Did you know that your toddler can start doing chores around the house right now?
If you’re like me, then you probably figured you’d have to wait until your kids are much older to do chores. Surprisingly, though, at this young age they are eager to help out!
In fact, their curious little minds make them natural little helpers, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get them involved.
Studies have shown that kids (as young as 3 or 4) who participate in household chores are more likely to succeed later in life both academically and in their careers—which is ultimately what we, as moms, want for our children.
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Starting Young Is Worth It
The best age to introduce small chores to kids is when they’re two-years-old.
Kids thrive when they have a daily routine and know what to expect. So when you can give them small, age-appropriate tasks to do around the same time every day, it leads to many great things.
Some the biggest ways toddlers benefit from doing chores every day is:
- They learn responsibility
- They learn accountability
- They learn basic life skills (that aren’t taught in schools)
- They help them feel like a contributing member to the family
- They teach time management skills
- They develop a good work ethic
- They prepare them for taking care of their own home one day
Toddler Chores Take Patience
Don’t expect to have a load suddenly taken off of your plate or for your life to become easier.
Just showing a toddler how to carry a dustpan and make it all the way to the trash can without dumping the crumbs all over themselves could take you five times longer to get it done.
That’s why doing chores with your toddler requires a lot of patience because they will probably slow you down or make the messy situation worse—but that’s okay!
Remember: at this age, they’re only helping. They’re not taking over the chore entirely.
The older they get, the more they’ll be able to do these tasks without your guidance.
Age-Appropriate Chores for Toddlers
If your child is 2 or 3-years-old, chances are they may already be expressing interest in doing chores.
That’s a good thing because you know they’ll be a willing participant—unlike when you’re trying to get them to eat their vegetables.
Here are 8 easy toddler chores you can start having your little one do TODAY!
Let your toddler hand you the dishes to put away when you unload the dishwasher (remove the knives first).
They can also help you clear the table and carry their plastic dishes to the sink.
You can ask them to hand you diapers & wipes, the TV remote, or just about anything that they can identify.
Throw Things Away
Making your toddler run “errands” to the trash can is another small chore they can do. Just be sure you’re watching what they throw inside. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught my toddler throwing away our shoes or electronics because he thought he was doing me a favor. 😂
Let your toddler make a mess, but then clean it up. From throw pillows that don’t belong on the floor to toys and even shoes that are out of place.
The key is to have a designated area where items like these live in your home so your toddler can start learning where everything goes.
Kids this young can’t fold just yet, but they can help you transfer wet laundry into the dryer, sort clean and dirty clothes, or put their dirty clothes in the hamper.
Have a family pet that needs to be fed? Your toddler can refill the water bowl (I’d give them a water bottle to pour out of) or scoop food into the food bowl for you!
Clean Up After Themselves
Once your toddler is done with an activity like pretend play, reading a book, or coloring, show them how and where to put it away for next time. You can even sing the Clean-Up song to make it fast & fun!
You can have your toddler help you wipe baseboards, window sills, and other low-surfaces. Take things up a notch and use an old sock to put over their tiny little hand. You can call it a dust “mitten” which makes it a little more fun!
Have Designated Clean-Up Times
If your toddler is at home with you all day, then you’re probably already in the habit of tidying up the house during nap-time. But it’s best to refrain from cleaning and leave the mess there for when they wake up.
Because if you’re always cleaning up their toys & crayons for them, it sends a message that they’re not responsible for their own messes.
A better option would be to have a clean-up time with your toddler right before their nap.
And if your toddler pulls out all of their toys & activities in the evening, then you should do a nightly clean-up too! Once they’ve had dinner and taken a bath is the perfect time to do toddler chores.
I hope this list of simple chores for toddlers inspires you to allow your 2 or 3-year-old to get involved more around the house! It’s not about perfection—it’s about participation.
So if nothing else, try to enjoy this time you spend together because they won’t stay little forever. 😩