Getting Your Toddler To Help With The Household Chores

Growing up, my brother and I didn’t really do much around the house when it came to chores. We got pocket money for cleaning our rooms and taking it in turns to dry the pots, but that was it really. I think a combination of my mum being a little anal with household tasks and us being lazy created a situation where I was pretty useless at looking after myself until I got to Uni.

I always worked though. I got a paper round at 12, then continued with various other part-time jobs – a waiter in a wine bar, general dogsbody at a motorway service station etc – throughout my teens to earn cash. I even had a job with a business consultancy firm during my final year of Uni in order to ensure I was bringing in some money for myself.

When it comes to Toddler L, I’d like her to have a slightly better balance that I did. When she’s old enough, I’d still like her to get a part-time job and learn some of the valuable workplace lessons I did. However, I also think it’s important that she’s self sufficient and able to look after herself better than I could when I lived at home.

At 21-months old, arguably she’s a little too young to send out to work, but that hasn’t stopped me involving her in some of the household chores. Firstly, to get her used to helping out around the home, and secondly, because sometimes I can’t be arsed to do the stay-at-home dad stuff myself. I get that child labour is illegal, but I can surely claim that this is character building and tough love?

As such, below are six household chores that Toddler L has begun to help out with:

Emptying The Dishwasher

Toddler L is a big fan of picking items up and putting them somewhere else. It’s a simple pleasure, which I thought I’d turn into something a little more productive. So the sprog now helps me unload the dishwasher by taking out items and passing them to me. I never thought a fork was exciting until I saw her reaction to it being put away in the cutlery drawer. Not only does it keep her busy, but it saves me having to bend over with my ageing back. Win win.

Toddler Household Chores Dishwasher

 

Watering The Plants

Since getting our garden landscaped last month, I’ve been doing my bit to ensure that the newly planted vegetation doesn’t die. Toddler L has keenly watched on as I’ve done my best Alan Titchmarsh impression and shown a great enthusiasm to join the green-fingered brigade. As such, one of her ‘jobs’ now involves going around the various parts of the garden with her own watering. There’s nothing cuter than seeing her stumble around trying to water the plants but getting more on her feet.

Toddler Household Chores Watering Plants

 

Hanging Up The Washing

Although she’s a little short to reach the washing line outside, Toddler L has been a ‘help’ when it’s come to hanging clean, wet clothes on the airer. Similarly to the dishwasher, her interest in this task must be to do with moving items from one place to another. I don’t want to crush her enthusiasm, but to be honest, she needs a lot more practice at hanging up the washing. Her technique is somewhat unorthodox as she likes to clump items together rather than spread them out. She’ll learn with time!

Toddler Household Chores Hanging Up Washing

 

Mowing The Lawn

Now that we’re getting into the summer months, the sprog is seeing me do chores that she was too young to remember last year. Take cutting the lawn. The first time I did a few weeks ago, she was amazed at the loud contraption which I pushed around the grass – she even did a pretty mean impression of the sound too. It’s hardly surprising though. A lawn mower is basically an oversized – albeit slightly more dangerous – baby walker, so why would toddlers not show an interest?

Toddler Household Chores Mowing The Lawn

 

Walking The Dog

The sprog and the dog have a love-hate relationship, by which I mean that she loves him and he hates her. I jest, he actually quite likes her (sometimes). For the last few months, she’s been the one in charge of the dog’s lead whenever we’ve gone out for a walk. She holds it for the duration of our walk and doesn’t even let go if she stumbles and falls. Even when she’s in the baby carrier, I’m not allowed to hold the lead – she just dangles an arm out of the side so she can grip it tight. She’s not as keen to pick up his crap though, that glamorous chore is still mine.

Toddler Household Chores walking dog

 

Tidying Up

For someone who is best described as a hurricane, Toddler L does enjoy clearing up after her destruction. Our house can be a bit of a tip at times with all of her toys etc, but she does a pretty reasonable job of helping us to tidy up. She gets a lot of pleasure out of putting objects into containers, so it’s quite easy to turn tidying up before bedtime into a bit of a game. She’s even so well trained that she enjoys putting empty wrappers and packets into the bin. It took me 16 years to learn to do that!

Toddler Household Chores Tidying Up

So there are some of my suggestions on how you could get your toddler involved in your household chores. Has your kid shown an interest in any of these? Do they have another ‘favourite’ chore that they do? Are you interested in me sending Toddler L around to your house for some cheap labour? Let me know below!

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  • Martina Pichova

    Mine helps to get clothes off the washing line. Well… I take them off, hand them to her and she puts them into the washing basket.

  • RachelSwirl

    I try to involve the kids in the chores as much as possible, from hoovering to emptying the washing machine. My little girl follows us outside now to bring in the washing muttering “Here comes the peg girl” each and every time!

  • Mine are both highly skilled with a dustpan and brush. I was so sick of picking up discarded petit pois off the floor that I had to train them up.
    They hoover, fold clothes and put dishes away. They’ll be in full time employment by the age of 8 and I’ll finally be able to retire.
    I know. I’m a genius.

  • LOVE this, get those kids working! If only my kids could cook for me, am training them to make sandwiches at least! Gorge pics as always, hope to see you guys soon!

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  • Tom

    Sounds like a great plan. My 21 month son is fascinated with the washing machine. My daughter is very good at hanging out socks and pants on the little octopus we have from IKEA. Looks like I might have to train them a bit more though.