A Little Helper

Violet is at the age now when she:
  • likes to make a mess (she dumps things out just for the sake of, well, dumping!)
  • is understanding a lot of what we say
  • loves to show off her new skills.
  • likes to stack, put things together, and put things into containers
All of these things combined, I've decided that she is at the perfect age to LEARN TO CLEAN UP AFTER HERSELF.

When she throws all of the pieces to her puzzle on the floor, we pick them up and *try* to put them back where they belong. If she dumps out her Legos, we put them back in the bin when she's finished playing with them. And just the other day:

She wanted to use the vacuum. And actually used it quite well. Let me tell you, this girl is earning her keep. (Okay, well, sort of).

I think this is an important skill to teach her now before she decides that she is too cool for cleaning up like, oh, say, in six more months. Does it take a lot of patience? Yes. Can it be very frustrating? Yes. It is going to be totally worth it in the long run? Oh I hope so!

When did you start teaching your kids to pitch in around the house? I'd love to hear your thoughts and advice.


  1. Long time reader, first time commenter...
    I started having my son "clean up" as soon as he was able to generally aim toys in the direction of the storage baskets (I'd guess around the 1-year mark). At first I was doing most of the work, but once his motor skills improved he was able to put everything away himself. He's 3.5 now, and so far we've never had a serious "put your toys away!" battle even during the height of the terrible twos. In fact, a month ago we were at the bookstore and I caught him putting away all the books other kids had left on the floor. He also is in charge of putting soap in the dishwasher and hitting the start button, putting placemats and napkins on the table, and sorting his clothes by color.
    I suppose my general philosophy is "learn 'em young." It just seems logical that if they always know they have responsibilities than it won't ever come as a shock when they have chores around the house. Plus when they're toddlers they actually want to help and contribute - win/win!

  2. My almost 12 month old has been standing by the dishwasher and 'helps' me by taking things out of the silverware caddy. It's gotten the point when she comes crawling everytime she hears the dishwasher open. It is one of her favorite things to do and I'm going to take a pointer from the previous post and let her put the soap in/push the start button. Great idea!

  3. My girls were devious and when I asked them to clean up their toy room, they would play, push things to the side to make it look like they did something and then ask if they had done enough. Now me being the big softy that I am would look at their effort and say, yes you did a great job...then I would clean up.
    Guess I didn't start them early enough!

    You know who you are. :)


  4. Violet....can you come to Grammy's house and do that?

    Love you


  5. Haha...what horrible little rugrats they must've been ;)

  6. Violet loves to 'help' with the dishwasher as well. The problem is she likes to shut it at random times and pushing the buttons is her favorite (whether it's time to start the dishwasher up or not). Plus there's the pesky issue of glass and sharp knives. I try to let her help as much as possible though so in a few more years when she can actually help she'll still want to? Maybe? I hope!

  7. This sounds like just the route we'd like to take. Thanks for all of the great tips!

  8. the knives are a problem! I take them out before she can get to them :)



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