Chores for Toddlers: Mom’s Guide to Chores for Busy Toddlers

Young kids are capable of more than you think and this list of chores for toddlers is the perfect place to start to give your child a head start on learning chores and responsibility around the house.

Once toddlers have left the baby stage behind, a whole new world opens up to them. They are now zooming around, trying to make sense of the world.

With all that zooming comes curiosity, and this is the perfect time to start teaching small life lessons about responsibility by giving them chores for kids that they can handle.

Toddlers don’t need big lessons; just small, everyday things they can do with repetition until they learn them.

Toddler Chores

Of course every child is different, so at the toddler stage expect there to be varying degrees to your toddler’s ability to do chores.

Also keep in mind that between two and three years old, the brain develops a lot, so what a toddler can’t do yet at two, he may be able to do by the time he turns three.

So when picking out chores for your young child, think about his strengths, not only physically but mentally as well.

Chores should be fun at this age and not a seem like a burden.

image of toddler boy filling a cup with water. Image says 10 chores for busy toddlers

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What Chores Can a 2 and 3 Year Old Toddler Do?

So what chores can a toddler do?

With help, toddlers can accomplish a lot. Simple, everyday household tasks are ideal for kids 2-3 years old because those are things they watch you do everyday so they are familiar with them.

Age-appropriate chores for toddlers

Here’s a realistic list of chores for toddlers. These tasks are everyday household chores that your toddler has seen you do plenty of times.

1) Use manners

Normally you wouldn’t think of putting manners on a list of chores for toddlers, but I think this is just as important as learning to keep house.

As they grow, now is the time to start teaching toddlers and preschoolers the proper time to say please, thank you, and all the proper manners we use in everyday interactions with others.

They won’t do it perfectly every time at first, but with repetition, it will start to become habit.

2) Put away toys

Kids as young as one and two can start to put away their toys.

Yes, it will require you as the parent to actually help them walk the toy to the toy box and possibly remove it from your toddlers hand and show them that this is the place to put it away.

But that’s okay!

The goal at this age is not to have independent kids that can follow commands and require no oversight. The goal is to start teaching them small tasks so that they gradually learn how to do things themselves.

After a few weeks of hand holding, you might be surprised at how they have picked on what you do, and can start to put away toys when it’s time to clean up.

3) Wipe small spills

If your toddler spills water from her cup, no biggie.

That’s a good time to show her how to grab a small towel and wipe up the mess. Of course she may not get it all completely up, but the point is to start to train her to take responsibility for her actions.

This would be a gentle introduction to an important life lesson.

4) Put cup and plate on table

One thing we’ve done in our house is make a kid drawer at the level of all the children. That way they can be more independent with getting the things they need on their own.

Try creating a drawer for your toddler that is at her height, and only keep a bowl, plate, cup and eating utensils in it. When it’s time to set the table, show her how to get her place setting and carry it to her spot at the table. She will soon learn that at meal time, she is to get her setting to the table to be served food.

By having the drawer at her level, you are making it easy for her to do it herself when the time comes. You’ll be instilling independence and responsibility in your toddler.

Recommended: Ikea dinnerware set for kids

5) Help with laundry

Fifth on our list of chores for toddlers is helping out with the laundry.

Toddlers can’t do laundry by themselves, but they sure do love to help with it.

They can help with simple laundry tasks like putting wet clothes in the dryer. If you have a front loader, they may be able to reach in and switch it themselves. If you have a top loading machine, you can pass your toddler clothes from the washer and let them put the clothes into the dryer.

It’s one of my toddler’s favorite things to help with.

6) Put clothes away

Yes, toddlers can actually put clothes away properly.

But here’s the secret:

You have to label their drawers with pictures of each type of clothing that belongs in each drawer.

Once they are able to see a picture of a shirt or a picture of a pair of socks and understand that the picture represents where the clothes go, they will be able to match their folded clothes and put them away.

7) Feed the pet

Another easy chore for a toddler is to feed the family pet.

Most pets are simple to feed and it requires minimum effort. Let your toddler scoop for for the dog or cat, sprinkle fish food in the tank or put water in the hamster’s water bottle.

Related: 5 Lessons having a pet teaches kids

8) Water plants

For watering plants, use a cup that has a pre-measured amount of water to avoid over watering.

Or, for added responsibility, mark a line on a cup and let your toddler fill the water to the line and then water the plant.

9) Sort utensils

A lot of adults don’t like this one but it is one of the more fun chores for toddlers.

As you empty the dishwasher, put all of the utensils in a pile (minus the sharp knives, of course). Then show your toddler which section of the utensil drawer each type of utensil goes in.

One spot for spoons, one spot for forks, etc.

This is not only a good toddler chore, but you’ll also be sneaking in a lesson in sorting and organizing!

10) Wipe table

A great way to teach kids to always clean up after themselves is to have them help you wipe the table after each meal.

They won’t get it squeaky clean so you’ll definitely have to go behind them, but the point is to let them help for practice and for life skills.

Things to consider about toddlers and chores

Even at this young stage in life, it’s good to start to show toddlers that they are an important part of the family and that they can help. Direct their energy to meaningful tasks so that they are always learning and absorbing useful information.

Often times they want to mimic what they see others doing, so be sure to perform your daily chores when they are around.

However, don’t force them to do tasks they don’t want to do yet.

Try to make the chores for toddlers fun, and if they resist, it could be that they are just not ready yet. Let it go and try again in a month. You may be surprised at how much they mature in that time frame.

Don’t get frustrated if you find yourself having to constantly help your toddler with these simple tasks even after you’ve modeled them time and time again.

Remember, they are still learning how everything works and certain things that come as second nature to you won’t necessarily be the same for them.

Show patience, and keep working with them. Before you know it, they’ll be old enough to do things without you having to ask and you’ll wonder where the time has gone.

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