Chores for Your 2 Year Old Toddler
Age Appropriate and Responsibility Building Tasks for Your Toddler
Want to start building responsibility into your toddler? Want to make your child included in family chores? I've compiled a list of several tasks that your 2 year old can accomplish. Of course it goes without saying that any child over the age of 2 should also be able to accomplish these tasks. Start simple and build on the skills your child is learning. Chores don't need to be something that your child hates. In fact, chores accomplished even by the youngest of children can build confidence and give him/her a sense of purpose in family responsibilities.
Chores Your Young Child Can Do
Two benefits come from having your child do deliveries. It lightens your load in a helpful way AND, equally as important, it teaches your child the proper place to put away and find things.
Our two year old loves to deliver piles of sorted clothes to the appropriate bedrooms, take a diaper to Dad to help the baby, carry small items into the house from the car after a grocery trip, and carry books to the library drop off box.
2. Pick up toys
Seems like a "duh" item to list, but you'd be surprised how many toddlers have NO responsibilities in this area.
The common Mom phrase, "It's so much faster if I (the mom) just do it", might be true, but it is not allowing the child to learn how to clean up. It also steals the opportunity for you to reinforce the life lesson of cleaning up after yourself.
If you are hoping for a teenager who puts her clothes in her dresser and carries her dishes to the sink after meals, now is a good time to start practicing the habit of cleaning up after herself.
3. Help set the table.
It is helpful to stock small plastic plates and bowls and cups in a cabinet low to the ground so that your toddler can easily reach the dishes he/she is responsible for placing on the table. Start with just asking your toddler to put plates out for himself/herself and siblings. Or show the child where your silverware is kept and make him/her responsible for placing silverware out for all the members of the family. Start simple.
As time goes on (and as is age appropriate), you can start adding small tasks in this category. By age 5, he or she should be able to set plates, silverware, and cups out for all family members. By age 7, he/she should also be able to help put drinks in cups and get other drinks and condiments for family members from the fridge. By age 10, he or she should be able to fully set the table. Now, you can also start working on how to clean up the table after a meal is finished: scraping plates into the trash, loading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, etc.
4. Transfer Laundry from Washer to Dryer
This is one of our toddler's favorite jobs. When I am transferring the clothes from the washer to the dryer, my toddler pushes the wet clothes into the dryer and helps to empty the dyer lint. She really enjoys shutting (slamming) the door shut when she's done and giving me a high five when the job is complete.
Sound silly? Well, this 3 minute job is a great stepping stone for teaching your child about the process of clothes cleaning. As your toddler gets older, you will want him or her to understand the full cycle of clothes cleaning and drying. Getting them acquainted with the washer and dryer and their uses is a good springboard for other helpful chores your child will be able to do as he or she grows up: like sorting clothes, turning the dryer on, and eventually (before college hopefully) doing his or her laundry independently.
5. Help cook
If you can stand a little bit of a messier cooking area, try involving your toddler in simple pouring and mixing steps of cooking. Cracking the eggs is always a favorite, but a certain level of patience (and a sense of humor) is needed for this.
You want your children to have an appreciation for cooking and the cook who has prepared the meals for your family. Even toddlers can grasp the idea that people work hard to prepare meals. Involving them in the steps is an experience that shows the child that work is involved in the preparation of meals. Children need to learn that food does not "magically appear" at home, healthy and cooked to their liking. Hopefully them being involved in the process will help them learn about food and also give them an appreciation and gratitude for the steps taken to make the food and the mealtime such a special family gathering time.
6. Spot Clean
Our tile kitchen floor seems to always be needing something wiped up. Teach you child how to grab a paper towel and wipe up small messes. You'll have lots of instances to practice this skill since your toddler is probably the one who creates the most "oops" moments in your house.
Once he or she is good at spot cleaning, you'll be surprised at how many times you'll be able to give your child the responsibility of cleaning up his/her own messes on his or her own. Make wipes and paper towels accessible and before you know it, you might catch a mess being cleaned up before you even knew it happened.