While a toddler's attention span is only a few minutes long, it's enough time to capitalize on their desire to help and to be appreciated. Mothers and fathers equally can benefit from teaching their children from the time they are small to help out around the house. Most of these tasks involve working alongside your child, sometimes making the task take longer. But in the end your child will develop good work habits and positive self-esteem. Here are 10 chores your toddler can (and will most likely want to) help you with.
1. Wash windows
Using an empty spray bottle, fill with a diluted amount of window cleaner, just enough for the child to think it is real. Give them a rag or paper towel and let them go at it. Chances are good that they will get the big spots off the glass and you can go back later and get the rest.
2. Sort Toys
Find bins or containers for each type of toy and clearly label with a picture of that item: cars, people, blocks, magnets, etc. Let them pick up a toy and match it to the correct bin. Let them work at their own pace while you work at yours. Try to see if the toys can be sorted before you finish singing a particular song.
3. Wash Door Handles
Hand your child an antibacterial wipe or a rag with disinfectant on it and instruct them to wash down each door handle. You can be wiping down the door and light switches at the same time. Carry around a small stool so they can reach.
4. Wiping Base Boards
Using a wet rag, work along with your child as they wipe down the baseboards. Make it a contest to see whose rag gets the dirtiest. Work in small areas and do it a few minutes each day.
5. Strip the Dirty Sheets off the Bed
You pull off the first three corners and let your toddler finish and place the sheets in a laundry hamper. If the load isn't too heavy, help them push the hamper across the floor and into the laundry room. Making car noises while pushing is optional.
6. Make the Bed
Let them get the first corner on while you work on the other side of the bed with the fitted sheet. With the flat sheet, they can pull the sheets up pretty far and as you reach across to their side, you can straighten it up. Help them slide the pillow into the case.
7. Mop the Floor
Once you have swept the floor, hand your child a wet rag and let them go at it. They may only pick the dirty spots, but think of it as a pre-treat for when you come by with the mop.
8. Empty the Dishwasher
Take the flatware container out of the dishwasher and set on the counter next to the drawer. Standing on a stool, your toddler can sort the spoons and forks after you have already put away all the knives and sharp utensils.
9. Sorting Laundry
Consider sorting the clothes before folding them. Your toddler knows what pajamas are his big sisters and that the football jersey is his big brother's. While you fold the rest of the laundry, let him fold his own, carry it to his room and put it in the right drawers.
10. Empty the Trash
Have your child bring the garbage cans from each room to a central location to empty it, then have her return the can where it came from.
Working alongside your toddler will not only provide quality time together, but a fun time, too. Praise them for their efforts and thank them for being good helpers. Mary Poppins said it best. "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Find the fun and - Snap! - the job's a game."