My Little Helper

Household chores get harder when you have a toddler, or at least it did in my house. Some things I just put off until she's asleep or out of the house. But tasks that must be done daily, such as the dishes, aren't quite so easy to put off.

For a long time after she started walking, I would set the TV to one of her favorite shows, hoping to be able to just keep an eye on her from the kitchen. No matter what show I put on for her, she never watched it for more than three minutes at a time. She would come out into the kitchen and start trying to pull open cabinets, open the oven or just want to be picked up. I would spend just as much time chasing her from the kitchen as I would scrubbing plates and pots.

My mom said she used to just give us something to do, such as coloring or drawing, that would keep us occupied. I've tried that with my daughter, but she gets bored with it too fast.

My mom said she that when it came to things like dusting, she would give us a rag and let us help.

And that got me thinking: Is there something my daughter can do to help with the dishes? I decided to see if she wanted to put the silverware away. I gave her spoons and forks a few at a time, and she just loved sorting it all out in the drawer for me!

Of course, I can put it all away a lot faster, and I don't want her doing it without me watching over her. But I've found that the promise of getting to do the silverware is good motivation to keep her in the living room while I'm doing the washing, rinsing and other stuff.

Now, whenever she wanders into the kitchen, I say, "Hey, if you want to put the forks and spoons away, go back into the living room so I can get them ready for you." And she does.

It doesn't stop her from wandering in, but it's a lot easier to get her to go back out.

What are your tricks for getting chores done with little ones around?

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