What Time is It? Cleaning time: Toddlers and Chores

A Guide about toddlers and chores
Photographer: Arvind Balaraman, www.freedigitalphotos.net

As parents we can often become overwhelmed by various tasks; especially cleaning up after our children. Before I became a mom, I watched my nieces and nephews, and then my great nieces and nephews tire their parent out trying to keep their homes cleaned. If you desire to have a helping hand and are not planning on hiring Merry Maids, here are some tips that you can use to help your toddlers get into the habit of cleaning up after themselves.

I believe that it is very important to get your child cleaning early when they still think it is fun.

Toddlers and Chores

  • How early should you start giving your toddler chores? From my observations and first-hand knowledge, you can start as giving age appropriate chores as soon as your child can accomplish them. I believe age 2 is a good reference point for children to began because they are usually capable of moving freely and can communicate. Even before the age of 2 you can help your child accomplish little tasks with you, like putting away blocks or bath toys. Little ones love to be helpers so give them small tasks that are easy to complete, justt make sure you show them how and what you want done.
  • What kind of chores can a 2 year old accomplish? This answer varies, but for starters a child can:
    • Pick up their books and toys and put them away when they are finished.
    • Let your child wipe off tables (if the table isn’t glass). You may need to go over it again once your child is done, but this helps satisfy your child’s since of accomplishment.
    • Hang up their jackets and or coats. (They should have a place to have their coats just like they would in school)
    • Place their dirty clothes in a hamper
    • If they spill something, they can wipe it up.
    • If they drop something, they should pick it up.
    • This list can go on and on, but get to know your child and see what they are capable of doing. WEB MD has a great article on the subject that I encourage you to read. Click here for the article.
    • At the age of 3 you can start teaching them how to fold clothes and put them away.
  • If you don’t like doing certain household chores, try not to complain about it in front of your child. Viewing cleaning in a negative light is a learned behavior.
  • Don’t do everything for your children, let them help. If you don’t plan on visiting your child in college to clean up after him or her, you must teach them at a young age how to clean.
  • Should you reward your child for chores completed? For some, but not all.When your child goes above and beyond you can give him or her a bonus; similar to a bonus that you would receive from your job. However you don’t want to reward your kid for everything because they will think that anytime they do something, they should get something else in return.
  • Should you punish or scold your child when they don’t want to help out or keep reminding them? No, if your child doesn’t want to do it. Talk to your child about how you want your house to be clean and presentable and ask if your child would like you to help him complete the task and then help guide him along the way, but don’t be extremely pushy because this could later backfire.
  • Rule of thumb: try to make it fun and exciting. By doing the following: (the suggestions listed below, work great on toddlers because they love interacting with you and are young enough to appreciate playing). Children also enjoy seeing their parents let loose a little bit. In my home we start cleaning sessions by saying, “What time is it? What time is it? Cleaning time” then we proceed with the following.
    • Play music
    • Dance and work
    • Sing cleaning songs
    • Turn it into a game
  • Don’t forget to encourage and praise your child for a job well done.

I believe that it is very important to get your child cleaning early when they still think it is fun so that it will be a normal part of their day just like playing. If you have ever seen a teenager that didn’t like cleaning, most likely they were not encouraged to clean as a toddler. Cleaning is a learned skill and should be taught early just as you would teach basic hygiene skills. Cleaning is also a great way for your child to cultivate your child’s fine motor skills.

Here’s the chore chart that we have use Uncommon Goods Kids’ Responsibility Board

Reader Question

I am interested in your thoughts, will you give your child small minor tasks to complete or continue to clean only on your own?

[notification type=”notification_warning” ]Image source Pixabay. Cover photo by stocksnap [/notification]

Scroll to Top