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Parenting

Teaching Your Toddler to do Chores

Eva Benmeleh, PhD
January 3, 2019 . 2 min read

1. Chores are beneficial

You may have hated chores when you were growing up, but the truth is that they offer many benefits for children. Household responsibilities not only teach the value of organization, responsibility, and appreciation for belongings, they also boost a child’s self-esteem because he or she is making an important contribution to the family. Even toddlers can start helping with age-appropriate tasks that will help them learn to enjoy their responsibilities early on.

2. Cleaning up toys

Once your child is about 1 year old, he or she can start helping you put toys away after playtime. At this stage, you want chores to be fun, so let your toddler know when it is time to clean up, and add some sort of fun ritual to the process — you could sing a song or make amusing faces and sounds. This way, your child will start learning to look forward to this new chore!

3. Laundry time!

What toddler wouldn’t enjoy digging through a laundry pile? Laundry can be a fun, low-risk chore, as long as you teach your little one that clothes in the hamper are dirty and that clothes in the machine stay there until you take them out. You can teach them to fold small clothing items or match socks to build a variety of other skills too. Be sure that you stay patient and positive so that this chore is enjoyable for both of you.

4. Preparing for meal time

If you use plates and utensils that aren’t easily broken, your toddler can help you set the table at meal times. You can teach your child how each place setting should look and give him or her the pieces to make it happen. This chore can be fun because your toddler will readily see the result — everyone gets to eat!

5. After meals

You’ve probably noticed by now that your toddler delights in imitating much of what you do and say. You might have even noticed him or her trying to lend a helping hand with your chores around the house. While some chores aren’t suitable for toddlers due to the products used, wiping up the table after mealtime is a good way to get your little one involved.

6. Things to remember

Teaching your toddler chores may be easier said than done, so it is important to start out with the right attitude about this process. Try to remember that chores are about learning and practice at this age — not speed or perfection. Your toddler will probably take longer to do any of these chores than you would take to do them yourself, so try to stay patient. Each chore will also likely turn out a bit messier than if you were on your own, so try not to focus on the end result. Instead, try to be realistic with your expectations and keep things fun, so that you child benefits as much as possible.

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