Early in my motherhood, especially as my brood grew, I realized the importance of teaching my children to become independent. I had four young children under the age of eight. My husband was in school full time and working. I was also operating a home business while trying to manage everything else. There simply wasn't enough time to get everything done.

Because of this, I had to rely on my children for help keeping up on the housework and meals. Here are some ways I kept my household from becoming a chaotic mess.

Have a Switcheroo Night

I do this once a week. The kids love it. Basically it means that the kids become the parents, and I become the child. They are in charge of dinner, often cooking simple things like pancakes and eggs, sandwiches, ramen noodles, hot dogs - whatever their level of expertise is. Each child has a job, with the youngest usually in charge of stirring the punch or setting the table.

This has been a great success, and often they request Switcheroo Night more than once a week. I have no objections to that. FYI: Switcheroo Night includes cleanup.

Keep Snacks On Lower Shelves

I like to keep the bread and peanut butter on a lower shelf where all my kids can reach it, even my three-year-old. If they're hungry, they know where to go. I also include apples and bananas. Sometimes they make a mess, but it's worth it. My youngest son feels like such a big boy. Especially when he brings me one of his gooey, squished sandwiches.

Teach Kids How To Do Laundry

I hate laundry. It's a never-ending cycle of dirt and smells. Because of my disdain for cleaning dirty clothes piles, I employed the kids early on to help me with it.

The cycles on washers are easy to understand, and once I show a child how to do it a few times, he or she understands. The only part the younger ones need help with is switching the clothes from the washer to the dryer. I have a step stool for this. My youngest daughter, who is six-years-old, has no problems starting or switching the laundry.

When it comes to folding, I carry the laundry into the living room and start tossing clothes into piles. My toddler loves helping with this part. Each kid then takes a turn and folds his or her pile and puts it away. They don't always put their clothes in the right drawers, but once it's out of my sight, I don't care where it goes. I just don't want to see it for a long time.

Being a mom is tough. It's hard to do it all, but we must remember that we have a family to help us. Let them. It's amazing what kids can do if you let them. Not only will it make your life easier, but it will also help them learn independence and confidence. And isn't that our ultimate goal as parents?

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