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Published on June 10, 2015

Too Young For Chores?

June 10, 2015

girl sitting behind laundry basketGiving toddlers age-appropriate chores lets them feel important and independent, instilling good habits early on.

Toddlers are naturally curious and eager to be involved. If your child is mobile and developmentally ready to participate, it’s time to give him a few fun supervised chores.

Keep It Simple

Toddlers are too young to take on heavy tasks like vacuuming or chores requiring chemical cleaners or delicate objects, but they can help with things like putting away toys, setting the table, sorting clothes for the laundry, helping feed and water pets, making the bed, and wiping down furniture or spills with a rag.

Choose chores carefully and always supervise your toddler while she does them. Making cleaning a part of your daily routine will help establish good habits.

Make It Fun

Making chores a game will help keep toddlers interested in doing them and build positive associations with keeping the house neat and clean. Put on some music and dance toys to their put-away homes, or try setting a timer and seeing how fast you two can get something done. Try to find the fun in every chore, like turning laundry into a color sorting game, and be sure to introduce a variety of chores to keep your child engaged.

Praise your child’s work even if it isn’t perfect, but resist the urge to hand out prizes for every little task he accomplishes. Working around the house is a normal part of being a member of the family and taking pride in your belongings. Keep things positive and you’ll have a chore-loving toddler in no time.

Lead by Example

As in other areas of life, the best thing you can do to teach your children good cleaning habits is to embrace those ideals yourself. Even at this young age, children are taking in everything you do.

Imitation is an important learning tool for toddlers, and learning by doing is a big part of that. Having a positive attitude about your own housework will rub off on impressionable toddlers, but if you act like chores are the last thing you want to do, your little ones will know.

With the right attitude, you can help teach toddlers that chores are important and fun—a lesson you’ll be thankful for in the years to come.

Keep Kids Safe When You Clean

Common household cleaners contain dangerous substances that, if consumed, can harm children. Help keep your toddlers safe by:

  • Letting children clean with water or a dry rag only.
  • Keeping cleaning products in their original bottles.
  • Leaving the labels on all cleaning products.
  • Storing chemicals out of reach.
  • Childproofing cabinets containing chemicals with locks.
  • Sealing and storing cleaning containers immediately after use.
  • Disposing of rags and paper towels that come in contact with chemicals.
  • Keeping the number for poison control (800.222.1222) nearby and on your phone in case of emergency.

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