Toddlers Helping Around the House

Playful Learning: Toddlers Helping Around the House

Adrienn Csoknyay is with us today to share some tips on engaging the young children on our lives in household responsibilities.

My sons favorite sentence by far is “Julius too.” Be it pouring rice in the pan or watering our freshly sown lawn (he helped with sowing) he wants to do it all. He is 21 months old. And I let him. My daughter Jasmine on the other hand is only six weeks old. And yesterday came the time to introduce her to Step I. of my method. She liked it.

As a stay at home mum I realized that I have basically two options—do the household chores while the kids are awake or when they are asleep.

I like to have some “me time” when the house is quiet, so I have developed some methods of getting housework done together during our activity time. That way the house is kept up and I feel that I have had time to connect with my children.

The advantages are clear:

  • Toddlers experience profound learning by watching, imitating, and experimenting.
  • They can play with new “toys” each day, which are less expensive and more eco friendly then regular ones.
  • New words and phrases appear in their vocabulary.
  • The development of fine motor skills comes naturally.

All you need is patience, a flexible attitude, easy to clean surfaces, and this 3 step method to get the basics right from the start.

Step I: LOOK (1-12 months) Give them the opportunity to observe you as often as possible. In the kitchen while you cook, in the living room dusting or vacuuming, in the bedroom while you change the sheets.  A baby carrier can come in handy. I use a mei tai and it seems Jasmine will become an avid fan.

Playful Learning: Toddlers Helping Around the House

Step II: DISCOVER: (12-18 months) Show everyday items to play with. Holding, smelling, touching, hearing  and tasting them will develop their minds. I allowed Julius to empty the pot and pan drawer whenever he felt like it and he loved to play with them.

Playful Learning: Toddlers Helping Around the House

Step III: ACT (18-24 months) Hand over your toddler the tools and ingredients you are using.  Flour in a bowl, some water and a wooden spoon can keep him busy for a while not to mention a whisk and dustpan. Enlisting their help when you unpack after a visit to the grocery store is a great way to learn the names of produce and where to store all the bean cans.

If you are still not convinced read on.

Kris Loubert, parent educator at the Early Childhood Family Education program for Minneapolis schools says:

Teach your kids responsibility and contribution at home early and they are likely to be successful later in life.”

And Marty Rossmann, emeritus associate professor of family education explains that “Involving children in household tasks at an early age can have a positive impact later in life. By involving children in tasks, parents teach their children a sense of responsibility, competence, self-reliance, and self-worth that stays with them throughout their lives. Household responsibilities continue to play a significant role throughout one’s life. Young adults are living on their own longer and they need to have household skills as part of becoming well-adjusted adults.”

So next time he asks if he can come and help bake that cake, say yes!

Here are some other great tips on chores that toddlers can lend a hand in…