One of the things I always remember from my childhood was the jobs or chores I did to help my parents or Grandparents. I admit, as I got older I hated having to tidy my room, who didn’t BUT I truly believe that being asked to help with jobs around the house taught me some important life lessons. Namely, there isn’t a magic fairy who tidies up after you/loads the dishwasher/cleans the car etc.
If anyone finds that fairy, please let me know.
I have been keen to try and get the girls helping me from an early age. Don’t worry they’re not cleaning the whole house for me, IF ONLY, but encouraging them to tidy up their toys, for example, is something they can do from a young age and is something I think is really important.
I thought I would list the ways I encourage my children to help me and the approximate ages they have done this from. As with everything, every child is different and some might want to do things earlier and others later so use this as a broad guide.
Easy Ways To Get Your Children To Help In The House
1) The tidy up game
The best game, I have found to encourage little ones to help and with a much-needed job is tidying up their toys. I have two rules (which often get broken), the first is to tidy away toys before another one comes out and at different points of the day having ‘tidy time’. We have a little song set to ‘jingle bells’ we sing which seems to make it fun. If you want to try the words are ‘tidy up, tidy up, tidy up the room, oh what fun to help my mum and tidy up the room’ – the girls love singing it even if everything doesn’t always make it to the toy box.
Gemma who blogs at Gemma Louise said ‘I make tidying up a game with my one-year-old and he loves filling his toy tub up with all of his toys which is a massive help to me as our living room is covered in toys all day every day! He also loves putting washing in the machine so whilst he doesn’t do real chores at such a young age he’s starting to learn how to help do things’
2) Watering the flowers, or patio
Watering flowers in the garden is a great way to get little ones to help and also have fun, which one or two-year-old do you know that doesn’t like water?! I can’t guarantee that your plants will get a good water (the patio usually does), but it’s a good way to start them helping outside.
3) Getting the washing done
Julie at Pondering Parenthood said ‘My daughter has only just turned two, but she enjoys putting the washing into the laundry basket and washing machine. She loves saying, “needs a wash!” and putting whatever it is, where it needs to go. I also encourage her to put away her own toys and she likes to wipe her own hands and the table at the end of a meal. Although admittedly I have to wipe her again properly afterwards! I think tidying up after herself is a good habit to get into, much like saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.’
Age 2-3 (the above plus)
1) Washing time
My two love the washing machine and tumble drier, I have no idea why but they love it. So to capitalise on the love for these appliances I often ask them to put the clothes in the washing machine and also take them out/load to tumble drier. I try to do a wash every day so this is one they always like to help me with.
2) The bedroom
Amelie who is three now makes her bed and it’s so sweet to watch. She lays out her favourite teddy’s and put pillows on the bed. The problem we have is that her sister loves her teepee bed and always undo’s most of the hard work but it’s good to get her into the habit.
3) Books back on the shelf
We have a LOT of books in this house, so whenever they come out I always ask for them to go back where they came from.
4) Helping set the table
I have specific cupboards and drawers for the girl’s plates, cups and cutlery which are low down so they can start taking their plates etc to the table or ask me for a drink. They love helping in the kitchen so this is a great one for them. I’ve noticed our one-year-old starting to copy her older sister by getting her plate out, so you could try this from a younger age.
5) Helping in the kitchen
I spend a lot of time in the kitchen so it’s great when the girls want to help me as I don’t feel so guilty for being there. They love helping to unload the dishwasher, our three-year-old now helps to put her plate in and they also have their own play dustpan and brushes.
I have started to encourage our eldest (three) to make her own cereal which often causes a bit of cleaning up, but she loves the responsibility.
Sophie who blogs at Life as Mrs D said ‘Isla (2) got a cleaning set for her birthday, so when I do the cleaning she helps me too.’ and Kate who blogs LesbeMums at said ‘T does loads. From taking the recycling out to helping me chop up veggies for dinner (as well as cook them!). He loves loading and emptying the washing machine, too. Having him help me makes me feel less guilty when I have to do chores and can’t play.’
7) Around the house
Hayley who blogs at Devon Mama said ‘My son helps feed the dog and we ‘race’ to do the tidying up of his toys. He’s also a big fan of putting nappies in the bin, he thinks it’s brilliant! He’s two, it’ll change!’
Hannah at Little Snippets said ‘I always ask my daughter (2) to help me put away her bath toys at the end of her bath and to do little things like our bricks back in the box. I think starting young is key because she thinks it’s all a fun game at this age rather than a chore.’
Age 4-5 (the above plus)
1) Clean clothes
Our eldest is coming up to four so I am starting to show her how to fold so she can put her clothes away. I’ve started with simple things like underwear and vests, but as she gets older I’ll show her how to fold PE kit for example.
2) Help make and pack lunch
If your little ones love being in the kitchen as mine do once they’re a little older they can start to help you by making their packed lunch. You could show them everything that needs to go in and then let them have a go. This will encourage independence and if their fussy eaters might help encourage them to try new things if they have made them/packed them.
The girls love it when our online shopping order arrives. At the moment they can carry some of the bits into the kitchen but can’t really help to put it away but as they get older I’ll start showing them where things go so they can help me to put it away.
4) Cleaning the house
My two already like to help with their toy dustpan and brushes but as they get older they can help by sweeping the floors and starting to help with the hoover.
Caroline who blogs at Mrs Magovern said ‘I have three girls under 7 (5,2 and 10mths) and whilst they don’t have specific jobs the older two always help when I’ve left the wipes or nappies or a dummy upstairs and I’m downstairs with the baby. They’re effectively another pair of legs for me!’
Emily who blogs at Babies and Beauty said ‘Noah (4.5y) always has to make his bed in the morning, his clothes must always go in the wash basket too. He has small chores around the house like carrying the shopping into the house (with us) helping mow the grass etc. I think it’s important to have it instilled from a young age that they should help out. ‘
Do you ask your little ones to help around the house? What do they do?