Let's face it. No one likes chores. We'd all prefer not to ever have to do chores, but they are a part of life. Instead of avoiding them, you can make them a little more exciting for you and your little ones.
You can add math in when you are doing the chores. While that may seem silly with a baby, you can count the towels you have folded. You can use the dishes to help your child sort. "Plates go here. This is a saucer." You also can have your child help you with separating out clothes or at least can watch you in the process.
Try dancing when you are doing your chores. Most babies love music. While you probably play classical during naptime or to help stimulate baby's brain, you should pick up a couple of fun compact discs when you are out. You and the baby can pop in a CD and groove to it while you are cleaning. Yes, it will take you longer, but it is worth it. Your baby will have some fun from watching Mom or Dad dancing around and will enjoy the music as well. You can add some calorie-burning moves and get a mini-work-out from it, too.
While your baby cannot help pick out groceries, you can begin to teach valuable skills at this stage. When you take your baby to the grocery store, you can show him or her the items you are selecting. Talk while you are making your decision. "Well, we need spaghetti sauce. I really love the garlic-flavored, so we will get that." You also can give your baby a choice if you are getting something that comes in different colors. Hold them up, and chances are baby will go for one of them (probably the brighter one). Put that one in the cart and say, "okay, good choice." Your baby will begin to understand that he or she is part of the family and can make small decisions.
If you have an older baby who is toddling around, you do not have to wait until baby is sleeping to clean. Simply make baby cleaning supplies. Buy a couple of soft clothes, a duster, and a spray bottle filled with water. Explain that big people cleaners can hurt baby, but baby can use these cleaners. Put them in a basket, and your baby can "clean" along with you.
Start a chore chart now! Again, you will have to improvise, but by the age of one, you should have taught your baby that he or she will need to do work to be a full citizen of the house. Put up a small chart with pictures of the toy box. Then explain that baby must help pick up the toys every evening. While you will end up putting away the toys, make baby feel a part of the process. Then allow him or her to put up a sticker when the chore is done. It teaches responsibility, and that is your biggest job as a parent!
By Julia Mercer