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Monkey Boy really is a great help around the house, something that’s likely quite evident already! And, what’s even better, he enjoys doing tasks that Hun and I do. Monkey Boy enjoys being involved in what we’re doing, whether it be work on the computer, writing, drawing, crafting, working on the car, remodeling the house, or even cleaning.
Today, I’m highlighting some of the ways in which he helps to keep the house more clean and organized.
Wiping up spills (or potty accidents)
Wiping the tables and chairs after meals
Putting toys and books away
Spraying our non-toxic homemade cleaner(s)
Teaching your toddler valuable life skills is something that takes trial and error. Your family style and goals will define how you teach life skills. What I do have is what works for us and how we incorporate Monkey Boy into these everyday tasks. Each family and child is different and so our their goals, desires, and circumstances. That’s why I never really offer advice on the blog, simply our perspective(s) on the matter.
I enjoy sharing how we go about teaching life skills and hope something resonates with you. The point is, you can take ideas from everywhere and use them in the best way that fits your family. For us, incorporating Monkey Boy into my cleaning routines very early on was easy. It’s so much easier and safer to have Monkey Boy around, since we don’t use toxic chemicals. I’d often put Monkey Boy on a play mat, before he was mobile, in the room or area I was working (kitchen, bathroom, etc.). At other times, I’d also use our wrap and babywear as I got things done around the house.
We are very much a talking family. This translates into me narrating all the things I do. Monkey Boy couldn’t (at the time) understand what I was saying or what any of the words meant, yet I continued. Talking also helped to keep him calm when he couldn’t see me.
As Monkey Boy grew older and more mobile, he’d scoot or crawl around the room I was working in. And yes, I continued to narrate.
Inevitably, Monkey Boy started wanting to help and scenes like this would play out.
Knowing that babies and young toddlers are still quite unpredictable when it comes to using all of their senses (especially taste!) and I know naturally his attention span wouldn’t hold long enough to even start a task, I didn’t let him help do anything. Now he’s more than eager! Quite often, I now find him attempting to do a task that either doesn’t need done or before he’s let me know something needed done (in the case of spills primarily).
For us, there’s no expectation that Monkey Boy has to help with these different tasks at this point. Since, there are also times I prefer to do them alone whether for space, time constraints, or simply needing a few minutes bringing order back into my life and therefore my mood/thoughts/spirit.
Also, we believe in all family members pitching in to help keep the house in overall order and general cleanliness. As an example, when we return from running errands, Monkey Boy is expected to undress himself (which he can largely do without assistance) and put his clothes in the hamper and shoes away. We instill these type of expectations through repetition and practice. Of course, this took time and demonstration.
It is possible to teach cleaning with toddlers and young children!
So, think of the way your house runs and then look to see if there’s a way your children can help. Maybe the children won’t be much help at first. Maybe they’ll stop helping in the middle of a task. In the end though, you’ll be teaching them valuable life skills for the future not just in your house, but in theirs.
What are some ways your toddler helps out around the house? How do you teach cleanliness to your children?