The catch is that all this enthusiasm and willingness to do anything to help out is paired with limited ability to perform much beyond basic tasks. Of course, we want to nurture, preserve and grow this natural urge to be helpful - but it can be frustrating when you are trying to get a task done in a timely fashion.
I try to
Our Toddler Chore List:These are the things that he is virtually independently performing - and actually move housework forward.
- Putting Dirty Dishes in the Sink - His dishes aren't breakable, so even though he can barely reach, he is able to drop them right over the edge.
- Putting Garbage in the Trash Can - At first he got a little gung-ho on this one and we had to be very clear that he could only put things in the garbage can that we told him to - but now he's a champ at trash and recycling.
- Putting Toys in Boxes (Tidying) - We are still working on separating out the book box vs. the puzzle box vs. the play kitchen - but he is GREAT at picking up all his toys and putting them into storage boxes before nap and bedtime. This is the most helpful chore of all, in my opinion. Especially right now that it's harder for me to bend down.
- Letting The Dog Out of Her Crate - First thing every morning and when we arrive home from an outing it is his job to open Talula's crate so she can join us for the day.
- Feeding the Dog - We measure out the cup full of food, and he walks it across the room to her dish and dumps it in. Thankfully, if he drops a few morsels Talula is more than willing to clean up after him.
- Laundry Piles - He loves separating out the laundry. At first this task would quickly devolve into dumping all our clean laundry on the floor, but at this point he is able to make piles that are pretty reliably sorted. Some of the non-folding items like diapers and wipes we can put right into the drawer after he sorts them.
Investment Toddler Chores:These are the tasks that end up being double the work when he "helps" - but we try to make the extra effort to foster his love of helping.
- Laundry- Letting him throw in articles of clothing one-by-one, measure and dump the soap, and push/turn the buttons/dials definitely draws out this chore, but we will be darned if we raise kid who goes to college not knowing how the washer and dryer work.
- Sweeping/Mopping - This one can get frustrating. Especially when he sweeps the dust pile away, spills most of the dust pan before making it to the garbage, or does more walking on a mopped surface than mopping. Still, he wants to help and he won't fall for the sweeping what's already been swept shtick.
- Cooking - Cooking is always a collaborative effort in our house, and even though toddler hands do slow the process down - it's really enjoyable to make meals with Leo. He knows he's not allowed to handle knives and will "touch his kitchen" (keep one hand on the play kitchen to stay out of harm's way) when we need to open the oven. It can get pretty messy - but this one has double-whammy benefits in that it also teaches him about where our food comes from.
- Gardening - Oh what a fiasco planting our container garden was! There was dirt everywhere. Seedlings were uprooted. A few were even snapped in half and didn't make it. Even now that the plants are mostly established we have to remind him that even though it is thrilling that we can "eat the leaves" of some of our plants, we can't just pull them all off. This one is also a two-fold benefit chore in that he learns about where our food comes from.
I think at just barely two years old that is a pretty well-rounded repertoire. We plan on adding/adjusting as time goes on - keeping his tasks age-appropriate. What chores did/do you assign your toddler and a what age?