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7 Easy Chores for Your Toddler

How to get your kid to help around the house.

7 Easy Chores for Your Toddler

In our house, part of our familial closeness translates into “doing your part.” This isn’t a forced value -- kids like to help. From a very young age, if I was completing chores around the house, my daughters would ask to help. The tendency can be to shoo them, because I’ll admit, sometimes it’s harder to work with a kid at your heels. So as to not cast them aside, I started creating a list of jobs they could handle at a young age. Sometimes it’s helpful, sometimes it’s not; but the point is involvement. Here are seven ways that your toddlers can help around the house:

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  1. Room cleaner! Creating age-appropriate systems for cleaning their room not only made it less of a battle, it made it a chore I could send even my youngest toddler off to do on her own. An independent job immediately builds confidence, especially when it’s done and you can shower the praise. We’re a basket house, and my daughters and I worked together to initially decide which toys would go in which baskets. They have a plan of action when they clean their room, and know exactly what I mean when I say, “Will I think your room is clean?”

  1. Duster! For the dust-concerned mother, this might not be the most ideal job. But I’ve got to tell you: I despise dusting the house. It’s one of those infinite jobs, and the infinity makes it meaningless for me. But if I hand a cleaning rag to my kid, she instantly feels like she has a real, grown-up job. (To make this kid-safe, I use washable linen cloths, lightly sprayed with a vinegar and water mixture.)

  1. Laundry assistant! When we first lived in Brooklyn, our apartment building had a nice laundry room, one floor above us. In a city where people normally send their laundry out, it was convenient, and it wasn’t; but we designated a set laundry day. On a Monday morning, no one else was home to wash clothes, so we had full reign of all the machines. We would drag all the laundry into the living room, dump it into a big pile, and the girls would help me sort it. They thought it was a great game, running back and forth from the dark colors pile to the whites pile. Once all is said and done and the clothes are clean, I get a lot of offers for help again. I keep all of our rags, washcloths, and cloth napkins in individual drawers in a hutch; so I will fold those things into manageable piles, and my girls will run back and forth putting those things away.

  1. Sous chef! I probably hear “Can I help?” more when I’m making dinner than the rest of the day combined. And I get it. It’s the end of the day, the witching hour; I’m tucked away in the kitchen, no attention to spare; and I’m using cool shiny (and sharp!) tools. Prepping food is definitely the most tempting time to say, nicely, “Stay out of my way!” and there are days when I do that (chopping veggies is cathartic, and sometimes I need the space). But when I can, I include my daughters in meal prep. For example, they get my produce squeaky clean, because what could be more fun than playing under running water with food and a colander? And I have also found that tiny little fingers are especially good at peeling garlic--a task which will buy you a lot of time for other things.

  1. Porch sweeper! What is it about a broom that makes kids instantly want to help? As soon as mine is out, there they are. I have a smaller broom that I use for outside sweeping, and it’s easy for me to send them out to the front porch to sweep away. (Obviously not so easy in a city apartment; but kids are surprisingly good at Swiffering, too.) The bonus to this chore? It lends itself to great imaginary play because a broom can be so many things.

  1. Hunter of odors! My girls are the designated Febreezers, just to keep things fresh. (And if you’re like me and keep the house as free of chemicals as possible, there are some great homemade anti-odor sprays you can make; just be careful of anything with baking soda because it can streak or stick to your upholstery.)

  1. Collector/Runner/Sorter! Sometimes it is easier to just come up with odd jobs on the fly, and honestly, this is when the kiddos can be most helpful. Maybe I need to vacuum but there are toys and magazines in the way; my collectors get the job done quickly! Maybe I’m cleaning the bathroom but I left the sponge in the kitchen; my runners quite literally run to retrieve it for me. Maybe I’ve folded the socks into one big pile; my sorters know how to group Daddy’s, Mommy’s, and their own separately.

Whatever task you choose to give your child, I think the main thing to remember is that they are capable--and that they want to help. It will take a little patience in the beginning, teaching them methods or establishing ground rules. But it’s time worth investing in a family that makes life together.

Image of a Land of Nod cleaning play set that is (sadly) no longer available.

Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA)

It's 2020. The world is changing. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

We're only a few months into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

If your little one arrived (or is due to arrive) in 2020, they've got plenty of high profile company.

Here are all the celebrity babies born in 2020 (so far):

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