Last winter, we decided to turn our dining room into a living room. But to do so, we needed to tear down old wallpaper and paint the walls in a color that better reflected our room’s new purpose. I dreaded the work, so I decided to ask my kids for help. But the truth was, I could already anticipate the complaints and potential messes I’d have with kids helping.
Then something surprising happened. Once I got them going, my kids got into it. I played a kid podcast as I steamed the walls and the kids used scrapers to remove the old wallpaper. My daughter even said using the scraper was “fun.” I realized I shouldn’t underestimate my kids’ willingness to help. Here are 7 more situations when you might enjoy getting things done with your kids helping.
1. Decorating a Room
Whether it’s shopping for a new desk or sliding that old table into a corner, your kids might offer some valuable input. Recently, my son helped pick out a new couch and raised a good point: “It has to fit us and the dog.” In years past, he also picked out a new paint color for his bedroom and what he wanted on his walls (sharks). Though we don’t always take his advice, his involvement makes some tasks more of a good memory than a chore.

2. Yard Work
Deadheading roses, pulling weeds, watering the lawn. Time to break out the clippers, a spade, and a hose. If age-appropriate, trusting a kid with a gardening tool might be the perfect opportunity to give him or her more responsibility. What kid doesn’t like new gadgets? Gaining responsibility starts with a bit of trust on your part. Give your kids a trial run and see if they can handle it. Some kids rise to this sort of challenge and enjoy the fact that you entrusted them with such responsibility.

Gaining responsibility starts with a bit of trust on your part.

3. Washing and Waxing the Car
These two jobs take my husband hours to complete. But this year, he started enlisting the help of our kids. With the kids helping, they all rock out to his favorite tunes and talk through all the steps. And when they’re done, the car—and their faces— shine.

4. Changing the Oil
Does your son like to see how things work? Does your daughter like building things or playing with machines? Joining you or your hubby with routine car maintenance might be a great activity to do together, especially if your kids are into Matchbox cars, monster trucks, or any of the animated shows out there for kids, such as DinoTrux. Even if they’re not, invite them to join you and you might discover something new about your kids in the process.

5. Raking the Leaves
This is something I do every fall with my kids. They both have their own rakes and honestly, they spend more time chatting than raking, but we have fun and it’s a task that needs to get done. I’ve taken so many cute pictures over the years of my kids sitting in the pile of leaves when we’re finished.

6. Shoveling Snow
For some reason, my daughter loves this duty. Every year, she volunteers to head outside and help shovel the driveway. She’s gotten very good at the job, too! When she’s done, I serve up some hot chocolate. Come to think of it, maybe those fond memories of her hands wrapped around a warm mug are part of the reason she loves to shovel—the two are interlinked in her memory.

7. Basement Cleanup
Every so often, this needs to be done. Vacuuming, sweeping, dusting. Getting rid of dead spiders and centipedes. Organizing tools, toys, bins. The number of things to accomplish can be daunting. But having extra helpers can make this job easier—and more fun for everyone.
In what other situations can you ask the kids to help?

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ASK YOUR CHILD... What are some of the best hiding places in our home or our yard?

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