Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My little helpers

This time of year, when there is so much to do it is easy to feel like the kids are getting in the way. It is tempting to let them watch TV all day so that I can get things done. My kids really want to help and if they aren't helping they are either under foot or getting into trouble. So, what works for me is to let them help!

Yes, I know sometimes their "help" is really no help at all. Letting them "help" sometimes makes a project take twice as long. In those times, I try to remember that this is how they learn and we are making memories. When there is a lot to do though, I try to find jobs for them that they really can help with, that they can do with minimal instruction or supervision. Here are some Christmas jobs they have been able to help with;

Christmas Cards
We made photo cards. We had to stick the photo to the card and stamp the message inside. We did this in a few steps over a couple of days.

The first step was a family project Tim (DH) actually did most of the stamping. Kellen (8) and Lydia (almost 5) signed their own names and then I signed the rest of the names and put the return address on.

Next, I addressed the envelopes and Lydia put the postage on.

Then, I put the picture on the card, Lydia and Kellen put the cards in the envelopes and sealed them.

Kellen, Lydia, and Nolan (2 1/2) decorated white tissue paper . They stamped and colored it, and we used it for packing in the boxes we mailed. We will do a similar project for gift baskets I am making. For grandparents presents we are going to turn the paper inside out (this idea came from another Works For Me, thanks!) and let the kids decorate. They can also help me wrap by holding tape pieces, putting on name tags and moving gifts around for me.

They are constantly "decorating" and "redecorating" the house whether I want them to or not! We let them put all the ornaments on the tree. It needed a little rearranging when it was done. After all, one branch does not need five ornaments! Nolan is still rearranging the tree and any other decorations he can reach.

This can be one of those tasks that "helpers" are not really any help, but it is also probably their favorite thing to help with. I try to do kitchen projects when I can get just one "helper" and the others are busy with something else. Besides licking bowls and beaters, they can help get out and put away ingredients, and measure and dump into the bowl. They like to help with chocolate covered pretzels and nuts and anything that involves frosting and sprinkles. Of course, if they help with the baking they also have to help with the clean up!

I try to look for things that they can do to help. They love to help and with the right projects they really are helpful.

For more helpful tips visit Works for Me Wednesday.


  1. Great tips- not only are you buildin memories but you are also building self esteem.

  2. These are going to become traditions the kids will keep in their hearts forever. How wonderful!!


  3. umm yeah, I can't believe all the stuff you do with the kids I don't see it when it happens but you do do alot of thigs with the kids in general, which is great.

  4. I agree. These are life skills. I give a box of ornaments that are age appropriate for each of the kids to hang on the tree, they love to make their own gift wrap and bags by stamping paper or brown paper lunch bags and they like to make gifts for people, too.
    I also like to let them help everyday with laundry (mostly pushing clothes into or taking them out of the dryer). One thing the boys always enjoy is when I give them a damp rag and let them wipe dining room chairs and table or wiping the baseboards. They take pride in doing something to help.