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How many times have you told your toddler to go play when they are getting in your way, but they genuinely want to help you with whatever you are doing? Many times toddlers want to help their parents, but their parents are too busy and not willing to take the time to teach them how they can help.
Then a few years later when they are older they are expected to start doing chores, but now they don’t want to help anymore. I’m sure there is more than one reason this happens, but one is probably because they weren’t encouraged to be a helper when they were younger and now they have other things they’d rather be doing instead.
I have encouraged my boys to “help” whenever possible since they were old enough to sit up and I’ve made sure to always tell them “thank you” for their help. And so far they both love helping me with whatever I’m doing; though my oldest is only three, so I guess I’ll see what happens when they are older. Though I’m going to try to keep it that way as long as possible.
The earlier you start letting your child help, the easier it will be for them to learn to enjoy helping their parents. Always start small with whatever your child is most interested in and don’t force it. They may not be very good at it at first but be patient with your child, they will learn.
Helping do simple chores is an excellent way for your child to practice their motor skills; whether they are helping fold laundry, picking up toys, or setting the table. It takes time to learn how to complete small tasks perfectly, but with practice everyone gets better.
To help get you started, here are some ideas of chores your child can help you do. Some are harder than others, so start with whichever ones your child shows the most interest in or are the easiest.
Also, telling your child “Thank you” is very important. Adults and children normally don’t enjoy doing anything without some sort of thank you or reward. And besides, it’s always a good thing to set a good example for our kids.
Dusting is easy and fun for toddlers. I usually use old socks to dust with; small ones for my boys’ hands and large ones for me. Or you could buy or make a matching set of dusting mitts for you and your child.
Throw Trash Away
My boys love throwing things in the trash can. I let them throw junk mail, diapers, used packaging, etc. away for me, supervised of course.
Pick Up Toys
This is probably the easiest chore for little ones but the hardest to finish. At first it is best to only have a few toys out at a time, otherwise, they will get distracted long before they finish picking up the toys.
Talk about the colors of the clothes as you sort them and let your child help separate the different batches of laundry.
Put Clothes into Washer
Even before they could walk, my boys liked to sit on the dryer and throw clothes into the washer.
Push Clothes into Dryer and Close the Door
This is easy for toddlers to do. I push in the heavy clothes and they get to do the rest.
My three-year-old likes to help fold, so he gets to fold the washcloths and some of his clothes.
Put Away Clean Clothes
Kids can put away any clothes they can reach.
At first, spoons are easy and safe for children to put in the dishwasher or help dry. When they are a little older and more coordinated, they can help with the other unbreakable dishes. I let my one and three-year-old put away any unbreakable dishes that they can reach where the dishes belong. It’s amazing how quickly they have learned where everything belongs!
Vacuum and Sweeping
My boys get really excited when it’s time to vacuum. They love getting out the vacuum and putting it all together and pushing the on button. When I sweep the floor they take turns holding the dustpan for me.
Taking Care of Pets
Carrying the food dish and helping use the garden hose to fill the water dish are easy tasks for children. Sometimes it can be messy and we’ve had a few mishaps with dog food going everywhere, but mistakes happen when they’re learning.
I let my boys each have a paper towel to help me wipe the windows while I’m cleaning them. If you’re worried about using chemicals near your children consider switching to E-Cloth and use only water for cleaning.
Little ones that can walk can help set the table, by putting utensils on the table. And if you have dishes that don’t break easily such as Corelle dishes, they can help set out plates and bowls on the table, too.
Help with grocery shopping
Put Groceries into the Shopping Cart
Most kids like to put things in the shopping cart, so instead of them trying to put random things into the shopping cart, teach them what you want them to put in the shopping cart.
Unload Groceries at Checkout
Kids can help unload groceries at checkout; then they will be too busy to be distracted by the candy and toys at checkout.
Carry Groceries into the House
At home, kids can carry the lighter and smaller items inside and help put away any that they can reach.
I would wait until they figure it out themselves; because when they do, they’ll want to do it all the time just for the fun of it. At least my boys do. When they do figure it out, have them dress or undress themselves, even though it may take a bit longer. It’s good for children to learn to be independent and do things all by themselves.
Don’t be in a rush, enjoy your children while they are small, they grow up too fast! Let your children be involved in your life and daily activities; because, before long they will grow up and have other things they would rather do.
Do you let your toddlers help you with chores? Let me know in the comments below.