Did anyone else just picture the big, purple dinosaur, Barney singing and dancing to the Clean Up Song after reading this title, and now you will probably have it stuck in your head for the rest of the day, over and over as if it’s on repeat? Sorry!
As a mom of 4 kiddos, ages 9, 6, 4, and 17 months, we have a wide range of age appropriate toy bins all over the house. Well, they were once sorted like that. No longer! We also share a lot of space in our home, some of which we prefer to have as “toy free zones”. However, the kids’ belongings and toys seem to magically appear in the family living space rather than those once organized bins or toy room. Please tell me we are NOT alone!
As a stay at home mom, I pick up toys 236 times a day (or at least it seems that way). Are these my toys? No. Do I want/need help? YES. So, I have enlisted my crew to HELP! All ages are involved and each has an important purpose in this character building task.
A.M. chores and P.M. chores made their debut on our family whiteboard calendar! Each child has 1-2 chores to do after their morning and evening routines that are HELPFUL to making those times run more smoothly. Let me share some examples:
4 year-old: tidy up toys, organize entryway
6 year-old: gather and empty trash, clear the table, get toothbrushes and mouthwash ready
9 year-old: wipe down kids bathroom mirror and sink, help with dishes, fill bedroom diffuser.
The kids are not only learning how to do these tasks properly and with care, they also take pride in their work and how they’ve helped the family! Let me tell you, practicing this on the regular has made getting out the door in the mornings much less chaotic. And watch out, because they have even started doing little things for each other. Whoa!
Helpfulness is a game changer!
How will you engage your helpers? What kind of helpers do you want them to be in 5, 10, 20 years from now? How can it become more automatic so we can focus on all the other little things going on in our everyday lives?