learning. creating. sharing.

Child labour? Or labour of love?


I am a big believer in young children joining in with household chores. Notice I didn’t say “helping out”. Because often joining in does not mean helping, sometimes it means just the opposite! But by joining in children are participating, and through that participation they are learning about being a part of a family and what that involves.

Some of the jobs that Pebble loves to help out with are hanging out washing, washing dishes, putting dishes away, dusting, packing up toys (least favourite, I will admit), carrying bags, putting away groceries, baking and cooking.


I’m not saying that it’s always convenient or that we are always finding ourselves in Disney Movie Moments, whistling while we work and happily finishing chores together. However, I do find that if I am patient and willing to go a little slower it actually helps me to get jobs done if Pebble is involved. If she is happily busy she won’t be pulling at my trackies and begging me to play with her. Because we ARE ALREADY PLAYING.


As the weather has turned wetter we have had to bring our laundry inside to dry. This gives the best opportunity for Pebble to join in with hanging out the washing – our clothes horse is just the right height for her, and she loves to peg up the smaller items. She is quite particular about it too – one must always use matching coloured pegs per item of clothing, apparently. I guess these things come naturally rather than being nurtured, as I am most definitely a haphazard peg user. Check out Baby Mac for a discussion on this big issue, as well as other critical laundry matters.


Apart from getting a job done and learning about what it means to be a part of a family, allow me to get a little Early Childhood Educator-like on y’all and point out a few other things going on with this washing business… like the development of fine motor control and hand-eye coordination, practising colour identification, using strategy and logic (um, sometimes) when choosing where and how to hang a piece of clothing, creatively inventing new songs – or reinventing old ones – to connect with what she is doing (check out the video below for some singing in action).

Washing Lady


No fancy toys, no preparation, just naturally occurring, child focussed, meaningful play. And getting jobs done! Super Mum Moment!

What jobs do your children like to help out with? What jobs do you WISH your children would help out with? Do you use matching coloured pegs too?


  1. My daughter LOVES to ‘help’ with the washing! :) It’s so fun to watch her enjoying pegging things. We often get several pegs on one item and none on another. But it helps and she’s occupied and enjoying it with Mummy!
    Bek @ Just For Daisy recently posted..Rainbow Pasta Threading FunMy Profile

    • I get a laugh out of watching the peg placement too, there are some very unique hanging techniques going on around here :)

  2. I’m a firm believer in helping and getting jobs done, with a lot of scaffolding at first. My older boys now are quite competent. Next I need to teach some of the kids how to fold washing cos I am over it!
    Seana Smith recently posted..Getting Back To The GymMy Profile

    • Hi Seana, wouldn’t it be lovely to have a washing folderer in our homes. A GOOD washing fairy … I’m not sure that Charlotte will be able to help me with folding washing any time soon. Scrunching and stuffing it in a drawer, yes, but not folding ;P

  3. I have found that now Peanut is three, she is actually, honestly, absolutely useful. It did take three years of going slow to get here, though!

    She lets the chickens out in the morning, can run a load of washing start to finish, wash the dishes, make the beds, clean the windows and sweep, rake and vacuum.

    But can I get her to put away the toys? Oh no siree Bob. She sees that as a chore. The rest is just play…
    The Accidental Housewife recently posted..Pride goeth before the fallMy Profile

    • Wow, fantastic, what a little legendary Peanut you have! I’ll have to get Charlotte to start learning a few more skills. And no, putting away toys is not fun around here either :)

  4. I’m with Charlotte, I’m a matching peg kind of girl!
    Mum of Adult Kids recently posted..For Ben, on his 21st birthdayMy Profile

    • Haha, good for you, go those matching pegs! You’re laundry will be lookin a whole lot cuter than mine :)

  5. I realised the other day that I need to do more of this. I asked my little man to help pack away his blocks and he said “no mummy that’s your job”. I swore then that I was going to change that quick smart or I may find myself having to apologise to some nice girl in about 25 years or so :-)
    Rhia recently posted..Breaking Up Is Hard To DoMy Profile

    • Oh, I definitely still get a little bit of cheek every now and again and a little bit of “no, you do it!”. She’s absolutely selective about what she helps with, but I’ll take what help I can get :P

  6. Even better when they become useful! My 4 year old loves to help out and is really, genuinely a help. I know it won’t last forever so I am going to MILK it.
    Rachel @ The Kids Are All Right recently posted..You can tell a lot about a kid by their bedroom wallMy Profile

    • MILK it for sure, we all know that come the teen years this kinda help will be long forgotton.

  7. Gorgeous! My Small Child loves to “help” with the folding ( by often unfolding) and making the bed (which always involves a usually not allowed ‘bed jump”), but you’re right! It’s all learning and playing, and I love watching how proud she is when she has done something herself.
    MsMandie recently posted..Accept It.My Profile

    • Haha, love the bed helping. That reminds me of Charlotte helping me strip the sheets one day. She pulled on the quilt cover and said “HEAVE!”. Adorable. They’re so cute when they’re proud of themselves. Charlotte’s often saying “not now mummy, I’m busy doing jobs” when I ask her to join me with something else. It seems she has her own to do list :)

  8. Honestly, I need to do this more. I know i want to but I don’t want the chore to take longer so I don’t get her involved. We do somethings together like cooking dinners and cleaning up toys but I do need to make more effort on this part of my parenting. Thanks for the reminder.
    Penny recently posted..Seven Super Wildlife ShotsMy Profile

    • There are definitely times when it all seems to hard, but for the most part it makes everything easier and more fun. It’s hard making everything happen though, and us mum’s are the best at selling ourselves short. You are an awesome mum!

  9. Gorgeous! Labour of love…definitely!
    A couple of months ago we started teaching the boys to pack their toys away and yes…we made up a little song.
    These days, they “join in” with hanging the clothes on the line…but they have this weird thing that they like to do – sing into the hills hoist. Yes, like it’s a microphone. Strange, but true :)
    Grace recently posted..FYBF – The Bow Chica Bow Wow EditionMy Profile

    • That’s just adorable! And you know what? I remember doing the same thing when I was a kid! I specifically remember sing A-ha’s ‘Take on me’ LOL

  10. Daniel loves helping me out with things around the house, though I do use the word helping lightly! His favourites are unloading the dishwasher, stuffing nappies and pressing buttons on the washing machine! Great idea to encourage them to use pegs for fine motor skills, I’ll definitely be letting him help me with the washing now! Xxx
    Momma B recently posted..316. Potato Printing [SBL]My Profile

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