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Health & Parenting

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Modern Moms Ask for Help

You can't do it all, all the time. Here's how, and why, to ask for help.

Ask Your Kids continued...

Pick age-appropriate chores for your kids and let them do it on their own. They probably won’t do it perfectly the first time, or even the tenth time, but if you intervene and make them feel like they’re not doing it right, their pride in doing it all by themselves goes out the window.

Here are examples:

Age 1-2:

  • Pick up their own clothes and put them in the hamper.
  • Put toys in the toy box.

Age 3-4:

  • Set the table.
  • Help empty the dishwasher and put dishes away.
  • Clean up toys in their room or playroom.
  • Put laundry in the washer or dryer.

Age 5-8:

  • Help load the dishwasher.
  • Cut up vegetables for dinner with adult supervision.
  • Clear the table.
  • Bring in groceries from the car and put them away.
  • Fold laundry.
  • Make their bed.
  • Take out the trash.

Age 8 and up:

  • Take responsibility for keeping their bedroom clean.
  • Help take care of a pet.
  • Help prepare simple meals.
  • Rake leaves.
  • Do a load of laundry.

Break It Down

If you give your child a big job, like cleaning up his or her room or the playroom, break it down into manageable tasks. Post those tasks on the back of their bedroom door, so they can refer to it as they clean.

I used to ask my 4-year-old to clean the playroom and her eyes would glaze over. “It’s too hard!” she’d moan. “It wasn’t too hard to get all the toys out in the first place,” I’d counter. She wasn’t impressed.

But when I started asking her to “put all the dress-up clothes in the box,” that was a bite-sized chunk she could handle. Then I’d say, “Put all the dolls back in the dollhouse.” That wasn’t too bad. The other day, all by herself, she kept picking up small items, moving them to the right spot, and organizing toy bins until the room was spotless. When I regained consciousness, I was thrilled.

Ask Your Friends

It’s easy to forget that you have more resources for help than just your immediate family. No, you can’t ask your BFF to empty your dishwasher or fold the laundry, but you can ask her if the kids can come over for a sleepover next weekend so you can have a night to yourself (or with your partner). You might be surprised at how willing she’ll be to help out.

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