Are you noticing your toddler is obsessing over doing things herself or wanting to do things like you? Can you put that to use with some housework?
It can be so exhausting as they hit that phase of wanting to be grown up, but still lack the capability to do many tasks. I decided that instead of stressing out to embrace this phase and give my daughter things she can do that help me out too.
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Why Involve your Toddler in Daily Chores
As a stay at home mom I often hear that I should be doing all of the housework, but in our house we believe that the family makes the mess the family cleans the mess.
I of course do more of housework as I am home more often, but when Lucas is home he helps too and we are teaching the kids that they too will help. It is something that as they grow up and are on their own they will need to know.
Not to mention they live in your house right? And will one day have their own house? And you would like to walk in the house when they are 15 and see they started their own laundry and maybe I dunno unloaded the dishwasher!
The positive parenting program talks about training your child to help with family contributions instead of calling it chores. This is just one of the amazing reasons I love following this program and will continue to use it in my household. Want more information? Check out this free webinar and enjoy 10% off.
I will share my house is far from spotless, I mean right now I think 5 tornadoes made their way through my house and brought with them a few friends. IT IS A MESS! But we have had fun outside this week and played much more than we cleaned and I am a-okay with that!
How Can Your Toddler Help With Daily Chores
So what Kind of help can your toddler offer?
- in the kitchen
- other household chores
- outside tasks
- garden chores
Chores Your Toddler can do in the Kitchen
- Sweeping, Adella has loved to push the broom around since she was 1. Of course she’s not really doing much but she loves it and then holding the dust pan for me and dumping it in the garbage! I don’t know about you, but I can remember holding the dust pan for my grandma!
- Helping load and unload the dishwasher. Adella love to help put away the dishes and I have her put all the silverware in the dishwasher and push the buttons to start it.
- Washing dishes is one of my toddlers favorite things to do. She will “wash” while I cook supper or can our garden produce. By wash I mean filling cups and emptying them and maybe wiping down some already clean dishes but she loves it. I desperately need to get a learning tower for my girls it would be much safer for this task.
- Baking and cooking is something I live for! It is my zen place and I love to include my girls in it. It is not only a great opportunity to teach them a health relationship with food, but also math! So much measuring and mixing! And it really is fun!
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Other Household Chores Your Toddler Can Help With
- Laundry! Another task I’m just not that big of a fan of, but there are so many different ways to include the little ones! Pushing the basket is a big hit in our house, and it is fun to just do for no reason! Adella also enjoys taking all the clothes out of the dryer and throwing away the lint. When it comes to folding we have been working on folding towels and mating socks these usually lead to more giggles then actual success! So I don’t have her help put the away because that leads to me having to fold again and stresses me out, but I do have her bring me hangers and we we work on colors! She loves trying to put clothes on the hanger but has yet to be successful.
- Cleaning up toys! So this is one that is done all day long, but we make it fun sorting the toys and playing catch with small toys. Then when toys are cleaned up for the night we listen to music and dance and then Adella runs in big circles!
- Putting away groceries is always fun in our house. Adella loves to sort the cans and put them on their shelves almost as much as she loves pushing the little cart at our grocery store. Again including them in these tasks and talking about food is so great for them and their relationship with food.
Outside Chores Your Child Can Do
Working outside is probably one of my favorite things to do. Not only do we get to be outside but something about making my yard look good is soothing. Not to mention it tends to wear the kids out a bit faster then playing inside.
- Picking up sticks is not the most fun but kids love it. We made a huge pile of sticks and made it a competition to see who could find the most sticks, carry the most, the biggest stick, and the biggest pile. It took us about an hour but it was so much fun!
- Raking leaves is a fun one because who doesn’t love to jump in a big pile of leaves! It can be so hard to do here because it is always so windy, but Adella thinks it’s fun to throw the leave in the air and watch the wind take them away!
- Sweeping off the sidewalk after you mow. Again sweeping is so fun for toddlers and grass is fun to play with you can even get out the hose and spray it off!!
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Gardening Chores for Toddlers
We are avid gardeners and the property we rent has apple trees and a pear tree. I love it and I really want my girls to love gardening so I wanted to introduce it as soon as possible.
- Planting! This is a great opportunity to work on counting and pointing out differences between seeds. Showing them how different seeds are but they are still the same thing a seed is a great way to talk about how different people are, but we are all still people. Your toddler can help make the trench, and plant the seeds then water it!
- Watering the garden is a chore that is not always necessary but this year we had a few dry weeks that were also over 100 so after 7 pm we would give the garden a some water. I would have my 2 year old help hold the hose and then fill the watering can and water some of the farther plants. It worked out great and she was so excited to do it every night before bed.
- Weeding, we don’t weed a ton as it really just makes the garden pretty, but we do a little in the beginning so our plants get plenty of sun. This is the time to teach our children the different plants. Point out how the leaves look different and they grow differently.
- Picking is of course the best part. Adella loves cherry tomatoes so she just picks them and eats them while we pick the rest of the tomatoes. But it is her job to pick green beans and she puts everything in to the bucket for us. We talk about how different the plants are and the vegetables.
- Washing the produce is always fun! Depending on what we pick we may just fill up the tub with water and wash them in it a few times before we take them inside or just like dishes she helps me scrub them in the sink. We learned about apples floating and that pears sink! I honestly didn’t know pears would sink but it was pretty cool to learn that with my girls. Adella keeps telling people that pears go to the bottom and apples float. I am so happy to help in all of this early learning.
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Our Favorite Toddler Size “Toys” for Helping with Chores
Why is it Important to Teach your Children How to do Chores
In my opinion it is more important to teach our children to be self sufficient than it is to teach them math and science.
Why, you may ask?
Simple, if they go out into this world at 18 and go off to college or start a job and they don’t know how to cook or how to start a washing machine are they do well? I don’t care if they are at Harvard if they are bringing home dirty laundry for you to do because they can’t something is wrong.
I know plenty of women who do everything for their kids and continue to do so after they move out and I am not saying they are bad parents because they aren’t. But they are doing their children a disservice. And maybe they need to feel needed but that is not the way to go about.
The fact of the matter is one day they will need us for something and I don’t want it be because they have no clean undies!
Does it take time to train them how to do some household chores? Of course it does, but that time will pay off ten fold. When they are 10 and can start the washer and help fold and know where there own clothes are you will be happy you taught them.
Now the key to this is to not make it “chores” these are family contributions and as part of the family everyone is required to do their part because that is how the family can be successful.
No Chore Charts
With this in mind I do not believe in chore charts or reward charts! Those things just don’t work! Plain and simple!
Using a chore chart makes your child only do tasks because they will get a reward and that is not how life works! Shoot I wish I got some candy because I did dishes but I don’t and nor should your child. You want them to help because that is how your family works, not because there is something in it for them.
Want to learn more on this topic? I suggest the Positive Parenting Program. In full disclosure I am an affiliate but I wouldn’t be if I didn’t absolutely love the program. I have become such a better parent since starting Positive Parenting Program. It is costly I won’t be shy there, but with my link you will save 10% and you can do a payment plan of just $22 a month! It is WORTH it!
Take the time to teach your toddlers and young children to do household chores it will make your job much easier! And remember it is not too late. It may be harder to stop doing everything for your older children and they may not like it but one day you won’t be in the next room to do it all!
What kind of chores do you give your toddler? What have you taught them that they just love to do?