Chores are a great way to teach important life skills to your children. They give children a sense of efficacy, which boosts their self-esteem. Children naturally take pride in their ability to complete a task that is important to the household, to their parents, and to themselves. They learn the value of organization and appreciation for their belongings. Completing chores also teaches them responsibility, and if done in an age-appropriate manner, they can be fun too.
However, there a few things to keep in mind when it comes to chores and your toddler. If you are asking your toddler to help, it will probably take you longer than if you did it yourself. So if you’re in a rush, maybe that’s not the time to enlist the help of your little one. Also, the purpose is to practice the activity. Do not expect perfection. Your toddler is learning and will make mistakes and maybe some messes too. The following are some age-appropriate chores for your toddlers:
1. Toddlers as young as 1 year old can help put some toys away after playing with them. Once your toddler is done playing, let him or her know that it is time to clean up. Sing a song or make funny sounds or silly faces as you clean up the room together. This will make it a fun bonding activity for you and your child.
2. What about the laundry? Toddlers love tossing things around! Let them help you with the laundry. Remind them that once the clothes are in the hamper or machine, they cannot be taken out. Teach them the steps to the chore with patience and a positive attitude.
3. Setting the table. If the plates and utensils are within your toddler’s reach, ask them to help you set the table. Hand them objects that cannot break and aren’t sharp.
4. Don’t forget to wipe up. Toddlers love to imitate their caretakers. When you are done eating, give them a paper towel to help wipe up the table. Then teach them to throw it away in the garbage.
Remember to keep things fun and light. Keep your expectations in check, and enjoy your time with your little one.
Reviewed by Eva Benmeleh, March 2020
- You can start chores with your child as early as 1 year old, as long as you give them proper direction.
- It’s best to be as patient as possible—try not to teach chores if you’re really busy.
- Toddlers can help with setting the table at mealtimes or cleaning up their toys after playtime.