Managing your kids & trying to keep them engaged at home?
Well, why not have them help you with some chores while at it? Not happening you say!? I hear ya, mama. Here are 10 super effective & practical tips (from a super mom of 5) to have your toddler (kids) pitch in.
This 10 Tips To Have Your Toddler Help With Chores blog post is written by Preethi of Local Passport Family (did I already mention ‘a (super) mom of 5’?). That’s it, that’s all I can bring myself to say about her right now cuz I am as speechless as you (probably) are at the moment. Read more about her below.
Who is managing a toddler at home while quarantined?
Sometimes, it can feel like toddlers are swirling around in their own personal tornadoes, leaving destruction in their wake. Or perhaps they are the ones creating the tornado for everyone else!
Having some kids indoor activities available can help guide and direct that energy.
- 50+ Quarantine & Social Distancing Things To Do At Home Today
- 31 Unique & Awesome At-Home Date (Night Ideas)
- 50+ Kids Activities & Ideas, plus more here, here and here
- Binge-Worthy Podcasts To Listen To Right Now
- How to Manage Stress & Anxiety?
- How to Self-Care During The Coronavirus Pandemic
- 100+ Freebie Educational and Entertaining Resources for Adults and Kids
- Tips & Hacks to Increase Productivity While Working From Home
- How To Make Time For Yourself As A Mom
It can sometimes feel like more stress than it’s worth to have your toddler participate in helping out with household responsibilities.
It’s hard to get them involved, and even harder to keep them on task. In our family of 5 kids (including one newborn), and while homeschooling 3 elementary school kiddos, it can feel really difficult to find ways to include the toddler, as well.
And when you often have to go back and redo the work that they’ve done, it can feel like the time and effort just are not worth it. I know I have often had the feeling that it would be easier and much less time-consuming to just do the task myself!
Still, training toddlers to be helpful is so important!
And it’s even better if you can turn it into a kid’s indoor activity.
Consistency is key, and by starting young, they’ll be prepared to take on bigger tasks as they grow older.
Toddlers who clear their own dinner plates will turn into preschoolers who can set the table, or perhaps even eventually make dinner for the family!
And that’s certainly something that is worth the effort.
Plus, they’ll feel included in the household, and develop a habit of being willing to contribute – and that willingness is almost even more important than doing the task itself. Not to mention how great it is to have some kids indoor activities that actually help the family!
So here are 10 tips for getting kids involved in household chores, and using them as great, boredom-busting kids indoor activities. These are all things that have been super helpful in our family of 7.
They have helped me include and manage our toddler at home while homeschooling other children and caring for a baby.
More importantly, they’ve helped our toddler feel included, loved, and like an important part of our family. We’re certainly not perfect at doing them, but every time we do implement one of these tips, it helps our household run much more smoothly.
I hope these tips are helpful to you, too!
10 Tips To Have Your Toddler Help With Chores
1. Give them choices
Toddlers are notorious for being super opinionated. It can often feel like they’re doing the opposite of what you ask – on purpose!!
Instead of forcing them into helping, give them the choice between two things that need to be done. For instance, let them decide between wiping the baseboards and watering the plants.
2. Give them responsibilities unique to them
Toddlers love to think of themselves as “big,” even while they’re still little. So trust them with some of those bigger responsibilities! Allow them the chance to actually participate and contribute to household responsibilities. Help them know their kids activities at home are actually really useful to the family!
It’s especially helpful if you can give them one or two responsibilities that are uniquely theirs.
What if your toddler always puts away the clean utensils? Or what about if your toddler is in charge of wiping down the bathroom counter at the end of the day? By putting your toddler in charge of a couple of specific tasks, he or she will be so excited to complete it, knowing that they are the one fully responsible for it.
3. Make it a game
Toddlers love games. And honestly, they don’t really understand the difference between games and real-life a lot of the time.
So turn real life into some kid’s indoor activities for them! Here are a few things we’ve tried that have made helping with chores more fun – timing them, racing, singing a song, or doing a jumping jack in between each item.
4. Let them copy you
Toddlers are some of the world’s great imitators. That’s exactly what they’re built to do, all day, every day!
They’re learning so much about language and behavior and the world, that they’re anxious to follow your example as much as possible. Because of this, try to let them follow along with you and do a chore together. If you’re wiping down one counter, let them do another. It won’t be perfect, but they’ll continue to learn through practice and example.
5. Let them be in charge
Toddlers rarely get to be the boss of anything! They often resist being controlled because they have so little control. So try to give them back some of that control!
Let them decide where to clean first. Let them help pick which vegetables to use for dinner. Let them direct someone else to do a task (that they were already going to do). Or have your toddler tell an older sibling what chore to do – it saves you from having to tell them, and your toddler will love being in charge!
6. Get down to their level – physically & emotionally
Most of us are pretty far removed from toddlerhood. Because of this, we sometimes forget what it’s like to be a toddler.
Try actually getting down to their level. First, try doing so physically. Get down on your knees and see the world as they see it. What is at their eye level? Is there something that they can clean there? Can they even see other messes that they’re making?
Next, get to their level emotionally. What do they value? Do they love their toys and want to care for them? Then help them understand that to keep their toys happy for the next time, they need to be put away gently now.
7. Make chores accessible for them
Find ways to make kids indoor activities easier and more accessible for your toddlers so that they are ABLE to help out.
For instance, we have all of our dishes stored directly across from the dishwasher in a cabinet that is low to the ground. It’s not ideal for the adults, but it means that all of our kids – including the 2-year-old can help load and unload dishes into the dishwasher.
Because the cups are low to the ground, our toddler can get them to help set the table. Allow toddlers autonomy by providing opportunities for them to help with ease.
8. Give incentives, and be clear about them
This is different than bribing. I’m certainly not telling you to give your child a piece of candy every time they put away a utensil. But even little ones can understand the benefits of family time and moving forward with the day.
Explain, once we clean up the toys, we can go on a walk! Or after we’ve wiped down the table from dinner, we can have dessert. Or, once we’ve cleaned the bathroom and done our other chores, we can play a family game or watch a movie. There all kinds of natural, happy consequences that can help motivate even toddlers to help out.
9. Consider your timing, and make it obvious
It’s hard for ANYONE to get pulled away from a favorite toy or TV show to go help with dinner. Even adults have a difficult time pulling themselves away from screens!
Instead of asking your toddler to do something right in the middle of a favorite activity, try having a set helping time. Then your toddler will know what to expect and when.
10. Give them a heads-up
Similarly, try giving a 5-minute warning for when your toddler will need to switch activities to come help out with a chore.
That way, they won’t feel blindsided and ripped away from a more fun kids indoor activity, and will be more ready and willing to help.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, PREETHI B. HARBUCK
Preethi is a mom of 5 little kiddos who writes to inspire curiosity and connection through family travel and exploring from home.
She’s currently visited 62 countries (43 with kids) and 49 US states. She loves sharing tips, tricks, itineraries, and virtual travel ideas to connect with people and places around the globe. When at home in the San Francisco Bay Area, she loves exploring with her crew and connecting with the nature, beauty, history, and arts of the area.
When she’s not exploring or writing, she loves to read, cook, practice photography, and watch Friends reruns for the 87th time.
Thank you so much for sharing your valuable and expert toddler tips with us rookie moms, Preethi! You bet that I am going to start implementing these right away!!
“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.”