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April 17, 2022
As babies grow into increasingly independent toddlers, parents often wonder when to start assigning little ones responsibilities around the home. While there is such a thing as starting too soon—after all, we can’t expect an eight-month-old to pick up after themselves—the truth is, children as young as the age of two are perfectly capable of taking on a few chores.
And want to know the best part? Tackling tasks around the home is actually good for them!
It’s true—giving your child chores to complete can boost their self-esteem and make them feel like a contributing part of the family. Chores can also help with childhood development as they force children to experience cause and effect, hone their problem-solving skills, and improve fine- and gross-motor skills.
But what are reasonable tasks for toddlers to take on…and how does mom or dad go about assigning them?
The key to getting little ones to complete tasks is to start small and keep your expectations realistic. Having a little one helping you with a task for the first time means the task will likely take longer than normal…and that is ok. Be patient and give your little helper plenty for praise.
We all know resistance is inevitable with toddlers. They may find chores interesting…the first time they do them. After that, don’t be surprised when they balk at helping with laundry or feeding the family pup. It’s important to set clear expectations and to tread carefully when letting little ones off the hook for chores. Try to make the task part of their daily routine.
Be sure to choose chores your child can successfully complete. Asking a two-year old to make his or her bed independently will likely be an exercise in frustration, but a four-year old could easily accomplish the task. If you are unsure what tasks are appropriate for a given age group, we’ve created a list of ideas according to a child’s age:
Tasks appropriate for 2 – 3-year-olds could include:
Tasks appropriate for 4 – 5-year-olds could include:
Try to make the act of completing chores fun. Put on music while your child is sorting laundry or picking up toys. Sing songs as you work. And, perhaps most importantly, heap on the praise when your child completes a task…
You were working so hard and look how it paid off. All your toys are put away!
Thank you for helping me with the laundry. We make a great team!
Recognizing that chores aren’t always easy and celebrating their completion teaches little ones perseverance and satisfaction in a job well done. So, start assigning those chores, mamas. You really are doing your little one a favor when you do.
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