We have been having Isaac do "chores" since he could walk. While he wasn't independent enough early on to do anything substantial, it was more about instilling the idea of cleaning and helping around the house than it was about him getting something done. Now at age 2, there still aren't a whole lot of things he can do well, but that doesn't stop me from teaching him. Over time, he will learn to master each chore.
Some of our toddler chores around the house include:
*unloading the dishwasher
*carrying clothes from the laundry to his room
*picking up toys when he is done playing with them
*cleaning the bathroom
*helping with the laundry
He also helps by throwing away trash that has been left around the house, sometimes putting his clothes in their drawers and he loves to sweep and swiffer (although he just moves dirt around, but that's okay with me! because he's still learning to help.)
Some tips when teaching your young ones chores and how to help:
*When having them unload the dishwasher, be sure you remove all knives and anything you don't want broken first. We started teaching this chore to Isaac by having him hand me silverware one by one. Yes, it takes longer, but like I said, it's not about getting it done, it's about having them learn and getting in involved. Now that he's a little older, he names each item as he hands it to me and describes what it is used for in the kitchen. For example, he will hand me the spatula (which he can't quite say yet) and he'll says "cakes" and pretend to flip pancakes.
*For cleaning the bathroom, again, there isn't a whole lot he can do. However, he loves that toilet brush so I put a little comet in the toilet and let him go for it. In the mean time, I wipe down the mirrors and counters. Be sure to have them wash their hands when they are done.
*Laundry is Isaac's favorite chore to help out with. When I move clothes from the washer to the dryer, I have him open the dryer door and I set the wet clothes on it. He pushes them into the dryer. Then he closes the door and I lift him up to push the button to turn it on. Then I put dirty clothes into the washing machine and turn the dial. I lift him up and let him pour the detergent in and pull the knob to turn on the water. He gets to close the lid. Last he turns off the light and closes the doors. He gets so excited when he hears the buzzer on the dryer and knows it's time to do the laundry!
For a great list of age appropraite chores, see this chart.
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