It’s hard to say no to their sweet faces when they just want to help, and some chores just aren’t toddler friendly, but there are some chores your 2 year old can help with. It can be difficult giving up control and letting your toddler help you with things around the house. Simple tasks may end up taking twice as long and you could even have to do them over later, but finding chores your 2 year old can help with will avoid melt downs and giving you the chance to say yes for a change. It can also be fun!
1. Sweeping the Floor
A toddler using a broom that is twice as tall as he is? No ladies, I am not kidding - sweeping is just one of the chores your 2 year old can help with. I know this can be a scary combination, but you may be amazed at how much fun your toddler will have while sweeping the floor. He can sweep after meals while you clear the table and load the dishwasher. It beats watching him go around making the mess worse. With some practice (if you hold it), he should even be able to use the dustpan to put the crumbs in the trash. If you are nervous about letting your toddler use an adult sized broom, you can give him a toy broom that is more his size or even a handheld broom that will eliminate the long handle all together.
2. Putting Things Away
From putting toys in the toy box to returning books on the shelf, most toddlers love to pick up and put things in places. You can assign him with task of picking up all of his toys and putting them away and celebrate when he does. This will make him so excited to get to participate in things with you and he will feel like he did a good job when you thank him for his help.
3. Unloading the Dishwasher
My toddler has a fascination with the dishwasher. I don’t now why, but it drives me crazy. In the past, every time I was loading it or unloading it, he would come up and start grabbing at things or try and climb in it. It was a nightmare. I finally just started waiting until he was in the bed for naps (ha, what naps?!) or in the bed for the night. This was not a good solution for me. So one day I decided to let him help. I quickly removed everything sharp and let him help with the rest. Now, he gently sets the dishes on the counter or hands them to me. When the dishwasher is empty, he closes the door and goes back to playing, leaving me to put the dishes away in peace. Perfect.
4. Wiping off the Table
Equip your child with a wet cloth or paper towel and teach him to wipe off the table. He will have a lot of fun doing it and feel helpful. You may have to clean the table behind him, but one day you won’t. He’s learning habits now for the future and having fun at the same time. It’s a win-win.
5. Putting Clothes in the Washing Machine
If you have a front loader, your toddler can help you put clothing in it to be washed. I sort out my clothing and have it in a small basket so he can just throw it in the machine. It is less bending for me and a lot of fun for him. If you have a top loader, your toddler should be able to toss the clothes in it or you could give him a boost and let him put them in. Obviously, you want to teach him not to lean down into the top loader to reduce his chances of falling in and getting hurt.
I use a handheld vacuum daily to clean up crumbs after meals or any other dirt. My toddler was scared of it for the longest time. It would drive me crazy; he screamed as loud as he could every time I turned it on. Finally, one day I just gave him the vacuum and told him to watch as it sucked up the dirt. He thought it was so much fun and I was able to let him vacuum up the entire mess he had just made eating his lunch. Now, I get out the vacuum and let him clean up the floor while I clear the table. He stays out of my way and is entertained the entire time. Now I just need to figure out how to convince him to put it away without a tantrum.
7. Picking up Dirty Clothes
With 2 babies, my husband, and myself, dirty clothes seem to be everywhere in our house. We change the babies and leave the dirty clothes on the changing table downstairs, my husband takes off shirts that our youngest spit up on and throws them across the room (why?), or our toddler randomly decides he wants to take a "baf" and strips all of his clothes off. Clothes are everywhere. At the end of the day, I ask my toddler to gather up the clothes and then we make a game out of putting them in the dirty clothes-basket.
Chores are not fun for adults, but they can be fun for little ones who just want to help. Letting them help and giving them chores that they can easily do will make them feel useful and improve their self worth. It is also a lot of fun to watch them. What chores do you like to give your children and how old are they?