As a parent, it’s important to teach your child responsibility and independence, and one way to do that is by involving them in household chores. Even though an 18-month-old may not be able to do everything on their own, they can still be a great helper and feel a sense of accomplishment. We’re introducing Baby Goblin to household chores. Somedays, it feels like herding cats, but here are seven simple ways that we’ve found to involve our 18-month-old with chores.
- Sorting Laundry
Your toddler can help with sorting laundry by handing you clothes to put in the washing machine or basket. You can make it a fun game by asking them to find all the socks or shirts. It’s also a great opportunity to teach them colors and shapes. Baby Goblin loves this one, one of his favorite playtime activities is emptying and resorting containers, so this helps him to learn colors, shapes, and matching while we fold his clothes. It may require a lot of patience in the beginning, if your toddler is anything like Baby Goblin, they may be just as likely to unfold and empty your baskets of clean clothes. Gently redirecting back to the laundry game you’ve create is a great way to combat that.
- Wiping Surfaces
Toddlers love to imitate their parents, so give them a cloth or a sponge and let them help wipe surfaces like the kitchen table or bathroom sink. You can also give them a small spray bottle with water and let them mist the surfaces before wiping. Baby Goblin loves wiping his spot at the table off after mealtimes. We also use it as an opportunity for a personal hygiene lesson by having him wash his hands before he wipes down his spot.
- Picking Up Toys
Toddlers can start to learn how to pick up their toys and put them away in the right place. You can make it easier for them by having designated bins or baskets for each type of toy, like blocks or stuffed animals. You can also make it fun by setting a timer and making it a race. We’ve built an entertainment center out of cube shelves, and all of the shelves that Baby Goblin can reach have bins for his toys.
- Watering Plants
Toddlers love to help with watering plants. Give them a small watering can and let them help water the indoor or outdoor plants. You can also teach them the names of the different plants and how to care for them. This might get messy, but some of the best memories come from messes.
- Setting the Table
Your toddler can help set the table by putting napkins, silverware, and cups in their proper places. You can also teach them how to count the number of plates and chairs needed for everyone in the family. Depending on where your toddler is with their learning and development, this one might be better for an older toddler. Baby Goblin takes the plates and silverware and runs, but we’ll keep trying as he grows.
Toddlers can help with dusting by using a feather duster or a microfiber cloth to clean surfaces like shelves or picture frames. You can make it fun by playing music and turning it into a dance party. Just be aware of any seasonal or dust allergies your toddler may have.
Toddlers can help sweep by using a child-sized broom or dustpan. You can show them how to sweep in a specific direction or how to make a pile of dirt or crumbs to sweep up. You can also make it a fun game by pretending to sweep up imaginary bugs or treasures, or make it a race to see who can sweep a toy across the floor the fastest.
By involving your toddler in household chores, you’re not only teaching them valuable life skills, but also helping them develop a sense of responsibility and independence. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when involving your 18-month-old with chores:
- Keep it fun: Toddlers love to play and have fun, so try to make chores a game or a fun activity.
- Be patient: Your toddler may not do things perfectly or quickly, so be patient and encourage them to keep trying.
- Keep it safe: Make sure to use child-sized cleaning supplies and avoid using any chemicals or tools that could be dangerous.
- Give them praise: Toddlers love to be praised and acknowledged for their efforts, so make sure to give them positive feedback and encouragement.
- Be consistent: Try to involve your toddler in chores on a regular basis so that they can develop a routine and a sense of responsibility.
Involving your little one with chores can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your child. By starting early and incorporating simple tasks into your daily routine, you can help your toddler develop important life skills and a sense of responsibility. Remember to keep it fun, be patient, and give them lots of praise and encouragement.