Mother holding blue and white pants over baby's head

The weather’s nice and you want to get outside and enjoy it. However, you’re stuck in the house with too many nagging chores? That’s no way to spend summer days.

You’re trying to get chores done around the home with a baby tucked under one arm. What’s a busy mom to do? Enlist the family’s help and get them to pitch in! Even young children can manage a household task or two.

Every child enters a phase when they want to do whatever you’re doing. Anthropologist David Lancy, a specialist in childhood and chores, tells The Atlantic that children almost universally become eager to help their parents at about 18-months. Most young children enjoy feeling a sense of accomplishment and think it’s fun to play with their own housekeeping toys.

Melissa and Doug Neat & Tidy Housekeeping Play SetMelissa and Doug Neat Tidy Housekeeping Play Set

This Melissa and Doug play set picks up real dirt! Cleaning products, including a wood-handled broom, mop and duster, dustpan, squeegee and spray bottle, are designed to fit on a wooden stand. This product is exclusive to Walmart.

Family chores infographic

Your toddler can start their helper lifestyle by putting away their toys. As they grow, chores can become a little bit more sophisticated, such as placing dirty clothes in a laundry hamper, helping to feed pets and folding clean towels.

Here’s BabyCenter’s handy guide for chores broken down by age.

Keep in mind that children develop at different rates. Supervise them during any new chore until you’re sure they’ve gotten the hang of it.


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Little Tikes Sort n Store Primary Colours Toy ChestLittle Tikes Sort ‘n Store Primary Colours Toy Chest

This toy chest by Little Tikes features fun, bright colours and six cubic feet of storage space. Removable bins at the bottom are designed to hold smaller toys, while bigger play items go up top.

As children get a little older, you may find their excitement at helping out around the home starts to diminish. Parents should find out what might motivate their kids to keep them participating with chore duties.

Experts are divided on whether to incentivize kids for doing chores. The New York Times money columnist Ron Lieber, author of The Opposite of Spoiled, doesn’t believe in tying chores to financial rewards such as an allowance. He writes that home maintenance helps teach children about their role in the family unit.

Not everyone is blessed with uber-compliant children. And let’s be honest: bribes work. If your children are older than the happy-helper age, you might offer a few cool toys as motivation at first, until the new normal becomes routine. You’ll find the best toy selection at Walmart.

PAW Patrol Kids LCD Digital WatchPAW Patrol Kids LCD Digital Watch

This PAW Patrol LCD Digital Watch features a red plastic strap with interchangeable slide-on characters. Brighten your child’s imagination with a rescue mission full of teamwork and friendship. This style works great for boys and girls.

As mentioned in BabyCenter’s article, Making Chores Fun, children value praise, thanks and one-on-one time with a parent. They also like to choose which chores to tackle. As a kid, my brother loved to vacuum. He’s a car guy and, after all, the vacuum does have a motor! If your child’s cleaning efforts don’t turn out perfectly, resist doing it over. It’ll prove to be a motivation-killer and defeat the purpose of enlisting their help.

Bissell 3-in-1 Lightweight Vacuum CleanerBISSELL 3-in-1 Lightweight Vacuum

Outfit your little helper with one of the best vacuum cleaners for younger folks because it’s engineered to be compact and lightweight. BISSELL’s 3-in-1 multi-purpose stick vacuum is baglesss. This model is designed to clean carpets, area rugs and hard flooring. The quick-release handle can be removed for stair cleaning. The handle and foot can also be removed to be used as a hand vacuum.

Kids need reminders about which chores need doing. A simple list on the fridge or dry erase board is enough for small children. Another motivator to get kids helping out with chores is to buy them a book or puzzle. You can surprise them or let them choose the one they like best. Then, spend time with them reading or completing the puzzle. If there’s one things kids love, it’s spending time with mom or dad.

Hatchimals 46-Piece Floor PuzzleHatchimals 46 Piece Floor Puzzle

It’s time to hatch a big, colourful puzzle featuring beloved Hatchimals characters. This floor puzzle by Cardinal Games measures 36 inches by 24 inches when complete. Big puzzle pieces are designed for little hands. Includes 46 big puzzle pieces.

For older kids, take the chore list to where they live—on their phones and tablets. Several chore-tracking apps are available. Kids can compete to get a task done first and snap up the bonus. You can update the tasks in real time, from wherever you are connected.

In addition to getting help around the house, your actions could have a positive spin-off effect. A study from the University of Cambridge finds children form lifelong money habits by the age of 7. Completing tasks as promised, saving money and learning the value of things they want are all important life lessons.

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Lisa is the author of five books and counting. She’s also a versatile voice-artist and the former morning co-anchor at 680 News. She loves coffee, cheese and Twizzlers, but not at the same time. She believes the best part about working from home is talking on the phone to people who have no idea that she's still wearing her pajamas. Animal lover Lisa lives in Wallaceburg (about an hour west of London) with her husband and their senior rescue cat Miss Sugar. You can follow Lisa on Twitter @lisambrandt.