Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Putting the Kids to Work!

I'm a stay-at-home-mom, and because I'm a SAHM I often fall into the trap of feeling sorry for myself and the mountain of housework I do everyday. The problem isn't even so much the amount I do, but that the kids go behind me and un-do all the work. After all, cleaning my house while the kids are small is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.

But then I realized that I was doing it wrong. I wasn't using all the natural resources I have in my home. What natural resources, you ask? My children! Children are, after all, our nation's most precious resource. So I'm learning to delegate.

For example, you don't have to be big to help around the house. My two year old is a fantastic picker-upper. Toddlers can easily handle throwing their toys into a basket, and all they need as a reward is lots of cheering and hand clapping.

They're also great at throwing things into the garbage....scraps of food, wrappers, cell phones, etc. Careful with this one!

Kids love to help in the kitchen. Depending on the age and maturity of your kids, you can show them how to peel veggies (with a peeler). If you trust your kid to be responsible, you can even show them how to use a paring knife. Obviously, some kids are ready for this and some aren't. If your 5 year old can't sit still and has a habit of waving his hands when he talks, then cutting veggies isn't the chore for him. In Maddie's case, she can handle that. Eva, not so much. Graedy, definetly NOT!!


If they aren't quite to the peeling and cutting chore, they will definetly enjoy stirring and cleaning up icing bowls.

Kids love this next chore. All you need is a sock and non-breakable items. Show them how to run your socked hand over tabletops, windowsills, TV screens and you'll have the dusting done in no time. You might have to do the higher furniture and photo frames but it keeps them busy and they'll gradually get taller.

I showed Maddie (almost 6) how to do laundry. She loves it! It's a multi-step chore, but fairly simple. The first step is explaining that you need to separate the clothes by colour. It helps if you have this kind of gadget:

Then, you show how to load the washer by colour, adjust the settings, pour in the soap and ta-da! Clean clothes! If you have a lot of delicates or dry-clean only clothing, then you'll need to be extra diligent.

Obviously, use your common sense. Some things kids can handle, and some things they can't.

Good kid chores = sock dusting, folding facecloths and towels, watering plants, clearing their spot at the table, feeding the cat, sweeping the deck, etc.

Bad kid chores = stocking the furnace, chopping wood, bathing the baby alone, changing the oil in the car, washing knives, etc.

Chores that need extra help and supervision (and you MUST USE YOUR JUDGEMENT DEPENDING ON THE KID) = cutting soft fruits and veggies, peeling veggies, loading dishwasher, doing dishes (glass, knives, food poisoning, etc), cooking, babysitting, etc.

Good luck and use those resources!

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