Can't Beat 'Em, Let 'Em Join. 5 Ways To Get Your Child To Help Around The House.

Some weekends, I have a higher likelihood of winning the lottery, than getting anything done around the house with a toddler in tow. Invariably one of three things will happen:

1. The minute I turn my back on my toddler, his built-in homing beacon for finding danger and trouble goes on high alert.
2. He follows behind undoing everything I've done. It was clean/fixed... three seconds ago.
3. He does everything short of handstands and flips to get my attention focused back on him.

Being that we just moved into our new fixer-upper house, and have a very long "To-Do" list, productive weekends are key. Each weekend, FTD and I talk about what we want to accomplish, and how the other can help, or look after Ollie. We learned early on that keeping our toddler happy and occupied, and getting work done, takes a very delicate balance. Most times one of us does something while the other looks after Ollie.

Frustrated that this method makes us half as productive each weekend as we need to be, I adopted the mindset of, "Cant beat 'em, Let 'em join you! When I looked at my list and realized some of the things Ollie could, not only "help" me with, he would like to do it too!  I started letting Ollie help me tackle my to-do list.

Here are five ways I tricked got my Toddler excited about helping around the house...

 1. Laundry. Ollie loves to help me do laundry. I've even created a fun learning game when sorting the clothes to keep him focused and engaged. First, I have Ollie help me sort the clothes. I ask him what the garment is and the color of it. If he gets it right, he gets the honor of throwing the garment in it's respective pile. Then I let him load the washing machine, while we count each thing as he throws it in.   
2. Preparing Snacks.  Ollie LOVES to help in the kitchen.  He is constantly trying to climb on counters, stir, chop, wash... he doesn't care, if it's going on in the kitchen, he wants in. I try to keep a wide variety of healthy snacks ready to go, so I don't resort to handfuls of goldfish and apple sauce pouches.  I will let Ollie pick the grapes off the vine and put them in the colander to wash and help me blend up the fruit and yogurt for his popsicles and put the lids on the filled popsicle molds.  

 3. Yard Work.  My boy loves to dig in the dirt. He has a small collection of bulldozers and shovels that he plays in the yard with. Thankfully, he's pretty lame at actually digging a hole, so I don't have to worry about massive toddler craters  taking over my yard. When I need to work in the yard,  I set him up close to where I am going to be working and let him dig away next to me. And when I need something raked, or help putting branches in the waste bags, he is always happy to help. Sometimes he really does help too! 
4. The Floors.  I have wall to wall hardwood in my house. Wall. To. Wall. That's a lot of dust-mopping and regular mopping. Ain't nobody got time for that! Well, a toddler does... I love my Swiffer dust mop. I attach the little magic dry mop duster cloth, and send him on his way. He happily pushes the dust mop around the house.  Of course, because he is a toddler with the attention span of a rock,   he only half does it and for only a few minutes, but if I leave out the dust mom he picks it up a few times a day, so in the end, it's helpful.  
5. Picking up and putting things away. Call it lazy--because it kind of is-- but I try to get Ollie to help get things for me and/or put them away every chance I get.  He gets so excited when he finds something and brings it to me. I'm still working on getting him excited about putting things away.                                                                                                              

I've realized that my kid genuinely loves to help me with all sorts of things. Yes, it takes twice as long and can get messy... but he gets so excited when he thinks he is being helpful, and thankfully, in a way, he's actually is..

How do you get your child involved?

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit