10 Chores Toddlers Can Do
It’s never too early to start teaching children responsibility and good habits; even toddlers can benefit from pitching in. While they may be a bit too young to grasp the concept of regular chores, chore charts, or an allowance system, they are still capable of offering assistance with many household tasks, and can begin to form the foundations of good cleanliness habits through helping their parents and older siblings with household responsibilities. Here are ten of the things that your little one can do to help out around the house while starting to learn how to be responsible, organized kids.
- Picking Up Toys – Putting toys in their appropriate places, whether in her bedroom or in a designated spot in a common area, is a chore that your toddler is capable of and should be encouraged to do. Learning to put things away after she’s done playing with them at a young age will help her to maintain that habit as she gets older.
- Matching Socks – Helping to match socks isn’t just a chore that toddlers are capable of, it’s also a great way for parents or nannies to help them learn color and pattern recognition. Little ones may have trouble matching all white socks, so be prepared to offer some guidance and loving assistance while they’re helping.
- Setting the Table – If your toddler eats daytime meals or snacks at a table that’s just his size, he can help to set that table before he eats. The safe, unbreakable dishware favored by most parents of toddlers won’t shatter if he drops it on the way, and performing a task for himself will satisfy the need to assert independence that most toddlers have.
- Clearing Their Own Dishes – After eating a meal, a toddler can help her parents and learn to straighten up after herself by clearing her own dishes. Provided that she’s able to reach the table where she eats, she can perform this task without assistance. If she’s still taking her meals in a highchair, or if she eats at the family table with a booster seat, an adult may have to hand her the dishes before she can take them to a designated place.
- Dusting Low Surfaces – During the toddler stage, kids love to help out. Dusting, a tedious chore by adult standards, can be a blast for little ones. Low surfaces, such as coffee tables and end tables, are likely to be just the right height to allow a toddler to reach them. Putting a sock over your toddler’s hand will allow her to dust without using a wand duster, which may be unwieldy in little hands and could lead to broken knick-knacks.
- Making Their Own Bed – Though no toddler is going to be able to achieve military standards with their bed-making skills, they can pull the blankets up, put the pillow in its appropriate place and smooth out any wrinkles they notice. As kids get older, parents can help them learn the intricacies of making a bed properly; during the toddler phase, it’s more important for kids to form the habit of making their bed than to focus on doing it impeccably.
- Helping to Clean Up Spills – Toddlers and spills go hand in hand, as any parent or childcare provider is well aware of. Between the ages of one and three years, kids are capable of helping an adult to clean up spills, especially those that they’re responsible for. Learning to clean up their own messes is a very important lesson for little ones, though an adult may have to help at this young age.
- Feeding Pets – Depending on the sort of pet that you have toddlers can help with their feeding and watering. Dumping a cup of dry food into a dog or cat’s bowl is simple enough for little ones and their developing motor skills, and it also teaches kids the importance of caring for another living thing. Fish and other pets than can suffer a dire fate from overfeeding might not be the best choice, as toddlers tend to be overzealous and are likely to provide more food than is strictly necessary.
- Straightening Up Common Areas – Clearing away clutter in common areas is a task that toddlers are able to help with, especially if some of that clutter is the result of their own behavior. In addition to learning the importance of clearing their own mess away, toddlers can also begin to grasp the concept of helping others by assisting an adult during the straightening process.
- Putting Dirty Laundry Away – Laundry is lightweight and easy for little hands to grasp; as long as the designated laundry receptacle is a low basket rather than a tall, lidded hamper, a toddler is more than capable of picking dirty laundry off of the floor and dropping it into a basket.
At the toddler stage, kids tend to approach chores with more enthusiasm and gusto than actual skill; attempts may be clumsy, and little hands may not have the coordination skills to perform very many chores perfectly. It’s important that parents don’t lose patience and take over when a little one is taking longer to complete a task than they’d like; also, toddlers should never see a parent going behind them to redo their chores. If it’s necessary to finish the job, parents are advised to wait until the child is otherwise engaged to avoid making them feel inadequate by redoing the task.
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