I never set out to give my toddlers chores to do. You might be thinking, “That’s too young! Toddlers can’t do chores!” That’s what I thought too, that is until I was constantly tripping over my boys while trying to do my own household chores.
Let’s face it, toddlers want to help mom, even when mom doesn’t want or need help. But what better way to teach your toddlers to do chores than letting them help mom?
The number of chores you give your child to do will depend on your child. Some kids want to help more than others. At this age, the important thing is to teach them to clean up after themselves, not to try to get them to clean the entire house.
One of my sons is not interested in helping me pick up toys. He helps me for a minute then moves on to something else. However, he loves helping me with laundry and unloading the dishwasher.
My other son has to have everything around him arranged in a certain way. When we pick up his toys he makes sure everything is picked up and in its place. One day when we were picking up the family room he went into his bedroom and picked up the entire room. When we found him in there his room was spotless, and he’s not even 2 years old!
Besides picking up toys off the floor at the end of every day, I don’t require my boys to do certain chores, except as they want to help me. There are, however, a couple of chores they especially enjoy.
I realized my boys were old enough to help with the laundry when they started taking their clothes out of the dryer and running into their room to put them into their drawers! So now I let them put their own clothes away, and don’t worry about what drawers they put them in. The important thing is that they are helping and putting their own laundry away. They also enjoy putting their clothes into the washing machine. I take turns picking each child up so they can drop some clothing into the machine.
I had a terrible time trying to keep my toddlers out of my dishwasher until I realized they just wanted to help take dishes out of it. For awhile they handed me silverware to put away (I take all of the sharp knives out first), then they decided that they wanted to put the silverware into the drawer. They can’t even see into the drawer, but they drop it over the edge, into the drawer, then I put the silverware where it belongs.
I’ve had a lot of fun letting my toddler boys help with household chores. They don’t see chores as work, they think they are hanging out with and helping mom, which is what is important to them, and as they get older they will learn that household chores are a part of family life.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of What’s for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For more recipes, organizing tips, home decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking at www.creativehomemaking.com.