Toddler Chores That Are Actually Helpful (Most of the Time)

Teach Toddlers to Help Around the House

Every time you try to get something done around the house -- dinner, laundry, sweeping or just generally tidying -- your toddler is there, trying to get in on the action. Toddlers love being helpful, but sometimes their eagerness to get involved with whatever mommy and daddy are attempting to accomplish ends up being an adorable hinderance. 

Two-year-olds love to copy those around them, which is why they are so interested mimicking their parent's as they work around the household. They've also reached several developmental milestones and now have the gross and fine motor skills, not to mention the verbal and cognitive skills, necessary to take on new tasks. 

Moreover, allowing toddlers to help with chores teaches them self-sufficiency and can build self-esteem. As children get older, having chores built into their normal routine will give them a sense of responsibility, sets expectations, and teaches them that the family operates as a unit.  

Before you try to dissuade your toddler from "helping" around the house simply because you can get the work done more efficiently, try to choose a few chores that she can easily assist with and that may end up actually being (kind of) helpful! Here are five to get you and your toddler started. 

1
Take Off and Put Away Shoes and Outerwear

Mother helping baby boy put shoes on
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Teach your toddler how to take off and put away shoes, mittens, hats, gloves and coats. Make the landing spot for outerwear easy -- hooks by the door that are low enough for your toddler to reach, a cubby or a simple basket should be sufficient. Your toddler will quickly get the hang of this and save you the time of having to do it for him.

2
Unload the Dishwasher.

Cultura/Matelly

Obviously, you need be careful of sharp and breakable items, but for an older toddler that is steady on her feet, helping to unload the dishwasher is doable. Start by having her put away spoons, forks, spatulas and other safe utensils. Or, move her kid dinnerware -- like plastic plates and sippy cups -- to a low cabinet where she can easily stow them. Remember, everything may not be sorted and stacked to your specifications, but as long as it's functional, that's OK. 

3
Feed Pets.

If your dog or cat eats dry food, there's no reason why your toddler can't start learning how to take care of the family pet. You'll need a measuring cup or some kind of container that ensures you're toddler won't overfeed your furry friend, but scooping up food and dumping it out into a bowl is definitely a toddler-friendly chore. 

4
Water Plants in the Garden.

Toddlers love water, so why not let him help in the garden? All you need is a small watering can (make sure it's not too heavy) and a few tutorials on not overwatering. After a few tries, he'll get the hang of it. 

5
Sort the Laundry.

Laundry -- possibly the most-hated, seemingly never-ending household chore. Enlist your eager toddler's help with this dreaded task. Your toddler can help sort out her clothing, put those items in her special laundry basket, and deliver them to her room. It may not be much, but when it comes to laundry, most of us will take what we can get. 

There are plenty of other small chores that toddlers can help with -- sweeping, dusting, wiping down furniture, setting and clearing dishes. Take time to teach them how to execute the task and try not to get frustrated. You may just end up taking something off your own plate. 

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