It’s hard to believe that at such a young age your toddler is able to actually help out with the cleaning, but it’s the perfect time to get them started! Not only do they love to be little helpers, but it’s a great way to keep them busy and mix things up a bit. Not to mention that it’s great to get some habits instilled early so that they eventually do certain chores on their own.
Most of the chores my son has taken on started because he wanted to be doing exactly what I was doing. Then I started to realize that he was capable of doing more and before long he had his own list!
Believe me, you (and they) are ready for this! Here are some chore ideas to start handing off to your toddler:
Vacuuming is definitely my son’s favorite chore and honestly, probably the most helpful. They key is to use vacuuming devices that a 2-year old can actually handle. It started very early with just teaching him how to turn on the Roomba and move his toys away from it. That may not have been that helpful, but it was a great step towards the real reward – when he started using my hand vac as a real vacuum. It never even occurred to me that it was the perfect size!! Now, he automatically goes to get the hand vac after he has finished his snack and vacuums up any leftover crumbs.
At 2, there was no way that my son could make a bed (at least not an adult bed). But he really wanted to help when I would be doing it, so I started giving him the job of arranging the pillows. At first, it was quite clear who had arranged them….and I would need to go redo them after he was done. But eventually, he got better and better and now he knows exactly how I like them!
Cleaning Up Toys
This is something that all kids should learn to do and probably the most obvious – they need to be responsible for cleaning up their own toys. There are two tricks I learned with this task.
First, be patient. You could clean up the toys in a fraction of the time it will take your 2-year old, but it is well worth the wait. Over time they will get better and better and it won’t be long before you can do other things while they’re straightening up (in which case it doesn’t really matter how long they take).
Second, start using easy storage devices that your toddler can handle. If they can’t easily open a box, then they’re not going to be able to do it on their own. You can find really cute baskets and buckets all over the place these days (think Target, Amazon, Home Goods….or if you really want to be adorable, Etsy) that will make it really easy for you toddler to not only put away, but divide properly. My son caught on very quickly to which basket his trains belonged in and which one his blocks belonged in. (And once toys are picked up….time to start the Roomba or vacuum! ;-))
Cleaning the Bathtub
This was a wonderfully delightful discovery that I never saw coming. Like most toddlers, my son loves bath time. One of his favorite things to do is color on the bathroom walls with his favorite bath crayons or bath bombs. Obviously, a mess is left which requires at least a good wipe down. One day, I had left a sponge on the side of the tub and my son just picked it up and started wiping down the wall! He loved it! Needless to say, he received sponges in his stocking this year. 😉 Wiping down the bathroom wall (before he’s done his bath) is now one of his regular bath time activities. I probably don’t need to say this, but just in case – it’s probably not a good idea to incorporate any cleaning solutions at this point. But just keeping it to warm water is still pretty effective!
Putting Laundry into Dryer
This may not save you a ton of time (because you’ll most likely need to be there), but it’s a great way to get your little one involved in daily chores and my son LOVED this. As I would pull wet laundry from the washer, anything that was going into the dryer would go into a pile for my son to put in and I would work on hanging clothes that wouldn’t be going into the dryer. If nothing else, it was a way for me to get laundry done while still supervising him. And of course, once everything is done, they will get the best reward in the whole world – they get to push the start button!
Putting Socks and Shoes Away
We have a basket for shoes and a basket for socks. Every time my son comes home, he knows he has to put his shoes in the basket. When they laundry is done, he knows he has to put his socks in the sock basket! The key here is to make sure the baskets are easily accessible. This is a simple, but great one! No one wants toddler shoes scattered all over the house.
Wiping up Messes
This is another chore that you may need to redo once they’re done, but it’s really important for them to learn to clean up their own messes. Anytime something spills, I give my son a paper towel to clean it up. And to be honest, this is another chore that he loves!
Let me know if you’ve got your little 2-year olds doing anything else! I’m always looking for great ways to pull them into the mix of chores. 🙂