7 Day experiment: toddler chores

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 Comments

An article in the mommy group recently caught my eye regarding toddler chores: “Kids who do chores are more successful adults according to science“. Perfect, I needed a reason to give my 18 month old some of these items on my to do list.

I’m kidding; the baby showed interest in being helpful, and I took advantage of it. Once I read this article, all I did was make it a more specific schedule (who am I if not the schedule-maker/bullet-lister?). She doesn’t do much, but she does do something every day.

What chores are good for a toddler?

No need to overcomplicate this. Toddler chores should be based on what they’re capable of handling. The amount should depend on how interested he/she is in participating in chores. For my daughter, this means:

  1. Feeding the pets after school every day
  2. Cleaning up her toys at 6:30, the start to her bedtime schedule
  3. If it’s Monday, watering the indoor plants
  4. Helping mom clean whatever is in queue for the day

That last one is my favorite, not only because it’s productive for me, but also because it is something we can do together the feels like play. For her, dusting the coffee table is as engaging as throwing a ball. Bonus for me that I get a clean room after that “game”.

If you’re looking for ideas yourself, there’s a whole bunch of infographics for toddler chores on Pinterest, broken down by age. I think these are helpful for generating ideas, but it will be easiest for your family if you start with your kid & his or her interest/capabilities.

Does she actually do the chores?

Yes! I don’t have to fight her at all. She lives for the high five after the dog food is poured. The cleanup song is a great part of her day. She claps her hands every time she finishes closing the dishwasher or holding the dust pan.

I will note that we don’t use treats or anything to entice her to do this. I think because she is so young, she just considers it another activity or else doesn’t know to demand any sugary rewards. As she grows, it will just be expected that she do her chores, the same way we’ll expect her to do her homework.

Did you start toddler chores early?

I’m eager to hear from mamas who started their kids young on similar schedules. Was it sustainable? Do you think we’ll have standoffs about toy cleanup every day when she hits two? Feedback is welcome!

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