As you all know, I have mentioned that I am a stay at home mom and have a beautiful little girl that is 1.5 years old. Although she is young, I let her help me around the house. Not only does lending me a hand at home keep her busy, it’s helping my toddler learn! With a background in early & elementary education, I know that children are sponges at this age as their brains are rapidly developing which allows them to learn a lot during this stage in their lives. By having your toddler help around the house, he/she is learning cognitive, affective, and psychomotor skills. Who knew how beneficial housework could be at such a young age?!
Here are 6 ways that your toddler can help you at home:
1. Washing Clothes
With a front load washer next to the dryer, my toddler LOVES to help me wash clothes. She can distinguish dirty clothes from clean clothes because we keep all of our dirty clothes in hampers. She knows which hamper is hers and can drag it into our laundry room. Once we have the dirty clothes next to the washer, she will help me put them into the washer. After I put the detergent in the holder, I ask her to shut the door and press the power button then the start button.
When the washer is running, we are always doing something else and our washer makes a loud unique chime that draws her attention. She will shout, “Mama!” and run to the washer because she has made the association that when it makes that sound the clothes are done washing. Then, we take the clothes out of the washer and put them into the dryer. I always get the bigger items like towels, jeans and sweatshirts, while she get the smaller clothes likes shirts, socks, underwear, and wash cloths. After we empty the washer, I ask her to shut the door and press the power button then play button.
Usually, we have another load of laundry so we repeat the whole washing process again. But this time when I ask her to shut the door, she recalls that she needs to press the power button then the start button! We continue this process until all the clothes are washed. I typically like to sneak folding the clothes by myself because she will sometimes dip them in our dogs water bowl so we can wash it again! I will admit that she is always so excited to help me wash clothes and will run to help out!
When I dust, I use a Swiffer duster to collect all the dust but always have a toddler pointing to it and saying my name because she wants to dust. I mean considering that the duster is all fluffy and cool looking, I don’t see why she wouldn’t be interested to dust!
I will give her the duster and she will get all the areas that she can reach. I do have to redirect her sometimes because she will do crazy things such as dusting the floor, her toys, or our dog, Grizz. Also, she will rip the duster off of its handle and will say, “uh oh,” because she knows she did something wrong and will give it to me to fix it.
If I am making something that has dry ingredients, I will ask my toddler to help. I put her apron on, pull up a chair to our kitchen counter, and stand her up onto the chair to help out. Some ways that she helps me while cooking include mixing ingredients with a spoon, placing items onto a baking sheet such as cookie dough, putting items in a baking dish such as frozen foods, and assist putting bread in a toaster then pressing down the lever. When making something that requires measuring dry ingredients, I measure it out then let her dump the ingredients into the bowl. She loves to do all these things in the kitchen and especially, finds it so cool to watch what she helped make bake in the oven after I put the oven light on!
4. Picking Up Items
Picking up items is one of my favorite things that my toddler does to help around the house. Grant it, it took some work but I seriously don’t know what is worse; stepping on a Lego or one of her Little People!
We now make it a routine to cleanup before we eat lunch and before bath time so not only does she learn responsibility, but to keep my sanity of not dodging toys on the floor.
5. Retrieving Items
As I write this, I think it reminds me of a dog by having your toddler retrieve items. Well, it’s true but it’s also beneficial to him/her. Asking your toddler to go get an item creates the need for your little one to think and comprehend what you are saying by retrieving the proper item. Sometimes, I am blown away by what my toddler understands what I am asking of her.
6. Pet Care
Part of having a pet is learning care and responsibility. I swear that my toddler and dog, Grizz, are best friends. She loves to help me feed him his dog food as well as sharing her food with him when she eats. No matter what meal or snack she is having, she has the urge to share with him. Also, she will play with him by throwing his ball or playing tug of war with him (Grizz is the best and will lightly tug his toy when she holds it.).
My favorite thing that my toddler does to help with Grizz is letting me know when he is at the door after doing his business outside. She will let me know when he is ready to come back in and will try to open our sliding door; even though, the handle is too tall for her to reach for now…
Do you or have you done any of these with your toddler? What else does your toddler help with around the house that I didn’t mention in this post?