5 Tips for Having Toddlers Do Chores

I grew up doing chores every Saturday. As far back as I can remember, I was responsible for my own space and mess. Because of this, I felt very prepared and independent when I left for college (unlike many girls I knew who didn’t know how to load a dishwasher, do laundry, or even clean a sink and mirror!). I was grateful for this, and it helped influence what kind of mother I wanted to be. I always knew I’d have my children do chores throughout the week, but I didn’t know when to start training them.

Well, Rhys decided he wanted to start his chore training a few months ago. I typically scrub the house every Friday, and he would follow me around, wanting to “play the games” Momma was “playing.” So, he’d “sweep”, “help” with laundry, and explore the dishwasher. I decided to help him learn how to do some chores “properly.”

As of today, Rhys helps me sweep and swiffer the floors, empty the dishwasher, pick up his toys, throw away his diapers, do some scrubbing, and do the laundry. Of course, he is only 15 months old, and can’t do any of these by himself, nor properly, but he is learning the concept. And that is the important part. It is helping him learn what is part of the family’s routine, learn responsibility, and gain confidence in his own abilities.

I’ve decided to share a few of my tips on how to have your toddler help you with chores.

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Even 1 year olds can help do chores. These tips will help you to instill good habits in your children!

 

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

One of the best basic ways of learning is repetition and direct instruction. Be consistent in how you do your chores and when to be responsible. For instance, we always wipe the table and sweep the floor after each meal. Now, Rhys immediately goes to the broom closet when I take him down from his high chair.
Guide them, if need be. Show them, then help them, then ask them to show you. Be patient until they get the concept.

Make it a Game

Make chores fun. Do it with your toddler, with a smile and a positive attitude. Play some kid or Disney songs and dance while you clean. Get them their own play equipment, for example, for sweeping, buy them a little play broom, If your toddler gets distracted, don’t force them to continue the chore–they are only toddlers, after all!

Parental Supervision

Again, these are toddlers! Supervise them! Give them age appropriate jobs and don’t let them touch harsh chemicals. Yes, Rhys “scrubs” the toilet, but he never touches the scrubbing part of the brush, nor the toilet water. When I Windex the mirrors, I have Rhys wipe a different mirror with no Windex on it–that way, he is stilling learning the how without me having to worry about the chemicals.

Have Patience and Be Flexible

Sometimes, Rhys’s “help” is counter-productive. Be patient with them. If a chore takes longer than normal, it is ok. You are teaching, not just doing it yourself. Take breaks. It takes me about 2.5-3 hours for me to completely finish all our scrubbing and chores, but I have to do it in two increments, so Rhys can have  break. Don’t get frustrated. Just think of this as bonding and learning time, which it is. So, it is ok to go about chores one at a time with some mistakes.

Thank and Praise

No matter how much or how well Rhys helps, I still thank him. If he is taking clothes out of the washer as I am throwing it in, I still tell him thanks for helping. If he pounds the dirt pile with his broom as I try to sweep it up, I praise his effort. It is very important to encourage your child in everything they try to do. This way, they are more willing ot do it. It also shows your love for them.
Do you have your toddlers “help” with chores?
 
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • These are so great! And how fun that Rhys wants to help! I try to let Marcus help out when he shows interest. We do have him do very small chores he can tackle on his own: bringing his plate to the sink after meals, putting his clothes in his hamper when he changed at night, and of course, picking up his toys. I'm actually considering a sticker chart to entice him to do a little more.