I’ve mentioned that we have teens and twins before and the responses vary from “oh my gosh that’s great!” to “wow you must stay really busy!”. While it might sound daunting to have twins and ANY other children I consider it to be a huge blessing when it comes to help around the house. My older children are more than aware of how busy mom’s life can get. I am a student on top of being a mom and that in itself is a LOT to take on. So they try to help mom out as much as they can. If you’re wondering what your older kids can handle I’ve devised a list that may help you!
Always remember to never underestimate what your children are capable of. Even the smallest of children like to be a “helper”!
If a little hand can hold a broom upright why not put them to use? Tape a square on the floor and have them sweep all the trash to that square. All YOU have to do is sweep it into the dust pan and dump. Of course for older children this is a breeze and they can do it all themselves and mom doesn’t have to sweep. PS: I doesn’t hurt that this can also keep them entertained for a good while and allows mom a few minutes to grab a quick cup of joe or maybe change a messy baby!
If you are lucky enough to have a dishwasher then let the little ones help. Hand them the dishes and let them load them up. Resist your impulse to rush them — remember you are “training” them to help you later too, so let them feel they are doing a good job. After the dishes are washed let them hand you the dishes from the washer…after all…you don’t have to bend down there! If your kids are older this is an easy chore unless you don’t have a dishwasher and in that case consider it a reward system. We don’t really have an allowance system in our house but we DO provide cell phones and movie money when they are off with friends so I don’t feel like we are asking too much for a little help around the house when needed.
Most children LOVE the sound of a vacuum (with the exception of a teenager!) So I made the deal with my teenagers that if they occupy the twins (who DETEST the sound of the vacuum by the way) then I will vacuum and they can take the babies outside or in their room to play. Myself, I love the rhythmic noise of a vacuum cleaner so I don’t mind this trade off!
This one is tricky. If your older ones are not quite old enough to be handling cleaning supplies then this one isn’t for you just yet. But I don’t think any harm can come from letting your older ones use a dusting rag (maybe with just a smidge of dusting solution on it?) and helping mom dust in the areas lower to their level! The older ones obviously can help out a little higher up.
Oh the dreaded cross of which all parents have to bear! Laundry is never ending and ever present. I have six people in my home and there is NO way I could handle all of that on my own and twins to boot! My teenagers do their own laundry and so it takes a load off of my time to have at least those loads off of my shoulders. For those that have children not quite ready to do laundry, there is still hope. Invest in a color coded basket system. For instance: Red (for colors), white (for whites) etc. I use a tall white basket for whites, a green basket for colors and a smaller white basket for towels. That’s just MY system — you may want to adjust accordingly to YOUR home and number of people.
I am not a stickler in this area. I am a firm believer that their space is THEIR space and I don’t go in it (unless I am looking for my hair brush… it always seems to be in my daughter’s room). I don’t force them to clean it until spotless, though I would like to be able to see the floor if I happen to chance in there for anything. And if we have company over…those doors stay closed!
We have a clear edict in my home. The trash is the guys domain. I don’t take out the trash. I will, upon occasion, take the full bag out of the trash can but that’s it. My teenage son or my hubby will haul it off. But it’s an unwritten law that if it’s full….mom would like for SON to take it out and put a new bag in. 🙂
This is the most important on the list. When you’ve got not one but TWO new beings in the house it can be a bit frazzling at first. Let the other children help you. Even a simple “bring mommy a diaper” is a world of help when you are holding a very upset messy baby! My teens have become old hands at changing a diaper and now think nothing of it. Teach your younger older siblings to be gentle but always allow them to feel like they are helping. It may seem like it’s no big deal but to them….it’s everything to help with the new babies. Let them “help” with the bottle feeding or entertain the other baby while you breastfeed. The important thing is to include them and when they are older they won’t mind helping.
These little things seem so small but when you are raising twins believe me it adds up! A chore chart seems to be what everyone recommends and though we don’t have one (my two teens are older and therefore I can normally just TELL them what I want done) I think with younger children a chore chart is ideal. Maybe with a sticker system, i.e. for every five stickers earned they get a reward — who’s up for ice cream?? 🙂
– Deanna Burkett, Twiniversity MoM Squad