The washing experiment

Anyone with young kids knows that doing housework takes longer with little helpers but hopefully we also know how important it is to help our little cherubs feel helpful. Alexis always wants to help. It’s an attitude I’m very pleased to see in her even though it is difficult for me to not squash her efforts due to the fact that I am a recovering perfectionist. I’m frequently developing ways to allow her to participate in day to day chores in way that suits both her and me.

She never tires of setting or clearing the table, although the things I let her touch are limited to her plate, William’s plate, her cutlery, cups, water jugs, sauces and cheese. She consistently asks to help with the dishes but that’s something I have to be in the right mood to tolerate. She helps me change William’s nappy by bringing a clean nappy and wipes and putting the old nappy (once I’ve bagged it) into the bin. She’s starting to get the hang of packing up toys although she almost always gets distracted along the way.

Her favourite and most skilled area of expertise is laundry. She can do all the individual steps when prompted. She can carry clothes to the dirty clothes basket, load the clothes into the washing machine (I don’t let her anywhere near the powder though), swap clothes into the dryer, turn the dryer on, unload the dryer, separate clothes into hers/Williams/mummy’s/daddy’s and with a little reminding she can put her own clothes in their correct drawers. Of course it is easier and quicker for me to do these things myself instead of guiding her but that is entirely beside the point.

She gets a little out of whack on the days I decide to use the clothesline though.

I have had her handing me pegs from the time she could sit up but I guess these days she thinks it’s beneath her. She really wants to hang the clothes on the line. “You lift me up please mummy. Lexi hang the clothes on the line.” “No, mummy will do this. You can hand me pegs though that would be really helpful.” Then she steals pegs off William to give to me so she doesn’t have to bend over to pick them up herself. Without fail.

So today (Wednesday) I dragged the clothes airer over from the back patio to next to the clothesline. I was already moving the baby, the laundry trolley, the washing basket and the washing, so the airer didn’t make much difference. I set it up for her and let her go wild.

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She was very proud of herself.

I might need to purchase some more pegs though.

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The best part is, later in the day when everything was dry she could take them off by herself while I brought the rest of the washing in. William helped with the pegs. I’m not sure what the fascination is between kids and pegs but I certainly know there is one. I might as well make the most of it. It’s a great activity for learning motor skills and they get to be a little bit like mummy and it’s one less thing I had to do.

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That’s what I’d call a win-win.

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