Yes, Kids Should Help in the House!

It gives them a sense of teamwork and responsibility…

a special feature from Kay Ziplow & Leslie Zinberg, founders

What’s wrong with the kids helping to pick up after themselves and their mess?  Our answer: nothing!  Engaging in household activities promotes a sense of accomplishment from a child’s perspective such as, “Look what I did!”; and a sense of involvement with purpose, “Can I help?”. We believe that simple housework and picking up after ourselves is something that can be easily incorporated into a daily routine, or into child’s play.

All too often we hear stories from our readers, who have enabled these torrid storms of house mess and chaos, because they (the grandparents) are afraid to ask for help, or simply don’t want to take away from their precious family time together.  Both these reasons are rock solid – however, we feel children best learn from all aspects of life. As grandparents, we set an example in every corner of our relationship with them.  

There’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours upon hours cleaning and straightening up after the family has come and gone. Have you ever heard a grandparent, or anyone say, “Wow, my life’s dream is to clean and organize and no one in the family should be doing this but me.” Come on…we haven’t heard that statement yet. It goes in the “I don’t think so” box along with “Gee, what I love most is a root canal.” 

For the little ones, you can make ‘helping’ a really fun activity, and here are a few suggestions.
Remember the hardware and health food store are your main friends here!! Before you get started, see our article natural cleaning solutions and troubleshooting.

-Get your little helper a ‘nail apron’ at the local hardware store – this keeps small supplies close on hand and makes them feel really official! Okay, you can even take a simple sharpie and personalize it with their name on it.

-Personalize a bucket with a face or name or initials cut from colorful duct tape, available again at any hardware store. 

-Keep it really fun: use a toy-shopping basket for the little helper to gather all the out of place items and deliver them to their proper room or cabinet.

-Give the kids a bright broom, duster, and accessories for sweeping and cleaning – go to sites like Amazon or Target for ideas.

-Add a little imagination in the ‘helping time’ – for instance, encourage some pretend play if they are little enough: Snow White’s crew often whistles while they work, maybe Chugginton’s crew checks for progress on the house tracks!

-Make your own kid-safe cleaning potions: you can pick up essential oils (for smell preferences) at your local health food store and mix them with water for a fresh non-chemical clean up job.  You can also get a small sprayer and mix up this recipe for a non-toxic cleaner.

Cleaner recipe:
Mix one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, 1 tablespoon baking soda, and 1 cup white vinegar in 4 cups of warm water. Add 25 drops of essential oil of your choice. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and use it to add shine to countertops and tiles. 

Scrub Recipe:
For a sprinkle and scrub: Stir 6 or 7 drops of an essential oil into ¼ cup baking soda. Transfer the mixture to a salt shaker jar. Use it with a soft brush to pick up stains, freshen carpet or rugs, or use with a damp sponge to make the sinks and tubs and bathroom sparkle. 

If you are especially interested and want to know more about Essential Oils, please email us:


*Recipes for cleaners are reprinted from: Family Fun, March 2015.