Lewis is 8 1/2 months old, so I’ve decided it’s about time he starts earning his keep and doing some chores around here!
Not really, but I have been letting him “help” with a few things recently. I love the fact that he is always interested in what Mommy is doing, so finding ways to get him involved seems like a great way to help keep him engaged and also set the stage for the future when he will have more formal “chores” to do.
He has been “helping” me with the laundry for a long time now, since he is often in my arms when it is time to tend the laundry. We are lucky to have our own laundry machine in our apartment, but unluckily it is the World’s Worst Laundry Machine. It is a combined washer/dryer. All in one unit, not stacked. Which means I can have laundry washing or drying but not both. It is also TINY. One load in this machine is about 1/4-1/3 the size of a load that I can fit in a “normal” machine. This means I have laundry constantly going, so there are always opportunities for Lewis to observe and help with this task. We cloth diaper, so I do a load of diaper almost every day, plus one or two loads of regular laundry. Lewis helps by playing with the drier balls, opening and shutting the door, and playing with the wet laundry when I am fluffing it up before drying. He also helps me hang the diapers up to dry by pulling his cloth wipes off the rack each time I hang them.
He is also very curious about the dishwasher. We keep it shut all the time, and discourage him from playing with it when it is full of dirty dishes, but recently I have been involving him more with unloading the dishes. When the door is open he can easily pull himself up on it to stand and reach the silverware and plates in the bottom rack. He is very good about “sharing” and handing me things when I ask for them or hold my hand out, so I have been letting him help unload the silverware. He pulls it out one piece at a time, and then I hold my hand out and say “Can I have that fork?” or “Give that to Mama please. Thank you! You handed me the spoon,” or other similar things. It is only spoons, forks, and butter knives, so not good to play with, but safe enough for him to pick up and hand to me. Once the silverware is unloaded he is happy to stand there and play with the empty bottom rack while I finish unloading the rest.
I have also been involving him a bit more in his diaper changes. We use cloth wipes wetted with water, so after I wipe him (assuming it isn’t a poopy diaper) he sometimes likes to take the wipe and try to wipe himself. He has moved it towards his mouth once and I stopped him from trying to taste it, but mostly he just “wipes” himself and drops it or hands it back to me.
Obviously these little “chores” of his aren’t actually making things easier for me and in most cases make things take longer than they would otherwise. But, they only really add on a few minutes of time, they’re setting the stage for him helping more in the future, and they are great opportunities for quality interactions, so I think it is a win all around.
Do you involve your baby in helping with “chores” or have any other suggestions for ways that a baby can get involved with what Mommy is doing?