actually does :). He can almost reach the sink (he’s tall), so he’s starting to put spoons and bowls in to the sink, too. Keeps him busy, and little by little I get more help…:) Since he can’t reach a lot of things, he likes to tell me where things go, so I always ask him when we’re tidying up, “Where does this go?” and he runs and points… hoping that will lead to actually putting stuff away… one day…..:)

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Ohh Joanna, he sounds so sweet and so helpful! :)

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Emily March 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm

This is sort of the same as wiping down the cabinet fronts, but in our house we do “super-duper spot detector” where I give them each a wet washcloth and they have to go around the house and count how many marks/food bits/boogers they take off the walls. The two year old has no idea what she’s doing but she follows the big one around and “helps”. Also, if I have to mop when they’re awake I give them each a tea towel and let them dry the freshly mopped areas.

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Ooh! I like the idea of having them dry the floors. I’ll have to write this one down. :) Thanks, Emily!

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Lisa March 8, 2012 at 11:43 am

I love all of your ideas! Everyone’s, actually! I have a 5yo boy and he LOVES to help around the house. He’s so helpful that sometimes I have a hard time thinking of things for him to do! Aside from having to pick up after himself (if he doesn’t toys, activities, etc. that aren’t picked up end up in “Clutter Jail”), his main chores are to take out the smaller garbages in the bedrooms and bathrooms, take out and separate the recycling, set the table (he has a stool to use to reach the higher dishes and is only allowed to carry one plate at a time as they are heavy ceramic ones) and, of course, clear his plate and such when he is done eating. He sometimes helps me cook, vacuum, and water the outdoor plants (which is a seasonal job for us Minnesotans!). He also helps feed and water the dog and lets her out on her leash when she barks for it. Gosh, I guess my little guy does quite a bit! I had no idea!

Thanks again for the extra tips!!

I’m excited to add wiping down cabinets and refrigerator to the list!

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Oooh taking out the garbage is a good one. I’ll have to try that when the girls are a little older. :)

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JB March 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm

LOVE IT! These are great tips. I, too, am always looking for things to distract from the iPad while I’m cooking dinner. Bear (two and a half) puts his toys away each evening – we got him to participate in determining where different things live, so now he feels ownership over his room and is proud to clean up. And boy, will you know about it if you put a tractor in the wrong box! He also loves to help unstack the dishwasher. He puts his plates and cups away in his drawer (his kitchen toys, plates, cups, sippy cups etc all live in one drawer he has total access to), and often puts the silverware away for me, too. He’s also a huge fan of sweeping, though he’s not that effective :) Love the idea of getting him to clean the cabinets, i think he’d love it. He also likes to put things in the trash/recycling.

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I would love it if my two year old was more enthusiastic about picking up. Soon, I hope. :)

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Renee March 10, 2012 at 3:09 am

I have 4 kids and the oldest is 5. I HAVE to let them help with chores. I can’t keep up on my own! A friend recommended that instead of sweeping the kitchen, they vacuum up the crumbs after every meal. Genius! I bought and electrolux vacuum cleaner that is lightweight. It sits on a charging station and has a handheld vacuum that pops out of it. I bought it intending for them to only use that part in the kitchen, but they love it so much and it’s lightweight with no cords, so they fight over vacuuming with the whole stick vacuum in the livingroom now! We also discovered they can use the handheld part on the stairs. Amazing! Even the 19 month old pitches in!

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm

You are super smart! Want to fly out to CT and teach me your ways? :)

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Anna March 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm

When I sweep the kitchen, my kids like to follow me around with a spray bottle and rag and spot-mop any smudges/spots they find.

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Oh, I think my girls would like this!

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Jackie March 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm

My daughter is only 13 months and her favorite thing to do is help me unpack the groceries. I’m going to try and keep this going!

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Really cute! Good plan, Jackie!

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Tracy March 11, 2012 at 12:15 am

My son’s both helped me with the laundry from about age 2. I put the wet clothes on the dryer door and the boys push it into the dryer and I hand them clothes to put in the washer. They also help unloading the forks and spoons from the dishwasher.

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Roo March 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Unloading spoons + forks is a great idea! :)

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Rebecca March 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm

My little Super Tot puts his own toys away. He also takes turn setting the table (and clearing it). His favorite chore is helping his big sister empty the trash cans. He gets each one out of the room it belongs in and lines them up in the hall for her. Once she has emptied them, he takes them back to each respective room. He also gets to hand wash his own cups and put away the utensils (not knives) from the dishwasher.

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Rebecca March 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Forgot to mention on my last comment that Super Tot just turned 3 at the end of January!

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Staci March 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I have my 2 1/2 year old put away the silverware from the dishwasher (knives removed) while I unload the rest of it.

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Caroline March 11, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I did many of these things with my 2 boys when they were toddlers. As soon as they learned to walk they were taught to take their dish to the sink.

We use plastic plates and glasses for dinner instead of glasses @ preschool age they had to set the table. They loved it!

As preschoolers they were responsible for throwing out the recycled trash. (I had separate small trash can inside the house for recycled goods). Given it was mostly aluminum cans, plastic bottles and cardboard it was a light enough bag for a preschooler to take to the trash can.

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Deidre March 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I’ve been having my 4 year old set the table for about a year now. I take out the dishes for her and she puts them where they go on the table. I love your ideas and I can’t wait to start them in my own house

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Shelly March 12, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I have a 1 yr old, a 2 yr old, and a 4 yr old… Here are chores they do daily.

(THe 1 yr old “helps” the other two, but she is a go trash girl througout the day)

~They have to gather laundry and will put it in basket in downstairs bah and push it to laundry room. The 4 yr old sometimes sorts he laundry…mybe once a week, he does this.

~They put up kitchen towels once folded. I somtimes send my 2 yr old with one towel at time to keep her out of the folded clothes and I’ll give the baby some of my underclothes to take to my room…. Ican easily gather them and fold and pt in drawer when I’m in there putting up the rest.

~They are suppose to pick up the floor in th kitchen, living room, and hallway by playroom where shoes ad toys get left out. The run any dirty clothes to laundry, blankts get put on couch for me to fold ad put up, toys get put up in playroom, dishes in sink.

~After meals they dump plates and put in sink. Even the one yr old does hers (wth help)

~My 2 yr old puts silverwarein drawer (our sharp knives get put in block and I pull them out wth serving and cooking spoons, etc andput up) She then puts te baking pns and plastic tupperware up. My 4 yr old matches up bottles and cups and puts thier bottles (yes, my 14 mos old still takes a bottle occasionaly), cups, plates, andbowls in thier cabinet and if I haven’t gotten to the glass baking dishes, pots, and pans he does those…

~They also have a small vaccuum the 2 yr old nd 1 yr old fight over and my 4 yr old uses the hse attachment to do along the edges of couch and rabbit cage, etc…

~The girls fetch thier own diapers and wipes.

~The big two place shoes under ourbench at front door.

Man, I’m a slave driver, lol.. but that is all I can think of of the top of my head.

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Shelly March 12, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Oh yes, when dinner is almost ready and they are tired of waiting they set the table. They take turns with plates and silverware. I hand down the glass plates or bowls for me and husband…and they walk careful. They have never broken a dish.

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Shelly March 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I swear my last post…
~My kids sort groceries, cold groceries get put in front of fridge and pantry stuff gets put in front of pantry… Makes me not have to run all over the kitchen and theyare usually slower than me so itkeeps them busy.

~They also feed and water the rabbit everyday while I’m getting morning snack ready or if we are busy early in the day, then after dinner before bath.

~Oh and I found this really cool system for spices and letting kids help… I have a spice rack that has 3 levels..all the ones I keep on the top have 1′s written on them, next row have 2′s, etc. I also have meals I make often…like spaghetti. I found shape stickers that are small a few years ago and so all the spices I use for spaghetti have triangle stickers and the spices I usually use for poultry have circles, and pork chops squares, etc… some spices have multiple stickers…I just tell my 4 year old that I’m making pork chops for dinner and he gets me all the square stickered spices off the rack…. an then when I’m cleaning up kitchen after dinner, he can put them on the rght row in the rack with the numbers.

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Katie March 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm

I have my 5 year old replace the trash in the 1/2 bath and his bathroom. Since he has to do it every day there is never enough for it to be any trouble for him. He’s just using grocery bags as trash bags. My 7 year old get the job of bathroom sinks. He sprays the counters and sinks with “Green” Spray as he calls it and wipes them down to get the toothpaste off of them.

These are easy and a HUGE help to me. It’s two less things for me to do and I’m so thankful that they do it without even being told!

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Jessica M March 14, 2012 at 8:01 am

My boys chores include feeding the dog or cat, picking up their toys, helping load the dishwasher, helping fold the laundry, and cleaning their rooms. They get a dime for each checkmark on their chart. We also give them marks for brushing in the morning and night, doing their sight words, getting up peacefully and staying in bed. They are 5, 4, and 2…we don’t make my 2 year old do too much yet. :)

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Jackie March 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm

My little boy is two and loves helping. He will put stuff in the trash. Put dirty clothes in the laundry room, help put clothes in the washer and from the washer to the dryer, hand me clothes from the dryer lol, pick up his toys ( with my help to motivate him), unload the dishwasher( by taking it out and handing it to me), attempt to sweep, put stuff in the sink, put his shoes away, pick his toys up from around the house and put them in his room, close his gate so the dogs don’t get in his room, and gives the dogs bones when they have been good. Lots of little stuff they are able to understand at this age. And it’s good to let them help. It lets you get a lot done knowing they are also occupied WHILE helping (: I just made a vinegar and water cleaner and he helped me clean the cabinets. He’s muc more help than my husband sometimes! Lol (:

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Christen March 15, 2012 at 11:05 am

I have found that my 2-3 year olds can also.
wipe bathroom counters, take out that bathroom trash, pull weeds- they love with some gloves and a trash bag they could be out there for hours and make it a game..
And when we do paper ware for dinner I let him set the table too.

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kara March 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm

my daughter is 20mths old and already does some of these… but I also have her clean up any spills she makes. I give her a sponge to dry it up & then I go behing with some cleaners. It helps her to realize she has to clean up after herself.

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Roo March 16, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Oh, I love this idea! A lot, a lot.

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ERIN March 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm

We play “contruction” while doing laundry. My boys (4 & 3) are ‘bulldozers’ first- they push the laundry down the stairs and to the washer. Then they turn into ‘front-end loaders’ to put a load in the washer or move clothes from teh washer to the dryer. Lastly, they are ‘forklifts’with their arms bent @ right angles to put laundry away. They love it! We also play freeze dance while picking up toys, or whatever. They love it!

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Roo March 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Hahaha, I love the idea of playing freeze dance! So cute!

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Gina March 17, 2012 at 11:07 am

My boys are 15, 13, and 10. And I have a 2 year old daughter. The boys have an extensive list of things they are responsible for. The list has every day completely scheduled out for the summer. The schedule is a three week rotation so that most chores get rotated between the three.

We both work while they stay home. A few years ago, we were having issues with them forgetting what they were supposed to do. That’s when we adopted the schedule.
They were much happier to have it so they could make sure they got everything done and had no more fighting over who was supposed to do what.
We were much happier to have it so we could make sure they got everything done, got their outside time in, and their game/TV time was limited.

Then our little girl showed up. The boys always started helping with chores about 18 months or so. Now it is time for her to jump in! With the boys so much older and involved in so many sports and activities, we don’t have as much time with her at home to do chores, but this is what she does….
1) She puts her dirty clothes in her hamper.
2) She helps switch clothes from the washer to the dryer.
3) Mom and dad’s hampers have wheels, so she get to help push them when they go to the laundry room.
4) After the boys sort out the clean clothes and put them in baskets, she pushed the baskets to the proper bedroom.
5) Every morning, she helps make her lunch for school.
6) After school, she puts away her back pack and jacket. She also empties out and puts away everything in her lunchbox.
7) She cleans up her toys and helps put away other items.
8) She feeds the dogs/cats (her brother measures it out).
9) She helps with cooking and baking whenever possible.
10) She helps put things in the trash, including putting her diapers/pull-ups in the diaper genie.

We are always looking for other little parts of chores she can help with.
I will be adding to her list cleaning cabinet fronts and some dusting.

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Audrey's mom March 20, 2012 at 12:41 am

I did not have the forty-seven days needed to read all of the comments so I have no idea if anyone added this:

My girls like to take items out of the dishwasher. If they are put away down low, they do it. If they go up high they hand the item to me. They get to do all of the tupperware-style stuff, kiddo items, and silverware. I get breakables and pots-n-pans. We race for cutting boards. They can sometimes help load. Or I give them a spray bottle of water and a rag and have them clean the table. It is a small bottle.

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lydia purple March 26, 2012 at 4:54 am

i put my daughter (she’s 2 now but I’ve been doing this for a year now) on the counter when i cook or let her stand on a chair next to me. (I found that when she sits on the counter I have better control and it’s safer than to have her run around in the kitchen, especially if you carry hot or sharp stuff around – this way I just put the knife out of reach when I turn around for a sec and it’s safe. she never tried to jump down from the counter) I let her do everything that is save like:
-putting the spices in
-putting cut veggies in the pot/pan
-I let her whisk eggs or batter or anything that needs whisking
-I measure the ingredients and let her pour it from the measuring cup into the bowl or pot
-she puts the peels or empty packages into the trash

basically she is wherever I am and does what I do… when I sweep she helps with her little broom, I let her carry laundry to the basket, from the basket to the washing machine, i let her push the start button on the washer, she hands me the clothes pegs when I put the laundry up or I let her put some laundry up on the small laundry stand, she has her own spray bottle for cleaning with only water but this is usually good enough to dust anything… the coffee table, the leather couch… I just have to keep an eye on her when she gets to the bookshelf, otherwise we have wet books. the spray bottle thing is also great to have the kids clean the windows from their own fingerprints. whenever she makes a mess (spill a drink etc) she has to help clean it, she is now already doing this on her own, when she spills something she’ll run and get a rag and wipe it clean. she has to help put her toys away which she also started doing now on her own sometimes without me asking or helping. I always give her lots of positive attention when she starts cleaning up by herself.
I also let her carry “very important items” (like toilet rolls when refilling the supply in the toilet, or the towels when exchanging them)

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ShannonH May 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm

My dad did this with me as a tot and we do it all the time. The kids also learn cool stuff like how a batter turns in to a cake or how to measure or count ingredients. It also seriously saved us one day when smoke poured out of the oven vent – my 2 and 4 year old kids were on the counter and my little 4 yr old guy saw the smoke before me. It bought us just a bit longer to get out of the house before the firemen came and I spent no time at all looking for little people in other rooms!

PS – we are all fine and the house is back in order after 5 weeks in a hotel during clean up

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Lea March 26, 2012 at 11:55 pm

My 3 yr old is such a good helper. He helps sort laundy, I tell him which pile and he tosses it in. He helps pick up and throw things in the trash. He gets unbreakable (and not sharp) stuff out of the dishwasher. In the morning his job is to let his dog outside to potty. And throughout the day he’ll also let him outside if he is waiting at the door. He loves his dog and part of my requirement of getting one was teaching him to care for the dog early on. I measure out the food and he dumps it in the bowl. He helps brush the dog too. He also loves to sweep and dust..and wipe down almost any surface.

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Amy March 27, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I have my 4 1/2 year olds help me match socks. They loves this and it helps with vocabulary like same, different, match, etc. It can also help teach colors to younger ones if they have lots of colored socks.

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Roo May 8, 2012 at 11:12 am

Great idea! I have a huge bag of unmatched socks sitting in my living room waiting for attention. :)

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Deb May 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm

If you have enough light colored socks, you can write the alphabet on them and have them match A&B, C&D etc.. it teaches them the alphabet and keeps the correct socks together. Numerals work too!

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Jen May 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm

As a preschool teacher, I love this idea! Try putting the capital letter on one sock and the lowercase letter on the matching sock! Helps the kids learn their capital and lowercase alphabet! With Numbers, write the number on one sock and then put that amount of dots or lines on the matching sock. That way they have to make the connection between the written number and counting!

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breia June 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I love all the suggestions but I think this is the best one I’ve heard as far as helping learn while helping! So glad I seen it! Now to buy new socks!

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jeanine griswold March 30, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I love your blog. My children also enjoyed helping me tidy up when they were small. We will have our first grandchild late this year and we are excited to start again. I look forward to hearing more from you and may have new ideas to share. :) ~J

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Michelle March 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm

I have been looking for a small broom for my littles! Where did you get yours?

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megan April 5, 2012 at 2:28 am

I was looking for one forever too. They have a little cleaners set at toys r us with a little cleaning caddy that includes mini broom, mop, duster, etc. However it is around $40 a lot more than I wanted to spend. Dollar stores have them but they are super cheap and won’t last. I did recently find one at Target though. It wasn’t there previously so I am not sure if your local one will have it but I found it about two weeks ago and it was $7.

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Rozz April 16, 2012 at 5:42 pm

We ordered a kid-sized broom for my 2-year-old for Christmas off of Amazon. It’s great quality and under $5. (The bonus was it came in an enormous box that got just as much playtime as the broom for a while.)

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Stef November 12, 2012 at 7:55 pm

target carries one with a long broom and a hand broom and dust pan all together for $11 picked it up yesterday!

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Shannon May 6, 2012 at 9:55 am

Try http://www.forsmallhands.com. I am a Montessori teacher, and we buy many of our supplies for “practical life” (aka, cleaning and other life-skill activities) from there. They make high-quality items that will last a long time.

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Julia Rock May 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm

When my daughter was younger, I bought a cheap regular sized broom with a hollow plastic handle. Pop off the top of the broom handle, cut the broom to the height you need with a hacksaw, then put the top back on. I believe that the broom had a wood dowel rod inside to add stability to the handle, but it came right out. I threw it away, but now that I think about it — might’ve been better to have cut it with the saw too and left it in there. (Although I don’t remember handle stability being an issue without the wood rod inside.)

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Lisa May 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I got my daughters broom in the collage/dorm section at Target for $4. It is kids size then expands to a full size broom when you twist it. I believe the real purpose is that it is a space saver for collage students, but it works perfect for little hands as well!

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Rhonda June 18, 2012 at 8:33 am

Take an adult wood broom and cut the handle down to size–works well

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Mo October 8, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Check out http://www.broommagic.com for kid brooms :)

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Kylie April 7, 2012 at 10:48 am

Another fun one is helping sort laundry. We do the whole big pile at the end of the week (or two) and ask her to throw all the laundry down the stairs. Then ask her to sort them by colors. HUGE job and she loves it! She is 3 1/2 and can not stop helping. Baby wipes cleaning anything is fun too. She helps cook and LOVES to do dishes. She gets very disappointed if you do dishes without her.

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M April 9, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Dustbusters! You WILL need one for each child, but they are totally worth the investment. I have a 3 and 4 year old, and I ask them to DustBuster after meals and crafts. It’s wonderful!

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Krystal April 12, 2012 at 11:35 am

I give my daughter (from the time she was about 18 months) my handheld vacuum and let her vacuum (especially under the table) then I just have to touch up where she missed :). She LOVES this and would do it for hours!

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KJ April 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Air Freshener and fabric freshener. My kid loves to do the couch and the curtains. She also is a wonder with a dust cloth. Those little hands get right in between the rails on the railing!

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Christie April 16, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Fun ideas! :) Regarding brooms… we live in Nigeria and couldn’t find child sized brooms, so I bought a regular size broom in the market and cut the handle down to child height, then repositioned the little plastic thing on top. Works like a charm!

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AMANDA SMITH April 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm

My 6 year old has been doing chores since he was 2. He always wants to be like his older brother (8 year difference) so that helps. He told me the other day “Mom, we need more sheets so I can do my laundry”..lol! He loves the 3-in-1 laundry sheets because he can load his own laundry (front loader), throw in a sheet and press START. He loves to dust and is in charge of putting away silverware from the dishwasher. As a teacher in a class of 3yr olds I know that little ones are much more self sufficient than what some parents believe. Giving them chores and responsibilities gives them a purpose and a wonderful feeling of pride. :)

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Steph May 2, 2012 at 2:10 am

I read this post to my therapist-husband, and he responded that even word choice (to say nothing of tone of voice) can encourage tots to help. Try saying, “Will you be my helper” rather than “will you help me.” Kids like to be known as “the helper” and studies have shown that using such language gets much higher rates of help from kids. It even works with adults (so say the studies), so you could even try it on your spouse when you need help getting those dishes done or that laundry completed! :)

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Casey June 16, 2012 at 8:17 am

Great point! The choice of words makes determines whether or not I have any helpers in my house:)

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Monica May 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm

My 2 1/2 year old LOVES to put the next load of laundry in the washer. Who knew that would be a huge benefit of the front loading machine!?!? Even though they are high and on pedestals he can get a big load squished in. Mommy’s happy and he is proud! WIN – WIN

I really need to get a vacuum he can use…let’s keep this going!

Oh, and since 2 when he discovered the magic of quarters at a pizza place with cousins and kept asking for quarters, I told him he had to “work” for quarters. I give him a sponge with non-toxic dish soap and water and he cleans the big stuff/mess (from him) on the sliding glass door, too. :)

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Holly May 6, 2012 at 8:15 pm

My son, who is 1.5 years old, loves to help put the wet laundry in the dryer. I hand him the clothes and he puts them right in. Another great chore for a toddler!

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Chelsy Hall May 8, 2012 at 12:05 am

my daughter is 20 months and loves to help. i let her do the swiffer some times too but most the time its picking up her toys. also with the dishwasher i take out the silver wear thing and let her help put up anything plastic and with laundry i set her on the dryer and let her put the cloths in the washer and she put her own close away(most the time they are unfolded by the time she gets there but to see the look of acoplishment on her face when she dose it is worth folding it agien when she not looking)and she feeds her dog twice a day(she also wants to give her water so i give her a small cup with a little bit then i fill it up)

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jesica May 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Ladie please be careful with the washer! There was a 3 year old boy whos mother let him help put clothes in the washer and one day she left him playing with his toys for five minutes and he was gone! she found him in the washer. He had fallen in and drown!! SO please please make sure they know not to do it alone or that they dont have a way to climb on top and fall in!!e

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Jennie May 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Thank you for these great ideas! I already have our 3- and 2-year old kids help out in many ways, including some on your list, but you’ve given me even more ways for them to help out!

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Dacia May 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I have my 2-year-old empty the kitchen utensils from the dishwasher into the utensil drawer. He loves sorting so this is great for him! I take out all of the knives or sharp things first, but I did teach him how to hold the butter knives (always the handle) so he puts those away.

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GreenMomma May 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm

My 3 year old LOVES to clean his room. If it’s particularly messy and I find him playing more than cleaning, I will give him specific tasks to do like “put away all of your cars and trains”, “put away all of your lincoln logs”, “put all of your animals on your bed”, etc. He also loves to help me with the laundry (front load washer and dryer). He helps sort into hampers, put into washer, transfer to dryer, take out of dryer and take the basket to the right room.

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Alexandra May 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm

My 4-year old daughter can make her own bed, it is a small bed though, but she does it pretty well.

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Casey May 26, 2012 at 8:59 pm

My 2 year old puts laundry in the laundry basket for my three year old to carry to the laundry room and load into the washer. They can’t reach the buttons so I start it. My 1 year old is excellent at picking up trash and misc things. All three always carry their own dishes to the sink when they are done. My three year old is also in charge of feeding/watering the dogs every day. It’s so nice!

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Allison May 30, 2012 at 10:45 pm

I also have my little boy (22 months) help with the laundry- after sorting all the clothes into the laundry baskets, he helps by pushing the baskets down the hallway into the laundry room. He loves it because he plays like it’s a big “car”. He also helps me water the plants with a small drinking cup. I fill it up and walk it over to the plant to avoid spills, and he dumps the water into the pot. Usually I will fill up a pitcher of water for me to keep filling his cup, otherwise we walk back and forth with the cup a lot, which can take more time.

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Brandi May 31, 2012 at 9:17 am

My 2 year old son has a chore chart to complete each day. It’s nothing major, but a few little things to help me out during the day. He makes his bed in the morning and after nap time, he is to put his dirty laundry in his hamper, pick up his dishes (non-breakable of course) after meals, and pick up his toys and put them in the proper bins. I am working on teaching him the art of putting his folded laundry away without un-folding it all. He loves to help, especially if it means he gets to put a smiley face on his chart to show dad when he gets home!

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Alexis June 8, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I just laughed outloud at your post! Especially the knife throwing. I have 2 daughter who are 11-1/2 months apart…totally not planned. And they too have funny ways in helping me that always seem to end in something dangerous. Thanks for letting me feel like I am not the only parent out there with two crazies as I like to call my children!

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Kate June 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm

I let my 2.5 year old help unload the dish washer. He does all of the silverware, the small pots & pans, the metal baking dishes, and anything plastic. He LOVES it!

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Jessie June 17, 2012 at 10:03 pm

My kids help out a lot. I have 3 under 4 so my kids need to be fairly self sufficient. They get nappies etc for me, put jarmies on their beds, clothes in the laundry and they often unload and reload my front loader washing machine too. DD who is 2.5 loves doing this. I then add the powder and softener and direct which buttons to press. Both kids alternate helping cook dinner with me, they put bowls in the sink and DS1 helps to load the dishwasher. He’s not yet 4 but loves the challenge. He also empties it. In fact this morning he asked if he could and then the 2 of them emptied all bar the sharp knives (they know not to touch these) and the saucepans and put it all away where it belongs. Very proud of them and they are very proud of themselves too. DS2 at 10 months is too young to help yet but they even help with him, getting him toys or his dummy. And if I leave the broom, vacuum or carpet sweeper unattended for 5 seconds it is claimed and put to use. As Mary Poppins says, “a spoonful of sugar”. Well, we had hot chocolates together and LOTS of praise.

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Melanie June 18, 2012 at 11:47 pm

These are great. One more thing that my 3 year old girl loves helping me with is pulling out the weeds around the house. She has her own little gloves and we both sit together and do it. Such a big help!

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Setjay June 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Ahah number 3 sounds familiar to me… I was pregnant 2 months ago and my 20 months old son was assigned to laundry ;)

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Laura June 26, 2012 at 11:13 am

I tell my sons they have to learn how to do the housework so they don’t have to depend on a girl to do it when they are grown & they can do just as good of a job that we can. My son, which will be 6 in Aug, has helped me since he was 2. He started out rinsing the dishes after I wash them. Now, he can help stack them before & after washing. He helps wipe down the cabinets & counters. He now makes his bed, puts away his dirty clothes & toys. Cleaning his room himself is easy now. He helps load, unload & fold the laundry. He never really liked the noise of the vaccum, so we made a game of it. While we vaccum,he runs around & when he gets close to the vaccum, we “chase” him. He loves it. He loves doing all the chores. He even likes to dust & sweep. Each chore teaches them something weither its counting, hand eye cordination or colors. But thhe most important thing is they CAN take care of themselves & be independant.

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Leah June 28, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Feed the dog! But parents need to make sure there is follow through. Of course at my house if doggy doesn’t get fed he drags the bowl across the house VERY LOUDLY!

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Leah June 28, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Oh, and they love to put laundry in the dryer after I pull it out of the washer and empty the lint trap. They actually fuss over who is removing the lint. My little girl will reach in and get out the tiny clothes that I practically have to get on my knees to reach.

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Lea July 6, 2012 at 6:29 am

One of my three year old’s daily shores is to put away all the clean silverware from out of the dishwasher. (I put away all the sharp things first) :)

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Bethany Stewart July 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm

When toys are scaddered all over the living room or kitchen I will set an empty
Laundry basket in the middle of the room sand tell my two
Year old to fill it up with all her toys. She feels so accomplished with thus chore and is much mire successful then trying to make multiple trips to and from her room with many distractions along the way. Once the basket is full she finds grat pleasure ind pushing it down the hallway to her room where she then empties the basket.

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Laura July 8, 2012 at 9:10 pm

My son is 17 mos., and he already loves to “help”. :) Likes to put the plug in the bathroom sink, and throw the washcloth in at diaper changes, gets his potty seat out & puts it on the flush, sometimes helps pick up toys & books, puts little things in the garbage, puts clothes in his hamper. :)

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Janelle July 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm

My 18 mo – 3yr olds put silverware away from the dishwasher – great math sorting activity (after I remove sharp objects). Also, they will carry clothes & other folded laundry to the room that I send them to.

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Valentina August 2, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I am a nanny, and I have been watching the same little girl since she was one and a half… she is four and a half now, but some things she does not mind doing are cleaning her own toys; putting dirty clothes in the laundry; putting socks, undies, panty covers away; she also makes her bed if I help her straightening her big blanket. She LOVES to help in the kitchen, her favorite is cracking eggs. :) She is also good at cleaning up after herself after meals, and wiping the table!

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Michelle August 7, 2012 at 9:03 am

I have a 3 year old and 5 month old…and in the last 7 months my 3 year old daughter has had to help with chores. The end of my pregnancy was tough plus adjusting to the new little one was tough. Since my son’s birth, my daughter has been an amazing help around the house. Most recently, she put her own laundry away.

It kind of started as an inspired thought when she moved into her “big girl room” at 18 months. Instead of a dresser (that would be expensive), I bought plastic storage drawers (like you find on sale for dorm rooms) and put them in the bottom of her closet. I printed up little pictures of clothing, with their names (like skirts, pants, pajamas) and then velcro’d them onto the front of the drawers. So the other day I had all her clothes folded, in the nursery. I put away the baby’s clothes and she took each pile of her clothes and put them in the correct drawer in her room across the hall. She felt accomplished, and I got more time to play!

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Megan August 12, 2012 at 8:30 pm

If you’ve got little boys, keep a box of baby wipes near the toilet and ask the sons to help clean up after themselves when they miss/spray/dribble during pottytime. We have white tile and a white toilet so the tiny yellow puddles are easy to see. As long as you supervise and everyone washes their hands, it helps mom feel a bit less Cinderalla-ish when it’s time to clean the bathrooms. The boys’ future wives will be grateful. Right up there with making it a habit to close the lid, flush, and make sure to replace the tissues. (yes, girls can help with this too, they are usually just neater about urine to begin with)

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Leslie September 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I let my 5yr(she started about 3)Stand on a sturdy chair beside me at the sink, I was the dish she rinses and puts in the drainer…. We get finished pretty quickly.
I also let her stand in the chair and wipe the counters off while I prepare to mop. When she is done wipeing the counters, we sweep(I bought her one of those kids kits with mops/brooms..etc) and then I mop the floor.
She picks up all her stuff and the babys stuff out of the living room while I get everything else out………She pretty much helps me in every room, she loves to help and she is always so proud to see the house clean knowing she helped make it that way. It also makes her more consciencous about making messes— she knows shes gonna have to clean it up.

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kathryn September 19, 2012 at 12:54 am

i have 2 smaller girls ages 4 and 6 and i broke down the chores to one has pick up all the toys and clothes and the other has pick up all the trash and shoes and that has seemed to work for me cause after those four things whats left lol

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Baba Jo December 1, 2012 at 1:38 am

My Grandaughter loves, loves, loves helping! She helps pick raspberries, mush them up for jam, and wash dishes. She also loves tucking pairs of socks together. I used to pay her Dad a ‘penny a pair’ for sorting socks. He laughs about that now. She helps me cook, make chocolates and set the table. She is only three, but she has two amazing sayings that she made up: “I am a farm girl, and I’m learning everything!’, and ‘Let’s get up and get cookin!’ Our time together is a treasure forever.

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momoftwo December 12, 2012 at 1:20 am

Hi,
I enjoyed reading your post. I have my daughter doing the same things. I also have two kids the same ages. My daughter is 3 and my son is 2. They defiantly keep you busy. Only other thing I can think of is fill a sqirt bottle with just water and let the kids water any house plants. Warning they get easily side tracked and start squirting other things (or chasing my cat). But it’s just water so I don’t worry about it too much as long as no one goes sliding across the floor.

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Liz January 6, 2013 at 11:45 pm

My 2-1/2 year old twins have the following chores:

Put away their dirty cloths
Pick up all their toys and books, especially before bed.
Put away their dirty dishes
Throw away their trash
Wipe their table
They also sometimes help with the dishes, quite messy with two boys but their learning

When we come home they have to undress themselves, put their shoes away and put on their undies (i’m in the process of potty training).

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Shannon February 14, 2013 at 5:35 pm

We put music on and dance and clean and we also do things in order kitchen, dishes, counter etc and in the playroom, books, stuffed animals, cars, and so on in each room that way when I tell them to pick up a certain room they do it in that order ( it doesn’t seem like a room is so overwhelming that way) and try to beat cleaning the room to whatever song is playing

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Becky March 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I have my 3 yr old fold his own underwear (not that I really care if it is folded, but it helps him practice his folding so we can move on to t-shirts and pants!) and clean his bathroom. He also likes using the swiffer wet jet in the kitchen when someone spills!

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Christina July 24, 2013 at 8:11 pm

I have my daughter who is 4 match socks and ball them up. It’s a two for one she’s helping and learning matching. Both my son 5 years old and my daughter put their clothes away (sometimes) however I must warn you they do not stay folded quite right.

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