A few weeks ago, I walked in to the girls’ room to get them up from their naps only to discover they had not been napping. Cakey had smuggled a crayon into their room and had proceeded to color the walls by Pie’s bed and her bed, the door, and her bunk bed frame. Lovely, right?
You probably think I scrubbed everything clean, don’t you? Well I didn’t. I also didn’t yell for James to come “find” it partly because he wasn’t home 😉 but mostly because I had a plan.
I went to the hall closet and pulled out a box of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (that I had been saving for just such an instance) and gave them to Cakey. I took her to the bathroom, showed her how to wet the eraser, wring it out, and scrub the crayon off the wall. I did help her clean up the mess but I made her do as much of it as she physically could. We have white walls and she used a green crayon so there was a lot of work to be done.
This event got me thinking about actual chores she could do. Cakey has been helping me clean since she was 15 months old or so. I never thought much about it other than that it was pretty entertaining. However, now that she is older and can understand simple commands better and can clean better I have started requiring her to actually do daily chores with me. I still refer to them as “helping Mommy” but I have slowly started telling her that this is her responsibility. When I remind her that clearing the table is her responsibility she goes, “Oh! Yeah!” and then takes the dishes to the sink.
Here are some of the simple chores for toddlers that Cakey does around the house:
In all of the examples of chores below, please use your best judgement for your child and your living situation. Just because I allow my child to do something does not mean your child could or should.
- Setting and clearing the table – plasticware, plastic plates, plastic cups, some silverware, and certain food items.
- Loading the dishwasher – plasticware; silverware (minus anything sharp); plastic plates, cups, food storage containers, etc. Yes you will have to straighten things around a bit.
- Unloading the dishwasher – plasticware; silverware (minus anything sharp); plastic plates, cups, food storage containers, etc. I have a drawer and shelf that Cakey can easily reach just for the girls’ stuff which is mostly what she unloads.
- Cleaning up behind themselves – put away toys, pick up food they dropped, place dirty laundry in the clothes basket.
- Feed animals with supervision – This is one of Cakey’s favorite things to do at nana’s house! If no one is watching her she will give Jack (nana’s dog) a few extra scopes of food!
- Cleaning up messes – sweeping floors (or at least attempting to), holding the dustpan, getting dish towels to clean up spills, actually cleaning up the spills, wiping the table off, scrubbing crayon marks off the walls (gotta love Mr. Clean Magic Erasers).
- Putting groceries away – Canned goods, dry boxed and bagged goods, frozen foods, unbreakable and lightweight items. I usually have Cakey get the item out of the bag and bring it to me.
- Basic cleaning – wiping windows, shower walls, doorknobs, and light switches; some dusting (no breakables); folding or attempting to fold laundry and put it away.
Letting toddlers help out by doing chores and other simple assignments is good for them. I have found that not only are they, mostly, willing to help out, but it gives them a feeling of belonging and makes them feel “grown-up” or at least more so than the baby.
Cakey’s favorite chore is cleaning the sliding glass door. Practically everyday when I ask her what she would like to do today she says, “Keen door.” Does your child have a favorite chore? How do you handle chores for your kids, are they assigned and required, or suggested and encouraged? Share your ideas/opinions in the comment section below.
Have a blessed day!
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