Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Getting Your Child To Help Out Around The House With The Proper Tools

Before I had kids, I used to see child-size tools in stores and think, “What a waste of money!” I learned my lesson quickly, however, when Junior was about 4 and we decided he should start helping with the raking of leaves every Fall. I mean, we had mounds of leaves that needed to be raked and bagged.  It was about time he got involved and, honestly, my child wanted help out around the house!  The adult-sized rakes were far too cumbersome and frustrated the boy, so it was worth the $18 to buy our boy the proper tool for him.

Children often want to help out around the house, but they need the proper tools to do so.

Now, we have a full collection of kid-sized tools that enable even my little one to assist around the house. I'm not talking craftsperson tools (although if you want a list of 11 Tools To Get Your Kids, visit this article from Popular Mechanics); I'm talking about simple purchases that those of us in Suburbia can get to help instill a work ethic in our children while allowing them to add elbow-grease value to family life. Here's what we have:

  1. A child-sized rake is one useful multi-purpose tool!
    The aforementioned rake with a 42” handle (available here). It allows a kid to rake without smacking themselves in the face with the handle. Get one with a lacquered wood handle so it won't splinter. This rake is also useful for adults when you have to scoop lawn debris or leaves from a tight spot.

  2. A whisk broom and dust pan. I've bought several of these over the years at Walmart and Dollar General. They come in very handy to clean up glitter, sticker, beads, etc. My kids know that Mom doesn't get as mad about a mess when I see them cleaning it up themselves.

  3. A kid-sized snow shovel. We had record-breaking snow in the Northeast last year and they're predicting a “Snowpocalypse” this year. Even our plastic shovel was too heavy for my daughter, so I'm glad we had this 11” shovel on hand (available here ). Tip:  buy a couple of these and keep one in your car's trunk.  It's good for shoveling yourself out when the snow plow plows you in on the street or you get stuck in the snow.  This tool comes in handy, as well, when you bag leaves.  Just rake the leaves onto the shovel and place them in a bag - it will save your back!

    This is a really handy tool whether you've got kids or not!

  4. Leather gloves for kids. Hear me out: when you kid needs to scoop lawn debris or leaves, you don't know what's in there! Latex gloves tear, these do not. It's worth it to protect your child from thorns, poison ivy, and God knows what else!
    Don't be dissing these tools! They'll protect your child's hands!


  5. Safety goggles and ear protectors. Instill the concept of safety early. These  goggles will protect little eyes. I couldn't find kid-sized ear protectors, but I still think kids should wear them, even if they are adult-size. Leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and snow blowers are LOUD! It's worth your child's discomfort if it protects their hearing.

  6. These tools also allow THEM to replace the batteries on their devices.
    Screwdrivers. Helping mom or dad screw something into a piece of wood is an easy way to get kids to help. They'll do it safely with these screwdrivers.

  7. Dusting materials. My daughter loves to dust, so I take a dry Swiffer sheet and cut it in half. This website also provides instructions on how to make a dusting mitt for your child. Or they could just use an old sock over their little hands.

  8. A light clothes hamper. And now a word about the Teen. He was complaining (the real word rhymes with 'witchin') about how the hampers we had “hurt his hands” and were “too heavy” (add whining and you'll get an idea of the drama). So it was completely worth the $12 I paid for this hamper that I bought at Target. No more excuses, Junior; get to work! Even his little sister can carry this unit, full of clothes, up the stairs.

    A tool that erases any excuse from the Teen - totally worth the money!

Again, those are the tools I have. My daughter actually has a kid-sized corn broom but, honestly, outside of a few jokes about witches at Halloween, we never used it for anything; that's why I didn't mention it above. And I've seen the kid-sized vacuum cleaners, but honestly, I've always thought those really were a waste of money.  Any parent I know who had one said their kid used it maybe twice and then never vacuumed again.  In doing research for this post, however, I found a great website called For Small Hands ) that has dozens of child-size tools that I never even thought of (mops, a bucket with wringer, etc.) for those who REALLY want their kids to help.

Letting kids help around the house gives them confidence, shows them that they're important members of the family, and helps you out in the process. Get them the right tools and they'll be more inclined to help. It worked for me!


Thanks for reading!  Please come back again!  

1 comment:

  1. That's good thinking - having child-size cleaning supplies sure makes it easier for them and so maybe they can't come up with as many excuses? Heh


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