Every mom can use an extra helping hand around the house. But “how young is too young for a child to be doing chores?” wonders a Circle of Moms member named Kimberley. Even if your toddler — who is at most only two years old — is just mastering skills like talking and using the toilet, I personally believe it’s not too early to start having her help with household tasks. Here’s why.
1. Chores Can Be Fun
At such an early age, toddlers don’t necessarily see chores as burdensome. “Now is the time to get them to help around the house, because at this age most children think that helping out is fun!” points out Rasha. Her one-year-old helps to put toys away and her three-year-old empties the dishwasher. Getting your children to perceive chores as fun “all depends on how you approach them with it,” she says.
Shalom makes a game out of cleaning up toys, playing “in the basket” with her daughter and singing a cleanup song. “In the beginning, Dad or I would throw a toy in the toy basket and yell, ‘in the basket,’ and then the other would clap and say, ‘yeah’ when it went in,” she explains. Eventually her daughter caught on to the cleanup game and began trying to toss toys in the basket herself. And now at 15 months, Avery yells “bassit,” claps for herself when she gets a toy in, and says, "yee!" As Shalom says, “It's pretty cute and it’s very helpful at cleanup time,” adding that the game has expanded to include putting blocks in the box and hard plastic toys in a bag.
Something as simple as flipping open the garbage can lid can be a game, says Pam, whose two-year-old loves to help out with little chores around the house by putting his dishes in the sink or dishwasher, cleaning up any spill he sees — even if it isn't his own, cleaning up his toys, and helping to vacuum. “If he hears the vacuum turn on, he comes running,” she says. “It’s fun for him, and the biggest bonus is he’s learning responsibility.”
2. To Learn Responsibility
Teaching a toddler to help around the house and to contribute to the family’s well-being is “a brilliant idea,” Gemma says. “Not only are you teaching her to be self-sufficient, but you are teaching responsibility and that mummy is a person with needs of her own and isn’t just there to serve her!”
The idea of introducing chores at this stage is to help your toddler understand that he’s part of the family and that he has responsibilities to help the family out, Lori says. Of course the chores need to be reasonable for a person of that size.
Gemma says her two-year-old daughter is capable of making her own bed, tidying up her toys at night time, and putting her dishes in the kitchen when she is finished eating or drinking.
Teresa S. is another mom who started her child on chores early. When her son was two she had him match socks then hand them to her while she was folding the laundry. She has gradually raised the difficulty level of the task, until now, at four years old, he folds socks by himself, groups them for each person in the family, and puts them away. He puts away his own underwear, picks up after himself, gets his snack for preschool ready in the morning, clears his dishes from the table, and puts his dirty clothes in the hamper, too. “These are all age-appropriate chores, and he actually enjoys doing them,” Teresa says. “Giving children age-appropriate responsibilities helps them to feel independent, capable and good about themselves.”
3. To Instill A Sense of Pride
Indeed, in addition to learning how to care for things, toddlers often “take pride in being a ‘big’ kid, which includes having daily and weekly chores,” says Tonya. Her son “does his share and he just goes around [the house] with this cute smile on his face because he knows he is helping mommy!” she says.
Ashley agrees. Her son “thrives on the praise he gets for helping.” He puts dishes away, cleans up with his parents before bed, likes to make his bed, and enjoys being independent and tidy. “My son knows that when the job is his and done right, he feels proud, and I love when he smiles that amazing ‘pride’ smile,” she says.
Children take pride in doing their chores well at the toddler stage because they enjoying acting like mini-adults and being involved in everyday things, Sarah explains. Doing chores “brings them closer to the parent they are helping and [they] feel all grown up,” she says. Plus, while doing chores, children get to spend more time with their parents.
Practice Makes Perfect
When it comes to chores, moms should understand that their toddler is probably not going to do a perfect job. “But don’t get after him for that, just thank him for doing the job,” Lori recommends After all, the goal is to introduce chores now so that they will be carried on out of habit when they are older. Hopefully, as Pam says, "when he’s 10, it’ll be second-nature to him and less of a fight."
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.