Nooooooo! (If you have a toddler, you know what I mean!)
ME do it! (I am sure you recognize that one too! :-) )
Many toddlers want their own way and will express it very clearly (read tantrums). So how do we then make them do chores? Maybe just until they are happy 8-year-olds?
No. You can make a toddler do chores without a struggle by utilizing their “me do it” if you focus on fun and cooperation.
We all want to raise helpful children, and I completely understand that there are crazy moments when you simply want something done quickly.
Our toddlers love to help around the home. For some reason, there are certain chores that they want to help with, and others that they have no interest in doing.
For example, my son loved to help me in the kitchen with the cooking and the dishes. This is something he was naturally drawn to doing. But trying to get him to pick up his toys was a nightmare!
So, how can we encourage our toddlers to help around the house without losing our patience? Or better, how can we inspire our toddlers to help around the home?
Today, I want to share with you some easy tips you can start doing today that will get your toddler helping you with the chores in the home.
Patience is Key to Make Your Toddler do Chores
Expect to be patient. A lot. When a child is first learning to do something, a lot of patience will be your best investment.
I know you’re tired and you want something done quickly so you can rest and be on the next part of your day. However, when you take the time to let your child learn, make mistakes, and grow from the chores in the home, you’re creating within them a desire to want to help.
When your toddler starts doing chores for the first time, you’ll probably have to come in from behind them and redo their work, or you might be waiting longer than the chore should take. But use these opportunities to your advantage.
You can praise them for their hard work and willingness to help, and you can also instruct them on how to properly complete the chore that they’re wanting to do for you in the home.
Do the Work Together
Invite them to work with you. If your toddler is showing no interest in doing chores but you’re wanting to start teaching them about cleaning up after themselves, then begin by inviting them to work with you.
When your toddler sees that you’re willing to work alongside them, they are more willing to help you. Some helpful tips for doing this include giving them specific directions. So instead of saying, “let’s pick up all your toys and put them away,” you can say something like, “Sweetie, will you please pick up your red firetruck and put this in your toy box.”
By being intentionally specific, you’re helping to create expectations for their cleaning habits in the home.
Focus on Fun and Interests
Have them help you with chores that interests them. If your toddler still doesn’t want to pick up their toys, then start by focusing on the chores that they want to help with.
Do they love cleaning the bathroom or making their bed? Do they want to help organize and fold the laundry? Use their interests and desires first and then invite them to help with other areas of the house.
I remember when my son wanted to help me with the dishes. A small pile of dishes that should have taken ten minutes to wash took twenty because my son was helping. We had so much fun splashing in the water, scrubbing the cups, and placing them in the drying rack that when this chore was done, I invited him to help me clean up the pillows in the living room and pick up his toys.
Chores as games
Make chores into a game. Toddlers love games and competition. One of the easiest ways to make your toddler do chores is to turn the chore into a game.
Maybe they love racing against the clock or their siblings or parent. Maybe they’d rather race against themselves or try to save the “good guys” by using their imagination. Use whatever they identify with as a means for helping them to complete their chores in a fun manner.
Set expectations and follow through daily. By reminding your toddler of the rules to pick up their toys every day, you’re setting up a pattern of expectations and success for them.
They need to understand that they can choose their choices, but they can’t choose their consequence. If you have a family rule of not being able to play with any toys your toddler doesn’t put away that night, then you need to follow through with the consequences.
Once your toddler has found a way to bend the rules or finds a way for you to make an exception for them, you better believe they’re going to use this to their advantage.
And that was it!
As you are patient with your toddler and invite them to work alongside you with the household chores, you will begin to cultivate within your child a love for cleaning and helping.
Your toddler will want to help around the home and eventually help without having to be asked or reminded. Simply keep being patient with them, set the expectations so they know what to expect, and follow through with them on a daily basis.
You’ll find more tips on how to act as a parent to create happy, cooperative kids here!
You can also check out this awesome online course in positive parenting for more tips on how to reduce conflict and make your kids cooperate
What tips do you have that have helped you encourage your toddler to clean up around your home? I would love to hear about what works great for you and your family, and what hasn’t worked so well. Please share it below!