"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

I often lament the fact that children have the strongest desire to help when they are least able to actually be helpful (read: toddlers)…and then, when they are old enough to be capable of truly helping out, that desire has all but vanished. (I think this is especially noticeable in a household containing both toddler and teenagers.) Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to make it easier for our toddler to “help” out around the house, and thought I’d share a couple of those ideas with you here.

For example, it seems all little ones have that burning desire to help water…well, everything.

But water is heavy, watering cans are unwieldy for small hands, and most of the water ends up on everything but the plants.

My solution? Use two pitchers instead.

I fill one completely full of water for me to hold, and we start with hers empty. Before she waters each plant, I pour just a little water into her pitcher from mine so she can then pour it on without flooding the poor plant or dropping the full pitcher. I am constantly refilling, but she is having a blast and some of the water’s even going where it’s supposed to! (And she loves the refilling as much as the watering.)

By the way…Yes, I am aware that she’s wearing a bike helmet and a nightgown. She’d gone out for a scooter ride first thing in the morning, before even getting dressed. How I’d love to be able to wake up and hit the ground running like that. {sigh}

Side note: This system also works well for little ones who are transitioning from a sippy cup to a regular cup. I start with a full cup of milk next to me, and she has an almost-empty one. Each time she drains it, I add more. This way, she’s getting practice drinking from an open cup, the inevitable spill isn’t going to be as tragic as it would if the cup were full, and I’m not having to go to the refrigerator every two seconds so she can have a refill.

Toddlers also crave any chance to sweep. (Amazing, right?)

But as much as they love it, those big brooms are just not made to be used by people with such tiny bodies.

Just look at her face as she struggles to hold the broom upright.

However, a whisk broom is just the right size for little hands. She can actually move the dirt around this way, and even see some results. (Inside the house, we let her use our little brush and dustpan set, which she adores.  No matter who’s sweeping with the big broom, the toddler is our resident pile sweeper, and she can actually get a fair amount into the trash can this way.)

What are some simple ways you’ve found to help your little helper? Please leave a comment to let me know.

NOTE: This post is the first in a planned week-long series on helping and educating toddlers and preschoolers. For those of you who don’t have little ones in the home right now, you are more than welcome to come along anyway…If nothing else, you’ll see a really cute toddler in action. 😉   (Yes, of course I’m biased…I’m a mom!)

If not, I hope you’ll join me again next week when WhyAmySmiles goes back to its regular posting schedule. Either way, please pass along this blog address to those you know with little ones, and encourage them to join me here for the following posts this week:

Monday: Helping our wee helpers

Tuesday: Tot School fun

Wednesday:  Tot School on a shoestring

Thursday: Tot School organization

Friday: My favorite toddler resources

And, see the bonus post here.

Thanks for stopping by!


Comments on: "Helping our wee helpers (Tiny Tots Week, Day 1)" (6)

  1. I enjoyed catching up on your blog today and look forward to your special posts this week. Adam loves to sweep and water, too! I let him hold the hose on the vacuum to clean up the big crumbs before I vacuum the floor. He also squirts cleaner on the floor to help me when I mop and helps put stuff in the washing machine.

    • Great idea about the vaccuum! Remi loves helping me put clothes in the dryer, but I always have to make sure the floor in front of it is really clean, first, since so many things “miss” and end up there. Still, it’s so nice to see them enjoying helping, and I’m glad you let Adam jump in with you!

  2. Karen Scism said:

    Your stories make me smile Amy–you need to write a book. Love you cousin and so proud of how you are a good mommy.

    • Karen, your suggestion to write a book is a big complement (and something on my “one day when the kids are grown I’d like to…..” list) and your mommy compliment is HUGE. I have a long way to go but I’m trying, and I’m thankful for all the good examples I have to look up to. Love you, too!

  3. Great ideas! James is just getting to that stage of wanting to help. I’m looking forward to the rest of your posts this week!

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