Toddlers. Let’s talk about them. The good, the bad, and the smells. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think of my oldest as our guinea pig. In the most loving way of course. I tend to feel like we are constantly winging it because every day is something new. She’s always changing and curve balls happen often. It’s an adventure and I adore her, it just takes some time to really learn who she is and who she’s becoming. She is currently 3.5 years old and I am starting to enjoy this stage. There are challenges, lots and lots of challenges. But overall I am enjoying the fact that she can communicate and understand better. I am seeing who she is and really trying to hone in on her gifts and positive characteristics.
When I had my second child, my oldest was only 18 months old. My saving grace was that she became my little helper. She loved being able to help even if it was just grabbing me a diaper. I feel like kids are naturally wired to be helpers, but it is such a big part of her life now that I’m starting to see it as a gift. If someone falls down at the playground, she’ll be running to make sure they’re ok. If I drop something on the floor, she wants to pick it up right away (and hopefully not eat it). She loves every chance to help. While at times this can be inconvenient, I’m trying to foster that characteristic rather than allow it to bother me.
In the past year or so, I’ve tried to include her in everyday chores and activities (rather than treat her like a bother so I can do something). I’ll be honest, when she helps me with dinner – it takes twice as long. I have to slow down and remember that these days are flying by. If dinner takes twice as long, that’s ok. She is learning and she is loving every minute of helping Mommy. Here are some examples of ways I include her in our everyday tasks:
- Folding laundry – This is our most recent chore. I need to stop thinking of her as “little” and remember that she is so capable of these things. It may not be the best folding job, but I taught her how to fold shirts, pants and hang up clothes. And she can totally do it! Those kids learn fast, faster than we may realize.
- Cooking dinner – You can either lay out a sheet, or just let them make a mess and remember that it can be cleaned up. I choose to let her make a mess. If we are making dough, she is totally capable of pouring and whisking. And you guys, she lights up! I mean she thinks she is captain cool in our house when this is going on. It’s a joy to see, and also added work for me, but it’s so worth it.
- Picking up after herself – this is one we’ve worked on for a while, and are still working on. She is by no means perfect at it, but when she does remember to do this on her own – I give her all the praise. I make it a huge deal so she knows that when she picks up after herself, she is doing something awesome.
- Feed the dog – A little responsibility can go a long way. My toddler knows that this is her job and she feels such a sense of accomplishment once it’s done. We also implement a chore chart that involves stickers. The stickers may be the only motivation, but I’ll take it.
These are just a few examples. I try to include her in as much as I can. My almost two year old is starting to catch on as well! I give her smaller tasks, but she still has that same sense of accomplishment when she completes a chore.
Thank you for reading! Does your toddler love to do chores? What else could you add to the list? Comment below and let’s talk about it!