From the birth of your baby, you would have started off your parenting journey doing everything for him since he is wholly dependent on you for all his needs. Yet time flies and soon he is a toddler – he can walk short distances on his own, pick up his toys and feed himself. Is it possible that he can help with chores?
Yes. There are chores suitable for your toddler and the benefits of getting him to do chores are beyond lightening your workload! Chores can help your toddler to learn taking responsibility early in life and have a sense of how a family functions and helps each other. Some chores can also help your toddler with his motor skills, and practice recognizing patterns and shapes!
Here is a list of chores age-appropriate for your toddler to do!
1. Keep toys in the right box or designated place
2. Pack away bath toys
3. Put his dirty laundry in the laundry basket
4. Take his own laundry basket to the washing area
5. Fetch diapers for change
6. Choose his clothes to wear
7. Hang his towel on hook
8. Wash his own hands
9. Dress himself (with assistance)
10. Clear his own plastic utensils and place them at the sink area
11. Put his own trash in the wastepaper basket
12. Make his own bed
13. Add cereal to milk/ bowl
14. Put his clothes on hanger
15. Prepare his own easy-to-make healthy snack
1. Match socks and roll them together
2. Sort each family member’s clean laundry into the right pile
3. Fold clothes
4. Dust the floor with a light broom
5. Wipe spills
6. Water the garden or plants (that you don’t mind if they over-water!)
7. Wash fruits and vegetables
8. Set the table
9. Clear the table by throwing away the food scraps
10. Fetch certain products from the supermarket
Tips and Precautions
While getting your toddler to do chores is good for building his independence and sense of responsibility, it is important to bear in mind the below tips and precautions to ensure that chores for your toddler are safe and positive for his development.
#1 Encourage, not Punish
Encourage your toddler to do chores by doing alongside him and giving him praise when the job is well done. Do not punish unduly for not doing chores as your toddler may be tired, or not fully understand what is expected of him.
#2 Not a form of Punishment
Do not use chores as a form of punishment for your toddler as he will then view chores negatively. It may also be much harder to encourage him to do chores in the future, or he may get confused whether he is being punished.
#3 Set up for Success
Set your toddler up for success by giving him the right tools – child-sized brooms and utensils to use and carry. Be reasonable in the weight of the things for him to carry, or for the length of time he has to perform his chores.
#4 Demonstrate Patiently
Demonstrate patiently the chores which require some coordination such as folding clothes, or sorting the clothes. Also keep your movements slow when demonstrating. Be patient if your toddler doesn’t get it right the first time.
#5 Be Specific with Instruction
Sometimes we multi-task and do various things at the same time. However, it is difficult for your child to do so and it is best to keep to one task at any one time and give specific instructions.
#6 Let Go
If your toddler can’t perform all the chores well, let go instead of looking irritated or angry! Restrain yourself from wiping the spill that he cannot clean off completely or if he over-water the plant. (If you really have to do so, do when your toddler is not looking!)
#7 Start Young
It is important to start chores at a young age so that it becomes a way of life – something that your toddler (like other family members) have to do to help out. It also helps your child to feel empowered, and not entitled.
#8 Have Fun
Chores with your toddler can be bonding time – don’t treat it as a chore! If you let go a little, and live with the imperfectly completed chores, you can loosen up and start to have fun!
How much chores you would like your toddler to do is really up to you – don’t be scared to let him try out new responsibilities but also don’t be pressured to get him to do the same chores as your friends’ children. Chores help your toddler to understand what is needed to be done for the family and not taking you or others for granted.