Simple Chores for Toddlers
Friday has become cleaning day at my house. Monday through Thursday our home might seem like a battle field because if I’m being completely honest, I am tired! We are both working parents of two toddlers and there is dinner to be made, dishes to be washed, bubble baths and story time, working on my blog and oh, you know, fitting in some adult time once the babies are asleep.
Ever since we put the babies into daycare, Friday has become my day. Contrary to what that would’ve meant a few years ago, I am not referring to shopping and mani’s but cleaning with no interruptions and fitting in an hour or two of blog work.
As the babies get older, I’m sure it’ll become easier and I am taking baby steps to make sure of it by slowly incorporating toddler chores into their daily routine. Our little ones are only 2 and 1, and before you give me the side eye, relax, I am talking about simple chores for 2-year-olds.
When Achilles’ asks me to let him help me vacuum, I let him. Why? Because teaching kids to do chores is one important factor in how to raise responsible kids. Yes, it’s going to take me that much longer to get through cleaning but when he’s older, it’ll pay off ten-fold.
Ever heard of the Maya method to get toddlers to do chores? It’s basically the result of researchers documenting that kids in Mexico with ties to indigenous communities tend to be more helpful than children without indigenous ancestry because as young as 1-year-old, they are encouraged to watch and take part in chores. Over time, the kids become more competent while remaining eager to help out. From what I’ve seen, I would also add that in a lot of households in Dominican Republic -especially more humble ones-, seeing kids even under 10 years old carrying water from the river, mopping, and running to the colmado (bodega or small grocery store) so food can be prepared, is a norm.
Having them take part in simple chores will help them to grow up seeing it as a part of their daily routine instead of an actual chore or as a punishment as many kids perceive it. Below are some simple chores for 2-year-olds that I implement at home. For age-appropriate chores for older kids, check out this list.
PUT TOYS AWAY
After turning their toy box inside out and once they are done playing with the two toys they wanted out of what feels 100 little toys, I call out “clean up time”. When Achilles is in an extra cheerful mood, he follows along with “clean up, clean up” while they both help put all the toys away. Of course, there are days where one of them will want no part in cleaning up and others when their toy basket lands on their head as they ignore me and continue to play. Sigh. I’m just a mom learning to choose my battles.
DISHES IN SINK
Putting their plate and cup in the sink is a perfect simple chore for 2-year-olds. Heck, even our 1-year old does it. The earlier they start, the easier it will be for them to do it without a second thought.
No, our toddlers aren’t washing their own clothes but they do help out by taking their dirty clothes to the hamper.
WIPE UP SPILLS
Whenever Achilles’ spills something or accidentally gets crayon on the couch, he asks for paper towel to clean or to help me clean up.
It all sounds effortless and it is, yet giving a few simple chores to your toddlers helps to raise responsible kids.
The cherry on top to having your toddlers do chores is that research show that children need to do chores to become successful adults. Simple chores like taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry and washing the dishes when these are age-appropriate chores for them, of course, will teach them that work is a part of life.
How about you, what kind of chores did you have growing up?