Helping Kids (And Parents) With Chores

As an aerospace engineer, Maria D’Orazio worked for years designing structural parts for aircrafts and spacecrafts. More recently, she has been applying her skills to creating a line of products that provides tools to enable keiki to do their chores effectively. This, she says, will help both parents, by lessening their chore load, and children, by teaching them responsibility.

Her business, Practical Products Responsible Kids makes its official launch at the Oh Baby! Family Expo, which encompasses Hawaii’s Toy & Game and Party Expo and runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 11-12 at Neal Blaisdell Center. There, D’Orazio joins more than 150 vendors who have products or services targeting families with children.

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D'Orazio's son Aleksandr feeding the family pets with the Kiddoes Feed the Kitties Food and Water Station
PHOTOS COURTESY MARIA D'ORAZIO

After leaving her engineering career to raise her daughter Sirena (and later a son, Aleksandr), she did miss it. But the joy of being home with her children was not something that she wanted to sacrifice. As a stay-at-home mother, D’Orazio faced a whole new set of challenges: caring for her keiki and doing household chores — while, of course, having quality family time.

“There’s a certain age when kids love to help you around the house,” says D’Orazio, who moved to the Islands from Washington, D.C. two years ago with her family. “But, sometimes, it’s harder to let them help than just to do things yourself, because you have to go behind them redoing things

and cleaning up. But I realized that kids really need to help you as much as possible because that teaches them the basic skills of caring for themselves. It teaches them about taking pride in their work, gives them self-esteem, and makes them appreciate all that you do for them.”

To complete chores correctly while still involving children, Practical Products Responsible Kids features tools like the Kiddoes Feed the Kitties – Food and Water Station that provides an easy way to feed their pets without the mess. With food and water bowls placed in a larger container, this product makes the process spill-proof. It also features an attachment strip that prevents it from being accidentally knocked over.

“The best designs always seem simple. But this assembly takes into account many things and is engineered to work properly,” D’Orazio explains.

Practical Products Responsible Kids also offers a Garden Chip Clip — a cute bag clip adorned with flowers that will encourage kids to save leftover food — as well as a Door Mail Bag. Place the bag on your child’s bedroom door, and the two of you can communicate by writing letters.

“Kids love getting and sending mail. This gets kids to use their writing skills for fun.”

D’Orazio’s newest product is the Toy Raker, which assists with clean-up after playtime. She explains that it lets “kids rake their toys into place … and place each in its proper storage position.

“The rake is designed with soft tips so that it will not scratch your hardwood floors or snag your carpet,” she adds.

D’Orazio works tirelessly to make sure that she gets each product just right. She tests each for about a year before deciding to make them available to the public.

Overall, D’Orazio hopes that her products can help empower kids.

“That’s where your work ethic begins — in being responsible for yourself and being responsible to help your family by doing your share of the work around the house,” she says. “I think it’s just as important to teach that to your kids as it is to teach them math and sciences. And, as you may guess from my previous profession, I’m a big fan of math and sciences.”

For more information, visit practicalproductsresponsiblekids.com. For more on the Oh Baby! Family Expo, call 239-7777 or visit ohbabyfamilyexpo.com. coconnor@midweek.com