It all started one day when I was cleaning the windows in our living room. I put the paper towels down and left the room for a split second and when I returned, my 2 year old had picked up right where I left off. At that moment is when I realized he WANTS to help and, better yet, he CAN help me with some of the daily chores. Over the past couple of months, I have compiled a list of chores that my son really enjoys doing. It’s an excellent way to get him in a routine of helping out around the house and I enjoy watching him get excited about doing things I often dread (and one day he will too). There are a couple of things you should keep in mind when getting your toddler involved with the chores: it will take patience on your part, it might slow you down a bit (or a lot), and be prepared to re-do everything he/she does.
•SWEEP Ever since my son could walk, I remember he always wanted to “sweep” and he would use anything that resembled a broom. Now when we are cleaning, he has his small broom and I have my regular sized one. He loves following me around the house and especially gets excited to hold the dustpan for mommy and “catch” all the dirt.
•DUST I have never met a toddler that doesn’t love the big, fluffy, bright colored feather duster. Next time you’re at the store, let your little one pick out their own and only let them play with it when it is cleaning time. My son will “dust” all of the furniture that is eye level (usually the walls, cabinet doors, etc.). Make sure to keep them clear of anything that can be knocked over and/or broken.
•TAKE THE TRASH OUT This is probably his favorite chore. I think it is a combination of dropping the bag into the BIG trash can and the fact that daddy is the one that does this chore about 90% of the time. We usually put the scraps from dinner in a Target bag for Adam to carry and daddy takes the big bag.
•LAUNDRY My son loves to run around and collect the clothes to put in the washer, and he likes to help put the wet clothes into the dryer. When it comes time to fold/hang, he usually just plays with the hangers but when he gets a little older we will work with him on sorting/folding.
•WIPE DOWN WINDOWS, COFFEE TABLES, OR ANY OTHER SURFACE WITHIN REACH My son LOVES spray bottles. I give him a wash cloth and a spray bottle (filled with water only) and he goes to town. He often will clean the same spot over and over again and that’s perfectly okay with me. The windows usually look worse than when he started, but the look on his face while doing it is priceless.
•WASH THE CAR We have only done this together once, but it was SO much fun. It was a beautiful day outside so we put on our swimsuits and grabbed a bucket of suds, a couple of wash cloths, and the water hose and started washing mommy’s car. He had a blast doing this and he actually lasted a lot longer than I expected. He started out scrubbing the doors with the washcloths (he LOVED dipping it in the bucket) and he ended with just playing in the water hose. (I’m sure we used WAY more water than we should have but that’s okay!:))
•WALK THE DOG This is by far the “chore” he gets the most excited about. We have a 4lb long haired Chihuahua and Adam LOVES taking her on a walk. We are fortunate to have a walking trail with a playground right behind our house so we do not have to worry about cars and we get to take a break and play for a little bit.
•CHECK THE MAIL My son gets tickled when I say “let’s go check the mail!” He loves opening the mailbox and grabbing all the “goodies” (I wish I got as excited as he did about getting bills and junk mail.) I will flip through the mail and get out all the important stuff and I let him play with and destroy the junk mail.
•CARRY IN GROCERIES This is another chore that daddy does 90% of the time which I think is why Adam enjoys it so much. We will set aside all of the light bags for Adam to carry in to mommy while daddy carries the heavy stuff. He loves running back and forth from the car to the house!
Like I said before, some of these will take a lot of patience on your part, and if you are on a deadline to get the house clean I would suggest that you wait on getting your toddler involved until you have some time to spare. Toddlers enjoy helping and mimicking everything adults do. Give it a try and I promise you will have so much fun cleaning with your little one!
I would love to hear some of the chores you share with your toddler and hopefully expand on my list.