My Children Love to Help

Evan & Jasmine, the Industrious Dishwashers
Evan & Jasmine, the Industrious Dishwashers

I’ve got two kids, an 18 month-old son and a 2 1/2 year-old daughter, and I wanted to give you a little story about the value of allowing kids to help out around the house, and in the family.

When my daughter was around a year old,  my husband started asking her to help unload the dishwasher at night.  Frankly, this initially had me petrified,  as seeing my baby standing on the counter putting dishes away looked like total disaster waiting to happen.   However, he always reassured me that it was good for her to help and he would make sure everything was safe. So I reluctantly allowed this to become a habit.

The interesting thing is that I would notice a night and day difference in how happy she was, when he let her help him. If she was upset about something or acting all demanding towards us, as SOON as she would start the dishes, she would instantly become intensely interested, her attention would not be on herself anymore, but on her environment, and she would become enthusiastic about doing things. It was so obvious that it had this positive effect on her, that it later on became our go-to move with her, if she got into a bad mood.   I would just ask them to do the dishes or something else around the house, and it has always worked as an immediate cure.

I had always known that contribution was necessary in people and applied it a lot with adults or teenagers before. With babies & toddlers I admit it can be hard to put into action at first, because you feel they are going to just make more of a mess or it will take longer than you just doing it quickly yourself, etc.  But it’s so worth it.  

I think it’s good practice for them, but the most important part is that they feel they are helping and are productive. They also eventually become honestly good at certain tasks and it does end up helping you (not “helping” you).   It makes the house a happier place.

It’s amazing to see how accomplished a one year old looks when they “sweep” a pile of dirt around making half of it into the dustpan. It is so worth it to have them try to help. It makes them feel like they are a contributing family member and happy to be there and make their parent “proud”.

Happy Hugs

My 2 1/2 year old now LOVES it when I ask her to help clean up the house and we play a game of putting things in the house away while she says over and over, “Mommy, I’m helping clean up”. And at the same time, she is doing a great job, truly helping!


2 thoughts on “My Children Love to Help

  1. This is so lovely 😀 Such gorgeous children and they look like they’re doing great with the helping 😀

    We saw this too with our nephew, from such a young age, the helping to unload the dishwasher was his first favourite job by far.

    And I guess around 1 yrs old, he would be helped to stand in the top drawer in the kitchen and then go ahead and prepare breakfast (eggs usually) for his grandma.

    I remember when they moved house when he was about 1&1/2 and he was genuinely helpful and useful in packing a box up and LOVED helping me (and he truly wanted to be out in the rest of the house with the rest of the guys (his dad and uncle) moving all the massive furniture – so it was a good job I could get him to help me or he would have been very frustrated).

    Now he’s over 2 yrs old, he’s getting good at helping with baking for the Friday night big family dinner.

    And if he ever gets in to things that I need him to not do – like pull all the books out of the cupboard in the middle of a big social function at the family’s house – he responds wonderfully to me asking him to help me put all the books back and close the door – which works so much more nicely than me just giving him a hard time about pulling them out (which he knows he’s not really supposed to do).

    I also see friends and relatives kids that start with ‘helping’ but as you say, become really good at it in the end.

    I was raised the same way and I definitely recall my mother and I laughing in my teenage years that it was hard for me to find anything to rebel against and on the whole I had a reasonably ‘trouble free’ time (not that I was an angel by any means, but no major trouble :D!).

    So it’s definitely workable and so worth it 😀

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