Monday, May 26, 2014

7 Chores Appropriate for Toddlers

Kids, contrary to popular belief, are not helpless.  Some are quite capable, and many of them want as much independence as their developing frames can handle.  Helping around the house is a great way for children to improve their motor skills.  It also can help boost their self esteem and reduce their destructive tendencies.  Here are some activities that we've found any kid capable of walking can do.

  1. Put toys in a bin -  Putting toys away is the simplest activity.  A toddler won't always remember where the toy goes, but they can understand the words "doll" and "blue bin" just fine.  The trick is to show them exactly how to clean up by explaining what you're doing as you're doing it.  I find it is also helpful to grab their hands and get them to go through the motion of picking up once to help the concept stick.
  2. Sweeping - They can't handle a full-size adult broom, but there are plenty of kiddie brooms.  Don't expect them to get full surface area coverage, but they are capable of picking up spills of dry cheerios just fine and getting them to use a broom or brush of some sort really helps them with their fine-motor skills.
  3. Washing walls - A tiny bit of Lysol in warm water and a rag, and you can get the first two or three feet of your wall scrubbed down.  Most kids find this activity fun.  We've had to do this whenever a kid takes crayon to the wall--Dani and I refuse to clean that with our own hands.  It has worked really well, as we've only ever had two or three incidents with each kid before they caught on that they'd have to scrub really hard to get stuff off.
  4. Cleaning up spills - It depends on how much sugar was in the drink.  Water, Gatorade, and most juices can easily be cleaned up by a kid with a damp rag and a dry rag.  The only drink I can think of that has required a subsequent parental clean up is hot chocolate.
  5. Dishes - Kids can rinse dishes off just fine if they can reach the sink.  We have a little step stool in our kitchen so our kids can reach easier.  They are also really good at sorting clean dishes out of the dishwasher.  We have our kids pull all the clean dishes out and sort them on the counter so Dani and I can put them high-up in the cupboard.  N is tall enough to get most all of them in the cupboard as well, but it's convenient for us to have all the like dishes and cups stacked and ready to go after the dishwasher is done.  Hand-washing pots and pans tends to be a little beyond what they can grasp.
  6. Making their bed - We have a toddler bed for Y and regular doubles for V and N.  Dani and I had to coach and help out with this one for about a week, but after they had to make their bed two or three times they started sleeping in a much more orderly manner.  It will always take a little help, but V and N can make a bed together without any help now--and they've even extended those skills to folding full queen-size comforters.
  7. Laundry - They can't really start the washing machine, and Dani and I don't like them handling the detergent, but giving them a hamper in their room and expecting them to carry a full hamper down and placing clothes in an empty washing machine is something every kid is capable of doing.
Well, I hope this gives you some ideas of what you can do to get kids helping around the house.  What are some household chores you've been able to get your kids to do?

Why I'm (still) a Mormon

I don't expect much more to ever be posted on this blog, and I'm largely just posting this to share it with some particular friends....