Teaching children at a young age to be helpful and responsible will serve them (and you, busy moms and dads) very well in the future. But how can a toddler help out? Recently our family has started finding ways that our toddler can feel included and important in the household tasks that need to be done.
By including our little one, we all benefit. First, while some of the tasks may actually make my work a bit harder to begin with, as I show her how to help and end up redoing her job later while she’s not looking, she will get the hang of how to help soon enough. Plus, there are a lot of small things she can do that speed up the chores rather than slow them down.
Another reason why these tiny hands helping is important is that by giving our little munchkin a job to do, she can feel empowered by being included. This will increase her self-confidence, self-worth, and a wide range of skills that are being developed as she helps. As an added bonus, she is kept busy while I do what needs to be done, so I’m not chasing her around while trying to tackle housework. Everybody wins!
Easy Chores for Kids Who Are Younger
Passing clean laundry from the bin to be hung or folded.
Gathering up her toys into a bin to tidy. (We sing the “Clean Up” song as a prompt, which works very effectively for us, and makes tidy time into a fun game.)
Helping put dirty laundry into the washing machine. (Our washer is front-loading at floor level, so this works well.)
Feeding our cat dry food. She is in charge of scooping it out of the bag, carrying it to the bowl, dumping the food in and returning the scoop back to the bag. (Remember, at this age stick to one-step directions. Once the first step is complete, then you can direct your toddler to follow the next direction.)
Wiping her face and high chair tray after meals. (This one still requires that us parents wipe up afterwards, but she’s practicing – and enjoying it!)
Carrying small grocery items from the door to the kitchen after shopping trips.
Finding her shoes, jacket or any necessary items for leaving the house. (Again, give one direction at a time. For example, let her follow through on “Get your shoes” before asking her to find her jacket. As toddlers attention spans are fairly short, and distractions are everywhere when you’re on the hunt for something, they may need several reminders about what they were to do. Be patient!)
Putting garbage/recycling in the bin. Having my little sweet pea help with disposing of diapers, used Kleenex, empty toilet paper rolls, and any little bits of trash or recycling around the house is very exciting for her.
When our little Z is able to follow directions to do her part in helping with what needs to be done, I can see the pride written all over her face and in the way she holds her little body. It feels good to be useful. It feels good to help someone out. It feels good to make someone else smile.
And it also feels great to know that the time we’re putting in now to help our little one grow into a responsible and helpful human being will make the future of our housework and chores easier. I mean what are kids for if not for free labour and hilarious moments? (Joking, joking. Take it easy.)
How do you get your little ones to help out and learn responsibility?