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.
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.
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! 😉
More fun things to do with toddlers: