Baby Milestones: Helpful Toddlers
Okay, so he's not exactly loading the dishwasher for you, but by around 14 months, your toddler may show signs of trying to help out. In a recent German study, when an adult was hanging towels on a clothesline and dropped a clothespin on the floor out of reach, the babies would come to the rescue -- reaching and grasping for the clothespin and handing it over without verbal prompting or eye contact.
Your baby has probably already shown signs of empathy (1-year-olds, for instance, often try to comfort someone in distress), and wanting to help is the natural next step in a toddler's emotional IQ because it feels good to help. So if you've been putting off involving your child in basic chores, don't. And when he comes through, make sure that you thank him with a big "Oh, wow, you picked up Mommy's car keys all by yourself!" to encourage more positive behavior.