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.
For a detailed age wise list of chores for kids check this post of mine.
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.
9 thoughts on “5 Surprisingly Easy Toddler Chores To Teach Life Skills”
I love love love this! People look at me like I am nuts when I talk about toddler chores. My son has been doing them since he could walk and he’s 3.5 now and loves to help. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Its easier to teach them good habits young.
Definitely, and like all things when these interests are self-initiated it translates into long-term habits. Toddler chores should be all about having fun and channelizing children’s innate curiosity.
I agree with encouraging young children to help. If a child wants to help we should encourage it. I disagree with forcing kids to do chores but I believe that if we encourage a young child who wants to help that child will become a helper and will always want to help when he or she can. I also agree with teaching kids skills but not in order to force them to act like free labor by doing our housework for us. I disagree with lists of age appropriate chores and forcing kids to do them. I also disagree with the excuses used to force chores on kids. I grew up without being forced to do chores and I am a responsible 42 year old man not lacking in anything. I can do any household chore, etc. My sister is the most hard working woman you would ever meet yet none of us were forced to do chores as children.
I am all for encouraging children in a supportive and gentle environment. At this age, my son is more interested in household chores than his toys. Because he is a keen observer of his environment and sees us do chores around the house. This makes it a perfect opportunity to introduce him to chores through play. As long as parents keep the child’s innate interests in mind when doing any activity I don’t think there should be any problem. It only helps children grow up into confident individuals. There is no need for forcing chores or for that matter even play (some kids don’t enjoy toys as much) on kids. Best to go with the flow and focus activities around child’s interests.
My 2 year old daughter loves helping me around the house too. She takes turns feeding the cats with her two older sisters. She also helps me with the recycle and uploading the dishwasher. She’ll also help me clean up toys when I show her how and she’ll help me in the kitchen while cooking.
That’s wonderful. They are so helpful at this age 🙂
Great list. My toddler loves emptying the dishwasher. I get her to help me with it as often as I can.
Thank you, Diana. It’s always wonderful watching them go about doing these chores with such interest. I think 2-year-olds are the readiest lot to do chores. It’s the right developmental age to introduce chores.
Great list! It’s so true that we need to implement responsibility into our children early on. I am a single mother with three children under the age of 5. The eldest child I raised with printable charts. Now I use the Manini app for three children. These are the same printable cards but in the phone. In the app, you can mark the completion of tasks and children like it very much. And the app has a goal Board that lists all chores and self-care for kids under the age of 5. We mark together with the children the tasks that have already been mastered. Also they actually ask for tasks themselves to make a mark the task. I felt much better. And I’m not nervous and it’s easy for children to become independent.