Our daughter just turned two and she does chores.
That may seem absurd, considering she’s essentially still a baby. (At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it…mama’s prerogative.) I know they’re only little for a short time, and we should let them be kids. And I absolutely agree.
But – I want to raise her to be helpful, accept responsibilities, and be independent. And right now she loves to help! She has this cleaning set from Melissa and Doug and loves to pretend to clean the house.
There will come a time – probably sooner than I would like – that she will fight me tooth and nail when it comes to chores, so right now, I’m going to take advantage of her eagerness to help. I never force her to do any of these jobs (except maybe picking up her toys. Hello, I did not make this mess.) and instead I just encourage her to help with the things she enjoys.
Let’s be clear about a few things. I’m not talking about scrubbing toilets or mowing the lawn, and she doesn’t yet earn an allowance, (or really know what money is for that matter) but by having her take ownership of simple tasks, it allows her to take pride in herself for completing a job.
She feeds our puppy. This is one of her favorite chores and she would do it six times a day if we weren’t careful. (I don’t think our puppy, Ellie, would object.) We keep her food in a large metal bin next to her dishes. Reagan is able to open the lid, scoop out the food and transfer it to the dish. It’s not always a particularly neat transfer, but she loves being in charge of the task.
She puts her clothes in her hamper. This one is pretty straight forward, and to be honest, I often just chuck her clothes in myself while I’m standing at the changing table. But she knows where they go, and any time I ask her to do it, she happily obliges. (I’m going to sit over here and daydream that she will still enjoy that when she’s 12.)
She helps me switch the laundry. This is another favorite of Reagan’s. She loads the clothes into the washer, she helps me make the transfer into the dryer, cleans the lint trap, throws in the dryer sheets, and pushes the buttons on both machines. The only part she doesn’t have a hand in is the detergent.
She cleans up her toys. This has been in her repertoire since she was about a year old. Her toys are split up into several canvas bins on shelves in our living room, with books all lined up on the shelves above them. Any time the toy mess gets crazy, and each night before bed, she helps us sort everything back into its home. Having them sorted into categories (blocks in one, babies and animals in another, etc…) helps her remember right where things go and she is able to put them in the correct location without us hovering.
She wipes up spills. This is an important one for me because she is generally the reason for the spill. I want her to take responsibility for the messes that she creates, so whether it’s a spilled snack, or a knocked over milk cup, I give her a baby wipe and have her take care of it. I come through and do a more thorough swipe to make sure we don’t have any stickiness remaining, but I make it a point to have her start it.
As she gets older, we will adapt and add to this list. At what ages did you have your kiddos start helping out? What other chores should we add to our list for our two year old?