Put those babies to work: Chores for toddlers

Moms often struggle with finding the balance between keeping a house running (laundry, vaccuuming, dusting, mopping, more laundry) and interacting with their young children. Instead of tending to daily chores while small children play under foot or nap, have children  help with the  household chores.

Toddlers have the ability to help with various chores around the home, making an important contribution to the family. Involving young children in household chores increases their self-help skills, encourages independence and builds self-esteem. The best part about a toddler helping with various chores is they tend to think helping is fun and are incredibly eager to help out Mom or Dad.

Chores for Toddlers

Chores for Toddlers

In the kitchen, toddlers can help sweep up floors with a small handheld broom and dustpan. They can wipe down tables and chairs and take nonbreakable dishes to the sink at the end of a meal. Toddlers can also help load items into the dishwasher, such as spoons, reusable  containers, and plastic drink cups.

little girl in pretend kitchen

Toddlers’ rooms are also a great place where they can help out Mom or Dad. Toddlers can put their dirty clothes into the laundry hamper and  place shoes  into an easily accessible shoe bin. They can put toys away into a toy basket and help tidy their sleeping space. Young children can be taught how to hang up clothing, such as knit shirts or jackets, onto child-sized hangers.

In larger family areas, such as the living room, toddlers can help out by dusting with a dry cloth or a premade duster. They can tidy pillows on couches, put books on lower bookshelves, and help deliver   “lost” items  to their appropriate location in the house. Toddlers can also be of assistance in the laundry room by helping sort whites and colors, putting wash into the machine, and folding small items such as washcloths and towels.

Involving children in household chores at an early age teaches responsibility and  establishes the notion that a  family  needs to work  together as a unit to keep their house running efficiently. Although a toddler is quite able to help with a variety of chores, be mindful of the child’s safety. Cleaning products should never be given to a child to use nor should toddlers be allowed to help clean around hot water, stove tops, or dangerous items such as kitchen knives. Avoid micro-managing toddlers as they complete their chores, instead provide positive guidance and  praise them for a job well done.

How does your toddler help out at home? Leave a comment and share with fellow readers about how your little ones help contribute to household duties.

5 Comments

  1. We pick up his room together every night before bed, it is a small start for our little guy.

  2. Like this idea! At three years old, my twins are pretty handy with the broom, the vaccuum and unloading the dryer. They also like to put their plates in the sink. They make up for this domesticity with periods of rioting and random toy tossing.

  3. We’ve just starting to introduce formalized chores to our son (4). He’s always helped clean up his toys, but we’d like to get him moved toward helping with the “family” chores. He now has to unload the silverware from the dishwasher and he always enjoys helping with laundry. BUT I LOVE the idea of getting him to clean off the table after dinner! Why didn’t I think of that! We’ll let him brush the crumbs and wipe it down after every meal! Not to mention using the swiffer duster – how easy!! THANKS FOR SHARING!

    BTW – Just started following you from Lewisville!

  4. Well, I have a teen in the house. Any tips on how to get her to help?

    My experience is that the toddlers love doing what the adults are doing but as the grow older they realize that it is actually work and love it less and less.

    -Renee’
    @FunCityGal

  5. Love this! Our toddler helps with putting silverware away and putting her dishes/cups in the sink. I never thought about having her wipe the table or fold small laundry! Thanks for the ideas!!

    @Renee’- maybe your teen can earn money for them? Have a friend who doesn’t do allowances for her 4 kids, but they can earn “fun” money by doing things (ie- load of laundry [wash/dry/fold]= $2.50, vacuum room= $1/house=$5, etc)? Maybe that will help get them motivated??

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