Toddler Chores? What? Yes, you heard me right!
I am all for teaching essential life skills to children. Regardless of gender, all children should help with basic chores around the house. This encourages independence and instills a sense of responsibility from a young age. There are a number of age-appropriate toddler chores that are easy and manageable for 2-3-year-olds.
Developmentally too most children become interested in household activities through observation and pretend play. Channelizing this curiosity is very easy and sets the tone for future responsibilities around the house.
AGE APPROPRIATE CHORES FOR TODDLERS
Helping with cooking
Around 18 months of age my son started showing a keen interest in cooking-related activities. Though he still couldn’t use his hands well, it was a great first introduction to helping around with activities related to cooking.
Some of the activities toddlers can help in the kitchen with – peeling garlic, plucking and sorting leaves of leafy vegetables like methi, chopping potatoes (use a toddler knife), mixing pancake batter, making smoothies, helping make energy balls and patties.
Most of these do require some adult help. But an added bonus here is that helping in the kitchen helps encourage healthy eating. So if your toddler is going through a fussy eating phase you should consider cooking with them as a start to setting healthy eating habits.
Clean up messes
Another activity that was self-initiated by my son was cleaning. When he asked to help me clean up messes on the floor I promptly handed over the task to him. I always need to wipe away the last bit once he is done but even then it is good practice for the future.
Keep a dedicated cleaning cloth and a spray bottle filled with water for your toddler to use as their cleaning tools.
To get them interested in cleaning you can buy a set of pretend cleaning tools as a start. These will be the perfect size for their tiny palms to hold onto and ensure a good grip as they go about pretending to clean messes.
Helping with laundry and putting clothes away
My son watches me do laundry every day as a routine. He is always happy to help. I take his help in sorting clothes, putting them for a wash, folding the clothes once ready.
We even take this a step further and teach him to neatly add the folded stack of clothes back into his drawer. It takes some practice, but he loves the responsibility of arranging his own clothes drawer.
This daily laundry routine has also translated into an interest in dressing himself with no help from mommy.
Washing own plate and cup
As with every other activity once again my son asked me if he could wash his own plate. Sometimes we don’t even realize our kids are ready to do things on their own. When he asked me, I wondered why I hadn’t started already?
Buy a step stool for your child to get access to the sink and let them have a go at it. Somedays it is super messy, but he enjoys washing his own plate and cup and we go with the flow.
Putting away toys and books
Sounds easy right? You can start with something as simple as asking your child to start putting away toys and books once done using. Help your child and make it a game rather than a chore. Say to them, “let’s see who puts the most toys back in the basket in 2 minutes’ or offer help, saying “mommy will help you put your books back into the shelf”.
A few other toddler chores that I can think of
- If you have a pet, let the toddler help serve food to your pet.
- Washing toys.
- If you have a garden or plants around the house, the toddler can help you water the plants.
WHY GIVE THE TODDLER CHORES?
What is the importance of household chores? Well, getting toddlers to help with chores keeps them busy in a constructive manner. Along the way, they are also developing their motor skills, learning life skills, patience and responsibility.
As they grow these chores quickly become part of your toddler’s daily routine. That’s when you can assign designated chores to your child and maintain a chores chart.
Helping around the house is a part of being treated an equal in the house. They learn to be counted as responsible individuals in the household, not just playing a passive role in family life.
What toddler chores do you engage your child with? I would love to hear your ideas, leave me a comment below.