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Cinderella: Kids and Cleaning

Emma’s on a “kind of like…” kick – she’ll comment that a rectangle is “kind of like” a square, or that pink is “kind of like” red. She was watching me clean the house this morning and commented, “Mama, you kind of like Cinderella.” I asked why, and she said: “You always cleaning.”

I wish I could be the Disney version of Cinderella, with cute little mice and birds to help.

I suppose my kids are sort of like little mice and birds. Emma is even starting to be helpful. She gets out her own silverware at mealtime, and carries her dishes to the kitchen counter. She also folds the cloth wipes that go with our cloth diapers. She used to fold them randomly, but now she can fold them perfectly in half. And she is often good about helping to pick up toys.

Emma also “helps” wash dishes and cook dinner. In these two situations, her help is more of a hindrance than an aid, but I figure it is laying a foundation for her truly help as her coordination improves. It’s great fine and gross motor skill practice too :)

How do your toddlers help (or “help”) around the house?

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

7 thoughts on “Cinderella: Kids and Cleaning”

  1. Amanda @ www.kiddio.org

    Oh, I do think that it’s so important to get them helping early. Daisy’s been putting her own dishes in the drawer ever since she was, oh my, 20 months or so! As they’ve gotten older the tasks are more challenging, but I think that their desire to help has been fueled by having tasks to do. Thanks for sharing! Also, I have a post up about the same topic :)http://www.kiddio.org

  2. My 3 1/2 daughter has a small vacuum that she uses on the couch to get all the crumbs. It looks like an elephant and isn’t able to pick up anything too big, so there’s little risk any toys will get sucked up. She also has her own broom and I keep a couple of dollar store dusting mittens for her to use around the apartment. She is responsible for putting her own dirty laundry into her laundry basket. When the laundry is done, she helps me match socks. She also puts her own dishes in the sink, her own garbage in the garbage and helps me take out the garbage and recycling. Keep in mind I’m a single parent, so some of these tasks are part of our routine b/c I can’t leave her alone while I deal with garbage and recycling.

  3. Abby loves to help me dust and sweep, so I bought her her own small broom and a dustpan from Ikea. I give her wet rags to help “clean” the tables and counter. And when we unload the dishwasher, I grab out the silverware holder first, and then I have her hand me one plate/cup at a time (when she was younger, I would take out all the breakables first and then let her just take out all the plastic plates and cups). She loves to help!

  4. My 4 year old helps set the table with placemats, forks/spoons, napkins and plastic cups. I just showed my 2 year old how to move the step stool to the drawer and get out the placemats. He felt so big. They love “dusting”, taking a damp towel and wiping everything down. I bought a small vacuum(dustbuster style) that the arm extends for adults but in the closed position perfect height for them. They love to vacuum their crumbs and paper mess. Most of the time they pick up their toys with help. I have tried to keep including them with cleaning while they want to whether or not they are actually helping me :)

  5. What a great idea – my little guy is obsessed with the dishwasher too. I let him close the dishwasher, but hadn’t thought of letting him help in other ways. I love that your son brings you your slippers – how sweet!

  6. Infant Bibliophile

    how cute! Our 14 1/2 month old little guy is obsessed with the dishwasher, so instead of fighting him to stay away from it, lately I try to invent tasks he can help with, like I put away the knives, then let him hand me the rest of the silverware one by one. He also likes to point where I should put away plates, cups, etc and what to load next. Then I let him shut the door and turn the lever. He also likes to pull laundry out of the basket and hand me things to fold. Oh and lately he likes to bring me my slippers!

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