As a mom, in general, I frequently wonder if I am doing things well, if I am on the right track, etc. As a mom of a toddler, I frequently wonder if I’m losing my mind! One thing that’s helped me keep a bit more of my sanity lately is teaching my little one to be more responsible and independent—capitalizing on her incessant desire to “help” me around the house! So I gave her some chores, set her up for success, and she does GREAT!
Here are 7 chores for toddlers they can do on their own:
Originally, I wanted her shoes neatly in the closet but that didn’t work so well. So I got a big bucket with a resting lid (not snapping). She plunks her shoes in there, replaces her lid, and we are good to go! It allows her to be creative and independent when choosing which shoes to wear that day to “match” her outfit!
2. Clean Clothes
Most of her clothing is incredibly wrinkle-resistant which means they can go in drawers. We have a dresser for my toddler with six drawers. I labeled the drawers with one big letter each (or you could use shapes, superheroes, or colors): “S” for shirts; “P” for pants; “B” for Bedtime Clothes; “D” for dresses; and “U” for underwear and socks. I showed her how to do it—repeating what goes in each drawer a few times. Now I can give her articles of clothing and tell her to put them “where they belong” and off she goes…most of the time!
3. Dirty Clothes
We have a short standing hamper in my girl’s room. I point to the piles of dirty clothing in her room and tell her where to put them and then she puts them away.
4. Pet Food
My girl loves animals and, since she has been old enough to say the dog’s name and “food,” she has been reminding me when the dog’s bowl is empty. So we now have the dog food in another huge bucket with a lid (we live in Florida, have you seen our bugs?) with a big cup in it. When we tell her to, she puts two cups of food in the dog’s bowl and replaces the lid. She is delighted she helped the dog!
This is a new one in our house. One night when I was washing dishes, I sat her at the table and gave her a towel and the plastic dishes. She dried those dishes! Granted, they were not as dry as I typically get them, but she had fun and enjoyed helping.
6. Dinner Table
Your toddler, as well as mine, can help set the dinner table. She knows we typically have four people at the table and places the napkins around the table. Sometimes she leaves extras which is helpful in the case of spills. But she is participating in the family dinner routine. She can also place the forks and spoons when we give her the correct amount.
In our house, regardless of who went to purchase the groceries, everyone removes them from the car and helps put them away. Now my toddler cannot possibly lift the same amount my teenager can, but she is still given light groceries to take into the house. She has her own shelf in the pantry which she helps to stock. That shelf, along with a drawer in the fridge, allows her some independence if she is hungry and wants to get food herself.
Regardless of what will work in your home, simplicity is key with toddlers along with a healthy dose of patience and a teachable spirit. When I remember I am helping her become responsible and independent (not perfect), I breathe much easier. Instead of noticing that I have a toddler fork at my spot at the table, I notice she remembered I love the color purple.