I’m writing an entry on this subject as it is very important on the homemaking front. Involve your children in your tasks… they’re never too young to start!
It’s hard work at first, as you train them and have them work next to you. But the payoff is big… both for them and for yourself. As they get older and truly contribute to keeping the house running, it lifts so many tasks off of the homemaker and avails her to attend to other needed areas in the home. Additionally, it squashes any ‘martyr’ mentality that may be lurking in her.
And for the child, it is the groundwork for establishing a work mentality. They understand what is needed to keep a home well run. They grow a sense of pride when the house is cleaner because of their contribution. And it helps them realize the purposefulness of productive work (not busy work).
It definitely takes time to train them on the tasks. Be patient, be considerate of what you assign them, and do not expect perfection. The goal is not to frustrate the child with a task that is too complicated or physically demanding… it is to instill diligence and a sense of contribution. These are attributes they will need as they enter adulthood, the workplace, the mission field, etc.
And don’t forget to give lots of praise and recognition for a job well done.
So what are some of the things you can have them do? Here’s a list of ideas to get you started (which is in no way exhaustive - feel free to give suggestions on other ideas!):
Empty trash bins into main kitchen bin
Sweep/vacuum high traffic areas, or an assigned room
Sweep off front porch
Spray and wipe down windows with ‘vinegar and water’ spray (50/50 ratio water/vinegar ratio)
Clean off baseboards (can be done with socks over their hands, or a lambswool/swiffer duster)
Roll out/pick up trash bins on trash pick-up day.
Help with caring for the pets – feeding, making sure water bowl is full
Help sort out the laundry into wash piles (takes a little more training than others as many items can be confusing.)
Fold/hang clean laundry, or help distribute clean laundry back to owner
Sort out whites/socks (fun for younger children)
Sponge out bathroom sinks, with a little baking soda as the cleaner
Wipe down mirrors with vinegar/water spray and a hand towel
Wipe down counter
Clean off surfaces of toilet with cleaning wipes and swish toilet brush around the inside of toilet
Scrub the tub (more appropriate for older children)
Help set table
Pour drinks for meal
Help clear table after meal
Wash dishes or help load dishwasher
Help unload clean dishes from dishwasher – Unloading and sorting the silverware is perfect for little ones. (Obviously be cautious about removing any sharp knives first.)
Help with any meal prep activities (kids love this!)
Help unload the bags of groceries from car
Straighten every day
Make bed every day (do not expect perfection… if you have a 5 year old making his/her bed, it will look like a 5 year old made it and that is ok! Resist the urge to re-do it.)
Help on “sheet changing day”
Be in habit of donating toys, books, and games no longer being used
Sweeping off patios, sidewalks, entryways
Water flower beds