The other day, Vance saw me cleaning and asked to help. This is not something that is completely unusual, although it still caught me off guard. Of course I wanted help, so I was more than willing to come up with some ideas for him. This got me to thinking that he is at an age in which helping around the house can be fun and actually HELPFUL.
When he was 2 and I gave him a duster to run around the house with, I still had to go back and dust everything. But now, NOW he can actually reach things and does a good job focusing on tasks. I know some of you other parents out there might like to have the same little hands help you in your chores, so here I bring you Part 1 of the Tiny Helpers To-Do List. It is a thoughtful list of chores that are age appropriate, not too messy, and a great way to teach kids how to help around the house.
*Just as a sidenote, it is kind of necessary to use completely chemical free cleaners when you are asking little ones to be in charge of spraying, wiping, etc. I have some recipes below to help you green your house and make cleaning very safe for your tiny helpers.
Spray and Wipe
Make a multipurpose cleaning solution using 3 parts water and 1 part white vinegar. Pour it into an old spray bottle and voila! White vinegar is a great disinfectant but is also safe for little ones. Even if ingested it can just cause a stomach upset. Sometimes, we put a few drops of essential oil in ours or 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice. Make sure you label the bottle so that you remember what is inside.
This solution works great on our dining room tables, kitchen counters, bathroom counters, pretty much anywhere that gets greasy, grimy, or sticky (my entire house most days). Have your tiny helper spray and wipe down surfaces with a soft cloth or paper towel. You can even use it on the floor if you want them to clean up their own messes and spills.
Foaming Soap Fun
We like to make our own hand soap using old foaming soap bottles. You know what I am talking about, right? The soap that comes out as foam and is oh so much fun for little ones (and the adults in their lives) to squish between their hands? You can keep these dispensers when the store bought stuff runs out and make your own for a fraction of the cost.
Use one part Castille soap (we use Dr. Bronners) and 2 parts water. Then add in about 1/8 teaspoon of your favorite essential oil to give it a nice scent. Vance loved dropping in the oil and smelling his concoction. He also measured and poured all of the soap and water because, hey if they spill at least they are just spilling a little soap!
Dust bunny wrangling
This is an easy one. Give your kid the vacuum hose attachment and watch the magic happen. Is there anything truly as satisfying as vacuuming up a huge pile of sand or a bunch of dust balls under the couch? To us adults, maybe there are better things in life, but to a kid this is fun!
Little hands like to fold little things. I leave the wash cloths, dish towels, hand towels, etc. for Vance to fold. He is slowly working his way up to doing his own clothes as well. It is good practice and the earlier you start teaching children to take care of their things, the less likely you will run into problems later on….or so I tell myself.
That is all for now but I will do another post with more ideas for anyone looking to get some help around the house, even if it comes in the form of a 4 year old.