Despite what you might think, toddlers love chores. They love being part of the family and more than anything, they love being independent. The toddler age is the perfect age to foster that independence and help them develop important life skills associated with toddler chores.
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What are Toddler Chores?
When first getting started with chores for your toddler, you might not know what they are capable of or what is age-appropriate for them to do. I have made a quick printable reference guide for you that you can print off and hang on your refrigerator for easy reference. We actually have ours laminated so it can withstand all the mess of living with a toddler.
Getting Started with Toddler Chores
Step One: Talk it Out
Getting started with chores for toddlers can start as early as a year. At this age, children are starting to understand what you are saying to them and attach meaning to vocabulary. Of course at this stage they won’t be able to do any of the chores on their own (or maybe at all) . But talking with them as you do your chores is important.
For example, as you wash the dishes, explain what you are doing. When its time to put their toys away, point out where they go. This is an important part for starting early.
Step Two: Model
As children’s brains are still developing and they are still learning skills, it is important to model any new skill several times before expecting them to do it. Chores are no different. It is important that you don’t save all your housework and clean up for when the baby is napping or has gone to bed. Find ways to do small cleaning tasks when your toddler is around so that they are familiar when it is their turn.
Step Three: Involve Them
The closer your toddler gets to 18 months and beyond, the more your toddler will want to be a part of anything you are doing. In our home, we make this fun by doing a 5 minute house clean up. Everyone cleans and everyone gets involved. It is fun and most importantly, quick.
Tips for Encouraging Toddler Chores
Keep it Short and Sweet | They don’t have a very long attention span, so don’t plan on anything that takes more than 5 minutes to clean up or put away.
Keep it Simple | Clean one thing at a time. Start with just the balls, or start with putting the spoons away. Before long, your toddler will have plenty in their skill set of chores.
Give a Choice | Choice is incredibly important when dealing with any child, especially toddlers that are so set on being independent.
Make it Fun | Make it a game. I’m over at Melissa & Doug today, sharing one of my favorite game for toddler chores!
Do you have any chores your toddler loves doing that I left off the list? I’d love to hear about them! Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram or subscribe by email. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.
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