10 Chores to Do With Your Toddler
Please note this is post is not called “chores toddlers can do on their own”, nor “How to have a clean house with toddlers”. No, no, no. I haven’t figured that one out. We’ve written a bit here on how to get your own chores done when you’ve got a toddler, but this post is about how to include toddlers in doing chores around the house.
This is a selection of things that toddlers will love to join you in doing around the house. In fact, doing chores together is one of the activities on our toddler years must do list, because to a child, there is little better than feeling useful in their family.
Here are ways you can include your toddler in household chores:
Unload Dishes and Silverware– I quickly unload any knives to get them out of temptation zone. I then put all plastic dishes onto the front of the dishwasher door and ask my toddler to put them away. She knows the bottom drawers is HER drawer and she love to toss them in there. The silverware requires me to tidy up afterwards, but my one year old feels quite proud of her ability to carry the silverware basket over to the drawer and unload it.
Watering– Just know the water only has a 50/50 chance of going precisely where you want it to…
Laundry– loading the washer is fun, pulling out and loading the dryer is fun too!
Bring this to…Your toddler might get distracted on the way, but many times they love being a messenger. Bringing big brother his shirt or bringing Daddy his book are fun toddler missions.
Pushing buttons! Yes! Buttons! Woo Hoo! Need a button pressed? If you’ve got a toddler they will do this for you. With gusto.
Can you carry this? If you’ve got a light grocery bag, or maybe you need help with a purse – toddler to the rescue.
Wiping things off– I’m betting your toddler helps make more than a few messes. Go ahead and hand him a towel to wipe up. Or spritz the window or cupboard fronts with a little safe cleaner and let him help wipe away the bubbles.
Stirring and pouring– You may have to allow a little extra cooking time if you include your toddler, but if you are able to do so, your little assistant will quickly catch on to how to help you make pancakes or cookies.
Close it up! Toddlers love to open and close doors, let them do it for you!
Put this in here! As I mentioned in my post about 4 words to remember for toddler activities, toddlers love to stash things. For many kids it’s as much fun to toss blocks into a basket as it was to dump them out. For my toddler, she particularly loves picking up little things. When I spilled a box of screws the other day, she was truly a great helper putting them back in the box with me.
Good luck including your toddler in the things you need to get done around the house! Remember they’ll do best if you tell them what TO do rather than what NOT to do, and remember all of this is new, new NEW to them, so they may take a little longer than you would.
Toddler Sized Tools for Household Chores:
Melissa and Doug has a sweet wooden set of toddler size brooms and mop.
Have Dyson Vacuum? (We got one last year to combat the never ending pet fur in our house…) Your toddler can pretend vacuum with their own modern take on those pretend vacuums from out childhood.
Toddlers can help with yard work and actually push around their own toddler sized wheel barrow. We received on of these as a gift when our youngest child was 3 and it lasted for years of mud and leaf carrying – far past toddlerhood, as you can see in the muddy picture here:
Tools for the garden that are small enough for toddlers also make working in the garden fun. Of course for tiny toddlers you might start smaller with just a hand tools for digging, but our kids loved using the small rake, even if it was still a bit unwieldy.
An easy to clean apron and a mixing spoon can be the beginning of helping out in the kitchen.
It may take longer, but including toddlers in household chores really is worth it. When we can show our kids ways that they can contribute to our family, we are able to connect with them during everyday situations, and we help them gain confidence and self worth.
OK, get to work! 😉
You can find a list of age approriate chores for kids here.
More fun things to do with toddlers:
- Our Favorite Board Games for Toddlers
- Toddler Years Must Do List
- Taste Safe Sensory Play for Toddlers
64 Positive Things to Say to Kids
Subscribe to Download your FREE printable of 64 Positive Things to Say to Kids
Shoveling snow my grandson loves to shovel snow and is a big help clearing off my deck . The grandchildren also just love to put the bills into the slot at the post office.
My toddler loves helping with grocery shopping. While in the store, I hand him items to put in the cart and he then helps unload the cart by putting them items he can reach on the belt. He also hands the cashier the loyalty card. When we get home he carries the light bags into the house and helps take the items out of the bags. He is 2.5 years old now and has been doing this for awhile. He seems so happy to be contributing. Every now and then we end up with squished bread because he dropped a can on it or the chips may be a bit more broken up, but it is worth his sense of accomplishment. I think it also helps him from getting bored and acting out at the store by giving him a sense of purpose. People always comment on what a good helper he is and how well behaved he is while we are at the grocery store. He also helps out with other chores around the house including helping with the laundry, dish washer, vacuuming and other light chores. He is the only one I know who gets excited about vacuuming and finds any excuse to pull out the vacuum.
I HAVE INCLUDED MY NOW 4 YEAR OLD IN TASKS AROUND THE HOUSE. SHE HEARS SINK WATER ANF NOW ASKS IF SHE CAN HELP WAsH DISHES . MY TRICK IS I ACTUALLYVWASH THEM. HANF THEM TO HER IN THE CLEAN SINK WATER WITH HER OWN SPONGE AND THEN SHE SETS THEM ON THE DRYING RACK FOR ME. SHE’LL Sometimes HELPwith transfering clothes from the washer machine to the dryer and occasionally she’ll attempt to help fold/ put away her’s and her sister’s clothes. She also loves to help vacuum…she’ll use the real one with me…then get out her toy popper her clothes and socks get put in the dirty clothes at the end of the night, her shoes go in her closet, and her cost as nd back pack geg hung up on her hook when she arrives home. Now the real challenge eill be to teach the baby all of this when the time comes. One down and still teaching and one to go.
Love this! Pinned it so I can save it for when my little one is a little older. Thanks!
I let my son who is 2 help me feed the dogs. He loves it. And when it’s time for their water bowl to be filled he hands me the bowl.
My son loves to help water the plants outside. He has his own small watering can that I fill for him. He doesn’t water too many plants but enjoys watching the water streaming out of the spout and making patterns on the ground.
He also loves helping with the laundry, although it usually involves him just rolling around in the clean sheets and towels on the floor. But who doesn’t love to snuggle in laundry fresh from the dryer!
These are such great ideas! We’re sharing this great post with our facebook followers this week! 🙂
How such simple tips can help me right away.
Sometimes we forget these cute things because we are so hasty(<– if i say it right, we want to do everything so quick ourselves).
Thanx. Have a nice day, greets,
My sweet Naomi (15 months) loves to feed our dog. Sometimes she completely misses his bowl and pours dog food all over the floor. We then sit down together and pick it up. This is one of her daily “chores” when I don’t have to go to work. She is also responsible for putting her clothes into her laundry hamper. She cracks me up when she walks to the hamper and puts in one piece at a time…so adorable!
So cute, and I bet it feels great to her to be a helper to you.
My daughter (2) is in charge of putting stray shoes on the shoe rack and my son (4) is in charge of sorting the dirty laundry into the bins in the laundry room and washing all plastic dishes since our dishwasher is not functional. I made labels with pictures for whites, colors, and towels to put on the bins, and he has a great time deciding where to put which clothes, and it saves me the steps of finding where everyone left their dirty laundry and of sorting out loads.
My son is only a year but we have already started on this – he is the light switcher, and although it is slow going sometimes, especially when all the lights need to go out before we leave the house, he gets mad if someone else does it! So even younger kids can get involved if you scale down and find something on their level or that you can carry them to.
My sons (18 months) love to help carry groceries from the front door to the kitchen. We plop the bags on the floor and they proudly tote each item in to the kitchen and help put it away in the right place. One is even a little macho man and is always grabbing the heavy stuff first.
We live in a wintery place and they know it is their job to put away their hats, gloves, extra socks, shoes, fleece and snowsuit once we get home.
They love helping cook too! The other day we made squash bread because dinner was prepared and they were definitely not done pouring and mixing ingredients. Oh and vacuuming is a big favorite too.
Having them help is the only way I can get chores done while they are awake so it is perfect that they like it so much.
And the sense of empowerment they get is amazing – you can SEE how pleased they are to be a productive member of the household. I was building shelves the other day and my 20 month old daughter was “in charge” of the screws. I was afraid it would end in disaster, but she plopped all the screw in every hole so it was there when I needed it. It wasn’t just ‘fake helping’, it was real, and I think she knew the difference.
She also loves dusting with a feather duster. And scrubbing the sink! (Although I hate how much water she wastes now that she can reach the faucet – anyone else have a solution for this?)
So true! It’s amazing how many “fun” things we do as part of every day’s “work” I love to let my 21 mth old help stir, and butter pans and put groceries away. It’s definitely worth the little extra time it takes to have her help.
Great ideas. My 2 year old loves helping with the silverware, and now she has started wanting to help with EVERYTHING! Good attitude! These are great jobs for her.
Lindsey @ GrowingKidsMinistry.com
The things I always forget are that my older kids really like some of the chores too. We’re finally getting in a better rhythm of them putting away their own laundry, and they really like that. Also they love to help me mop because they get to slide around on rags.
My kids like to fold laundry also, i hate doing the socks, so i let them help. It’s a good learning tool matching up between colors, textures, patterns. They need help putting them together, but its worth it 🙂
Great ideas, and easy to implement!
Awesome ideas. My kids do all those jobs but some others they like are putting their clothes away since each of them have their own colored bins I just fold them first then the oldest 4 tells the youngest 20 months where hers go. They also like getting a spray bottle and finding spots on the floor to clean up. Oh and another one is giving them a window cloth and letting them climb up to clean the windows!
They love to help out around the house and I love the help.
Cerys @ Rainy Day Mum
This is great – I agree there are so many things that they can help us with. So far this morning I have had help with bed making – it’s a lot of fun to pull off the duvet and shake it with mummy, then unloading and loading the dishwasher/washing machine and had a little helper pegging the clothes on the line.
I don’t advise though the help I got when I cleaned my windows which T decided would be great to lick off the vinegar that I was using for cleaning – YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love this post! I totally agree with you, kids love being included.
We’ve done this with my daughter since she was very little, now my kids are 4.5 and 2.5, and they are really great helpers! Within normal developmental limitations of course…
It took me a while to organise our house but now everything has its own spot, so the kids know where everything goes and they can help putting their toys and things away; and we try to do all the tidying up together as a family, so the kids understand that everybody needs to chip in to keep the house looking nice, that it doesn’t just happen by magic…
Not technically a chore, but still a way to get them involved in running the household, is to get them to pay at the shops: I always make sure to carry lots of $1 coins, so if I’m buying something that costs only a couple of dollars, I give them the money to pay for it. It’s a great way to introduce the value of money and counting skills, as well as being empowering because they feel responsible and involved and grown up, and they also get to interact with shopkeepers etc which is great for their social skills.
Love your blog 🙂
My son likes to “fold” laundry. I fold his clothes and he puts them in the drawers. The drawers are a mess and the crumpled clothes don’t always come out looking great, but he LOVES doing this with me. It is worth it!