With three little kids, a nearly full-time job and a Big Hairy Dog, I need some serious help around my house.
On the days or weeks when I’m staying up on the laundry load – the kitchen is piled with dishes – and someone needs to get to the grocery store.
On the days or weeks when I’m staying on top of the kitchen and food situation – the laundry baskets are overflowing and my daughter is announcing to everyone in the grocery store that she didn’t change her underwear that morning.
Did I mention that I could use some help?
Luckily, after scouring Pinterest and interviewing several of my friends who have similarly aged kids (mine are 3, 5 and 6) – I’ve found a few cleaning shortcuts that my kids can help with.
They’re not able to make me dinner or do the grocery shopping with me, but there are several tasks that they’re able to do for me that make a huge difference in our daily lives.
Five Simple Chores for Kids – That Actually Help!
Clean the Shower
Our showers are some of the last places to get clean in the house – primarily because visitors aren’t using them, and I can pull the curtain closed.
Pinterest to the rescue – I keep a kitchen scrub brush in each shower – filled with dish soap and a little bit of vinegar.
When the kids take showers (which is pretty much every night), they spend their time scrubbing the walls. They’re clean – and my showers are too!
My neighbor clued me into this little tip. Each kid gets a laundry basket in their room. When it’s full of dirty clothes, it’s their responsibility to take it to the washing machine and wash their own clothes.
I walked each of them through it the first few times, and now they an fly solo. I used a dry-erase marker to draw arrows and numbers on the machine to help them remember what settings to choose.
And the 6-year-old helps the 3-year-old with his load of laundry.
And here’s the secret tip that makes it all possible: we use the laundry pods – the ones that the kids can just toss in the machine.
I don’t have to worry about laundry powder overflowing in my machine – and the kids always know they have the right amount of detergent.
So now at least the kids have clean underwear – even if I don’t.
Scrub the Floors
I know – this sounds like a nightmare of giving my kids a bucket of soapy water and spending the next several hours of my life trying to de-suds my house.
But we got an iRobot Scooba 450 – and it’s the greatest thing on earth. This little machine does a quick sweep of my hard floors, then it pre-soaks them, scrubs them and squeegees them. All by itself.
And it removes stuck-on messes.
I’m not even kidding.
My older two kids think it’s pretty much the coolest thing on the face of the earth. They know exactly how to use it (because it’s so simple), and now they beg me most mornings to please scrub the kitchen floor or the bathroom floor or the entryway.
And I have no problem with that. Obviously.
They can get everything set up themselves, my floors are squeaky clean – and my 3-year-old loves to watch the iRobot clean, which means I can focus on Facebook for awhile (or folding laundry).
My 5 and 6-year-olds have been unloading the dishwasher for me since they were four. At first, I was very hesitant to turn this task over to them. They can’t reach where most of our dishes go. They’re desperately slow. I thought it would be more of a pain than a help.
But luckily another friend of mine clued me in. If they know where something goes, and they can reach it, then it gets put away (including silverware). Anything they can’t reach gets stacked on the counter.
I leave the kitchen while they’re unloading the dishwasher so I’m not tempted to step in and take over for them.
And can I just say how much easier it is to put dishes away when they’re already clean and stacked on the counter for you? Seriously – it’s a huge help to have the kids unloading the dishwasher – even if they can’t put every single dish in the cupboard.
Make Snacks and Water Bottles
Do you feel like you spend your entire days in the kitchen because someone is always hungry or thirsty?
Until I showed the 5 and 6-year-olds how to make a few simple snacks. Like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, oatmeal, pretzels and peanut butter, etc.
Now – one of them is in charge of making up the water bottles for the day first thing in the morning.
And they’re all responsible for their own snacks all day long. They have to ask first, but then they’re in charge of making them, eating them and cleaning up after them.
Oh – and the older two have to help the 3-year-old.
The kids love it – and I feel like I’m spending way less time in the kitchen – which makes me so much happier.
Looking for some more cleaning tips? Pin these!
I received an iRobot Scooba 450 to try out.