It is never too early to be teaching your child a thing or two about responsibility! There are many ways that you can incorporate a little bit of the grown-up world into your little one’s life. Always remember to start out small, with age-appropriate tasks, and always remember to praise and reward your child for a job well done!
There are a few ways to get started with this wonderful learning process. Here are a few ideas to get you rolling.
Setting the table
Lay out all of the necessary equipment for your meal such as plates, cups, silverware and napkins. You will need to do this task with your child several times before you can expect him/her to do it on their own. Remember that accidents do happen, so try to understand if a dish gets broken from time to time.
Clear the table
Have your toddler help you carry plates and cups, etc, back into the kitchen and place them on the counter. You can make these new tasks more fun by singing a special song while you cleanup.
Clean the table
Provide your child with a damp cloth and show him/her how to wipe off the table. When he/she is done, go with him/her to see what a great job they did. You can always help them clean up any spots they may have missed.
Making the bed
If your child is old enough, have him/her try to make their bed immediately after they get out of it in the morning. Even the youngest of toddlers can manage to tug here and there in a great attempt at this new chore!
Oh, the mother’s dream! Before your little one goes to bed at night, lay out the next day’s clothes. Ask your little one to dress himself/herself. Remember they may need help with buttons, zippers and shoelaces! As your child gets older, when it is time to dress themselves, have them rummage through their drawers and pick out their own outfits. This is a huge independence builder, and it can be quite fun to see what they choose for themselves! Remember not to be embarrassed. The most important part of expressing oneself is the ability to be seen for who you are. Don’t be afraid to take your self-dressed toddler to the mall!
Help Prepare Meals
Cooking with toddlers can be so much fun! When preparing meals, let your little one handle some of the smaller details. If you are going to be seasoning meats, for example, place all your seasonings in small bowls and allow your toddler to sprinkle pinches of the seasonings over the food. You can charge your toddler with pulling small fruits, such as grapes or berries, off of their stems to place in serving bowls. Let your little one get in on stirring cake mixes etc., and don’t forget to let them lick the spoon! As always, bear safety in mind and never allow your child to handle scissors or knives in the kitchen, and keep your child safely away from the oven, stovetops and open flames.
Feed the Animals
If you have a domestic pet, get your toddler in on the feeding routines. Your little one can carry the cat bowl in for you to fill, or can help you hold the hose while you replenish the dog bowl. Caring for your pets is a very loving and relaxing chore in which to partake, and your toddler will love being such an important part of their lives. Remember to supervise your child at all times with your pets, and never allow your child to feed an animal that may be a potential safety risk to you or your child. Also remember that dog food and cat food pellets are small and may present a choking hazard. Remind your child that while Bingo loves the taste of his treats, they are quite yucky for us!
Helping at Bath Time
Put your toddler in charge of selecting the bubble bath. You can measure out the liquid and let your toddler pour it beneath the running water. Bath salts are also a lot of fun, and your child will love picking up the coarse salts and sprinkling them into the water. Buy assorted colors and textures for added fun! Don’t forget to buy a “fizzle” ball from time to time, toddlers love em, they smell great and turn the bath water pretty colors! Remember to never leave your toddler alone or unsupervised in the bathtub.
Picking up Toys
Even very young toddlers can learn about picking up their toys. Have your little one help you put away toys at the end of every day. Make a game out of it, seeing who can toss a toy into the toybox without missing, or see who can pick up the most toys first! Most children enjoy the aspect of cleaning up because they can see their progress very quickly. You can make cleanup even easier by staying organized. Get bins to separate toys so that your child knows where everything goes.
This is just a teaser of a list of great chores for toddlers to get you going. As your child gets older and ready for more responsibility, the options will never cease to end! Remember to always reward your child for a job well done. Hugs, kisses, positive verbal praise and incentives are all great ways to encourage your child. Remember to be patient and understanding. Children learn responsibility at different ages, at different times and in different ways. Get together with other parents and share your ideas and ways to keep your child active!