Mythbuster Monday: “My Kids Are Too Little to Do Chores”

by Kristen King

We have a few hard and fast rules in our house:

  1. No hitting or hair-pulling.
  2. Be nice to the dogs.
  3. If it takes more than 5 minutes for an adult or 20 minutes for the kids to pick up the family room, the kids have too many toys.

My house looks like a disaster are most of the times the kids are awake. They generally outnumber their caregivers, there of two of them, and any time they play with the same toy, they fight over it. Hence, toys everywhere. No judgment here if your play area is a train wreck.

But before nap and at the end of each day, we ask the kids to clean up their stuff, and we help them until it gets done. They will be 22 months old tomorrow, and we’ve been doing this for about 10 months.

Sometimes the “help” takes the form of us pickup up an item and sending them to the toy box with it:

“Go put your horsie in the bin.”

Sometimes it’s requesting that they bring us an item and then WE put it in away:

“Go get the blue ball and bring it to Mommy.”

And sometimes, we literally pick up the kids, take them to a toy, have them grab it, and then carry the toy-holding child to the toy bin/box to drop it in. That last one is the most tiring, but it still gets the job done.

Each day they must put their pillows, blankets, and lovies back in their cribs if they’ve been thrown out; put their dirty clothes in a pile and then take them to the laundry room and throw them over the gate; put their empty or finished cups, plates, bowls, etc., on the counter when done; and put their shoes away. They also thoroughly enjoy helping me sort laundry, push the vacuum, and put things in the trash can.

I also ask them to do things like help me wipe their table off after snack or coloring, washing windows, etc. They pretty much completely suck at it, but they are SO proud for being my special helpers that it doesn’t even matter. They feel important, it keeps them occupied so I can accomplish things, and it’s helping them to develop a sense of pride in making their home nice.

Once they turn 2, in December, we will officially start using The Happy Housewife’s Age-Appropriate Chores for Kids printable list in the form of a picture-based sticker chore chart. In the meantime, this less structured system of consistently picking up after themselves and “helping Mommy” is working really well.

How old are your kids and what chores do they do?

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Kristen King (aka, Mommy-in-Training) is a red-headed, glasses-wearing, wine-drinking, perpetually undercaffeinated twin mom who lives at 10,200 feet in Leadville Colorado, and founder of She and her husband, Jesse (aka, Daddy-in-Training) have fraternal boys born in December 2011, two dogs, and two cats. They are both endurance athletes. She works full-time from home in virtual training, and he drives the local school bus. Learn more and meet the rest of the team on our About page.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Princess Mommy October 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Yes! Seriously. My kids always have to pick up their own toys. They love being helpful.
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