As moms we’re good at taking full responsibility for everything—ourselves, our children, our spouse, our home…everything. I know I find myself feeling overwhelmed at times because I have 5 million things that I think I need to do.
When I get to this point, I often realize that I’m the one putting all of that on me. I’m not asking for help when I need it. I’m not giving myself any grace. I’m not expecting my family to do things for themselves.
And I’m suffering because of it.
I won’t lie and say that I never feel overwhelmed anymore or that I don’t still mom guilt myself and when I try—and fail—to do everything. However, I’m making a conscious effort to not hold myself responsible for everybody’s everything. I’m working on remembering that my family has responsibilities, too, and needs to be held accountable. It’s helped tremendously.
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I know we moms want to do everything for our children, and sometimes we even feel guilty for expecting them to do things. Or remember that sadness—and pride—you felt and still feel with every shred of independence they acquire?
Well, eventually our precious little angels will need to be self sufficient adults. I, for one, do not want to do my 25 year-old’s laundry or grocery shopping.
Children can start doing chores and helping out right around the time they start walking. Starting them young makes it the norm, instead of surprise! you’re thirteen and now I expect you to do all these things I never taught you to do.
When our kids are younger, they even enjoy chores. Part of this is because they get to be involved with something you’re doing. So, no, you probably won’t be able to expect your toddler or preschooler to handle most chores on their own. And, no, it might be as fast as if you just do it yourself. However, those days will come.
Lay the foundation. Include even our youngest kids. Let them know they’re needed and an important part of the family unit, too. Everyone can contribute and feel proud! Show your appreciation, thanks, and pride. Your toddlers will appreciate it.
1. DishesToddlers can help with dishes, but be warned that they really enjoy playing in the water, if you’re a dishwasher-less house, like mine.
- Load/unload dishwasher
- Put away dishes
- Help with rinsing dishes
- Sorting dishes
2. LaundryMy two year-old loves helping with laundry almost as much as much as she likes playing in the dryer. Thanks to his early involvement in laundry, my 10 year-old can do the whole laundry routine without me and has been able to for a few years now.
- Help empty dryer
- Help load washer
- Help transfer clothes from washer to dryer
- Close lids/doors of appliances
- Pour laundry detergent in
- Push buttons to start laundry
3. Feeding PetsFeeding our pets is pretty much the full responsibilty of the kids at my house, with some prompts from mom and dad, occasionally.
- Pinch of food for fish
- Scoop dog/cat food into bowl
- Feed treats to dog
4. Training PetsIf you don’t mind your dog responding to commands from your children, they love being involved in dog training and reinforcement.
- Helps give commands
- Helps give rewards/treats when dog follows commands
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5. Clean Their RoomThis is one of the earliest tasks kids can easily be involved in, and I think it’s really important for them to take care of their own things/space.
- Pick up their toys
- Put their laundry in hamper
- Throw away dirty disposable diapers
6. Wipe Up SpillsI fully encourage and insist that my kids, including my 2 year-old, clean up after themselves.
- Wipe up spilled liquids
- Pick up dropped food
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7. Set and/or Clear the TableIf you’re a family who sets the table, you can get your kids involved in that and after dinner clean up, too.
- Help set table
- Clear dirty dishes from table
- Put own dishes in sink/dishwasher
- Throw away disposable plates/cups
- Dispose of uneaten food
8. Hand VacuumI know some kids are afraid of vacuums but mine love to vacuum and a hand/mini vacuum is the perfect size for children!
- Vacuum furniture
- Vacuum crumbs off the floor
- Vacuum staircase
9. Water PlantsMaybe your kids will have a green thumb.
10. Help Bring In/Put Away GroceriesDepending on their size, age, and maturity, your toddler can help with various grocery tasks.
- Put away groceries
- Help carry in lighter groceries