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. Toddlers don’t need big lessons; just small, everyday things they can do with repetition until they learn them.
Age appropriate chores for toddlers
1) Use manners
As they grow, now is the time to start teaching little tikes 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 up small spills
If your toddler spills water from her cup, no biggie. That’s the perfect time to show her how to grab a small towel and wipe up the mess. Of course she may not gt 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 that life lesson.
4) Put own 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.
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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 their chores 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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