When your baby is big enough to make a mess but still too small to clean it up, picking up after her can be quite a challenge. Sometimes it seems like she goes through an entire load of clothes in a day or two. And let’s not forget all of those mealtime messes.
Once your little one is walking, it may seem that the messes increase exponentially. But soon your toddler will be big enough to start helping you with the housework. Granted, tasks will take longer when she is learning to do them. But this stage in your child’s development is prime time for teaching her responsibility. And chores are one of the best ways to accomplish that.
What Kinds of Chores Can My Toddler Do?
It’s important to start toddlers out with the simplest of chores. Telling your child to clean her room at this age will get nothing except a puzzled look. Telling her to pick up her dolls and put them in a basket is easier for her to understand, and therefore more effective.
Dusting with a feather duster is a favorite chore of children. It doesn’t even seem like a chore to most of them. Wiping off the kitchen table, watering flowers, and helping sort laundry are also easy and fun.
Getting Your Toddler Started
The first time you introduce a new chore, you will need to show your child how to do it. She will understand it much better if she sees you doing it. Explaining it in words probably won’t do your child much good.
You may have to guide your toddler throughout the process the first time or two. Even after she has mastered the task, it’s a good idea to stay with her while she is working. You can get some of your work done during this time too. The important thing is being there to talk to her. You could even sing songs or make a game out of the chore. These things will make chores more enjoyable, and she may even start looking forward to them.
Don’t forget to say thank you when your child successfully completes a chore. If she does a really good job, you could provide a reward such as extra playtime or a trip to the park. This will let her know that her help is appreciated and give her the incentive to continue helping.
Getting toddlers to do chores is usually not difficult if you start early. Most young children love to help Mom and Dad around the house. Just remember to keep your expectations low and do everything you can to make chore time a positive experience. By doing so, you will gain a helper and plant the seeds of responsibility in your child.