Wondering if you should initiate some toddler chores in your home? Ask any of your friends and you’ll get mixed answers about whether or not they had chores growing up. When I was a child, we had responsibilities, but we weren’t rewarded for them.
Now, my husband and I don’t necessarily use the word “chores” around our house, (we seem to prefer wording more like “helping out”) but there are some set out tasks that our 3 year old is responsible for. Also, he doesn’t nap anymore, and he tires of “quiet playtime” rather quickly these days. So he ends up following me around while his little brother sleeps, and helps out with the other random housework I try to get done during that window of time.
There’s some debate about assigning chores to children of any age, as some parents feel that they get in the way of play and imagination time, and that childhood should be preserved as long as possible. Personally, I feel that way about having a TV in the house, which many other parents choose to have (one of the reasons why we don’t!) but I’ll save that for a later post. There will always be more than one opinion when it comes to parenting and that’s why it’s important to trust yourself!
In my opinion, giving a child of any age a set of chores has many benefits:
- Chores teach valuable life skills. Yes your child is a child now, but one day they will grow up and move out. Schools don’t teach many life skills, so it’s up to us to teach them at home. Older children and teens can learn valuable skills such as finances, budgeting, meal planning, car maintenance, yard work etc.
- Letting a child have responsibilities shows you respect them. It lets them know you believe they are capable and responsible enough to do the chore, and that they can also contribute to the household.
- Chores can teach self-regulation and time management skills. An essential skill learned through balancing chores, play, and schoolwork.
- Chores contribute to a higher self-esteem. Children learn they are capable of the tasks and of contributing to the household. They can feel proud about getting their chores done.
My Top Age Appropriate Toddler Chores:
- Fetching the newspaper from the front lawn.
- Unloading the plastic plates and cups from the dishwasher to the counter.
- Vacuuming small sections of floor, especially if it’s from a craft or project they did.
- Setting the table of forks, spoons, and water.
- Putting the laundry into the dryer (with assistance).
- Using the salad spinner.
- Sorting and gathering library books to return.
- Assisting with supper prep: putting toppings on food, seasonings, putting veggies on plates.
- Putting shoes up on the shoe rack.
- Putting new bags in trash cans and compost bins.
- Making their bed.
- Sorting laundry.
- Raking leaves.
- Cleaning up toys into bins.