This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Melissa & Doug, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board.
They always say “Sleep when your baby sleeps.” So does that mean we’re supposed to wash dishes when the baby washes dishes? Fold laundry when the baby folds laundry? Thought not. That doesn’t leave us with much time to get chores done around the house with the kids. Not only are our kids most likely the messiest inhabitants in our home, but they’re also the least likely to clean up after themselves. Messy kids and zero time is not a great combination for parents that have an entire list of housework to tackle.
Now, I am the first mom to admit that chores are not necessarily a priority on my daily to-do list. Out of all the things I have to accomplish in a twelve-hour time span, putting away the toys sprawled on the living room floor isn’t the most important. But after stepping on one too many lego pieces, enough is enough. The struggle is finding an available moment when your attention is being pulled in the direction of needy children. Screen time can be an effective short term solution, but there are more beneficial ways we can occupy our kids long enough to tidy our homes. We’ve gathered five unique ways that will help you accomplish chores around the house while taking care of littles.
1. Get them involved with pretend play
Since our son was one, he has begged us to let him use the broom that’s double his height. If your children are the same way and their constant pleading to hold the mop is what deters you from cleaning in their presence, we have the solution. Use chore-themed pretend play sets as a fun way to involve your kids in housework. Melissa & Doug is our top choice for pretend play toys because of their realistic quality and easy to use designs. Their sets are incredibly creative with multiple pieces to keep your little ones entertained.
Children love to imitate what their parents are doing, which is why pretend play not only keeps them engaged but also teaches them useful life skills. Eventually our tiny humans will grow into adults (sniffle) with their own households to clean up. Involving them in every day tasks like sweeping up after dinner or pretending to clean windows will benefit you now and them as they grow. You could also only offer them their mini cleaning supplies during chore-time—that way they are eager to play since the toys are only available for that limited time.
2. Get crafty with an art project
This one depends on your LOs age and independence level, but art projects are a good option if they are old enough to use certain craft materials. Use items like construction paper, toilet paper rolls, and finger paints to create fun works of art. There are infinite ways kids can use their creativity with the right tools while you accomplish chores.
3. Allow them to help with dinner
One of my biggest struggles after the workday ends is cooking dinner while my kids are running around the house. I’m sure many moms can relate because how can you pay attention to both a hot stove and a toddler that’s jumping off the couch twenty feet away? We’ve found that involving him in meal prep is the best solution. Yes, it tacks on an additional twenty minutes to cooking, but so would chasing after him every time he got into something he wasn’t supposed to. Consider purchasing kid-safe cooking utensils so they can help with chopping veggies or pouring rice into a rice cooker. After a few tries (and a saintly amount of patience), they may actually end up developing a very helpful hobby.
4. Build (or buy) a sensory kit
Sensory kits are great at keeping kids busy in one spot as you clean up. Building sensory kits can feel intimidating, but it’s possible to use everyday items around your house. A sensory activity can be as simple as putting cheerios, small toys (like these Rollables), and measuring cups into an IKEA bin. You would be surprised how a few seemingly uninteresting items can occupy the full attention of a toddler once thrown in a bin together. If you’re not the DIY sort of parent, then you can purchase pre-made sensory kits online and rotate using them during clean-up time throughout the week.
5. Use a baby carrier
New mamas may be wondering “well, my infant can barely lift their head up how do these tips help me?” They don’t—at least not for another few months. But they will once your sweet babe turns into a rambunctious toddler. In the meantime, baby wearing will be your best friend. You can also try to get stuff done while they are laying on a play mat, but if you have chores to do in multiple rooms, a trusted baby carrier does the trick. Baby will be happy to be near mom and mom will gain more freedom. It’s a win-win situation.
This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Melissa & Doug, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.