Add a new crew to your delegation list -- your kids. My youngest, Rowan (2.5 years old) assembles his lunches, gets himself dressed, folds washcloths, clears dishes after meals, puts his clothes in the hamper, and vacuums with a Dustbuster.
The crazy thing? He likes doing it. Helping out around the house also teaches him independence, hard work, and responsibility. Here are some tips for mobilizing your mini-workforce:
Start small. Pick one task at a time. Show them how to do it and get them to practice. Here is a list of age-appropriate chores.
Adjust expectations. It won't be perfect, but they improve with practice. Invest today to make your life easier tomorrow.
Put things within their reach. Organize your kitchen to make their dishes accessible.
Positive reinforcement. Even if they mess up, thank them. If they feel useful, they are more likely to help in the future.
Get them to do what you want before they get to do what they want. For example, no dessert until they clear the table.
Turn it into a game. I showed my kids a video of Mary Poppins's Spoon Full of Sugar, and Chloe put all of her toys away without me saying a thing. Try my favorite game -- Who Can Clean the Fastest?
Put 'em to work!