Can toddlers really do chores? Yes. Even at this early age, children should begin helping to keep the home as it should be. Will they do a perfect job? No. They will, however, begin the learning process of doing certain chores and gain the realization that they are important in contributing to the work that needs to be done.

All chores done by toddlers need to be supervised by adults. Time spent teaching children at this level will pay big dividends in the years to come when the children are able to do many things without total supervision. Toddler chores are done alongside adults. Keeping children busy helping out at this age prevents their doing things that cause more messes to be cleaned up. Toddlers are usually eager to help and have that look of satisfaction on their faces when they are praised for their efforts.

Here are some things toddlers can do:

Pick up/put away toys. It is helpful to make a game of this. Counting to ten slowly as toys are put away and trying to get them all put away by the end of the count makes a fun game of the task. Help unload the dishwasher. Toddlers can put away silver or plastic items that can be reached. They may need a step stool to reach the silverware drawer. Dust larger items with a feather duster as someone else dusts the smaller items. Use a small broom or Swiffer to help dust the floor. Pick up dirty clothes and put them in the hamper. Put clean clothes away in drawers that can be reached with a step stool, and carry clean clothes to rooms where they belong. Help scrub spots off the floor. Pick up things that are dropped as cooking is done. Stir some things that are being mixed in the kitchen. Dust baseboards. Take clothes out of the dryer and put them in the laundry basket. Carry dirty silverware from the table to the kitchen after eating. Throw paper plates and cups in the trash after eating. Go get items for mommy and daddy. Take items to others as directed.

We tend to underestimate what children can do. In days gone by, it was necessary for children to help in families in order to survive. Children knew they were of value to the family as they performed necessary tasks. We have so many helpful tools now that we tend to allow children to have too much time on their hands. Self esteem is achieved by actually being worth something. Children find self worth through achievement of worthwhile activities. We rob our children of this wonderful feeling when they are not allowed to participate in doing things that have value.