Chores Your Toddler Can Do

A dual-post from both of us!

2-year-old (happens to be a boy)
  • Wipe up spills. This was the first “chore” he learned.  We keep a kitchen towel hanging where he can reach it, and he takes care of his own spills, dog water dribbles, and wet shoe prints.
    About halfway through
    learning to set the table
  • Set the table.  We didn’t specifically teach this chore, we just started asking him to “put this on the table.”  Gradually he picked up on where things “belong” and now does a pretty good job!
  • Put away clean silverware.  It doesn’t end up in the right compartments, but that is only because he’s too short to reach/see.  He just takes it out of the dishwasher and puts it in the drawer as best he can.
  • Sweep. We purchased this broom set when he showed interest in sweeping. He is best at sweeping into the dustpan, because it’s a target to aim for instead of flinging dirt around the room.
  • Feed pets.  Scooping stuff from a big container and pouring it into a smaller container? It’s a toddler’s dream job!  We only have a dog, but I’m sure this would work for cats. rodents, reptiles, etc.  Of course, make sure your toddler and pet are both safe during this process.  Some dogs get aggressive in regards to their food bowls, and some small pets could bite little fingers.  Also monitor how much your fish are fed.
  • Throw away non-gross garbage.  He loves picking which garbage can to throw things in.
  • Fetch needed items from another room.  Kleenex, diaper & wipes for himself or the baby, his own coat and shoes.
  • Help with laundry.  Another favorite – he loves shaking out the clothes and towels and stuffing them into the dryer, or handing them to me to be folded.  He could also put them away in his drawers if I wasn’t so into Konmari drawers.  (I let him put away his socks.)
    Stirring.  Or licking.
    Same thing, right?
  • Help with baking/cooking. It’s a mess, but it’s a joy to behold.  Age-appropriate tasks include scooping and dumping, sprinkling spices or toppings, crushing crackers, and laying out bread slices/pepperonis/cupcake liners.  (We use those washable reusable liners – I imagine paper ones would be too difficult since they’re difficult for me!) 

Yes, many of these chores are “done” quite messily.  And not the way I would have done them. And take a long time to complete.  But building life skills is so important!  And it’s pretty cool to watch the look of determination and learning on a toddler’s face as he tries to place dishes at the table, or measure something, or choose matching socks from a basket.