Toddler-Friendly Chores

by Elizabeth Rusch

Toddler-Friendly Chores

Cleaning up toys

What he can do: Pick them up off the floor and sort them into buckets or onto a low shelf
What he can't: Stay focused enough to tackle a huge mess
How to help: Establish a place for every toy; clean up one mess before making another

Putting away clothes

What he can do: Hang his jacket on a hook; place shoes in a closet; toss dirty things into a basket
What he can't: Tell the difference between clean and dirty clothes
How to help: Hang low hooks near the entry; place a hamper near his room or bathroom; add "put clothes away" to your coming-home and bedtime routines

Setting the table

What he can do: Place napkins, forks, spoons, and plastic cups (maybe plates)
What he can't: Carry sharp knives; be responsible for your best china
How to help: Lay out one place setting as a model; work on plates one day, napkins the next


What he can do: Wipe a cloth on a surface right in front of him
What he can't: Thoroughly clean large surfaces; dig into corners; move objects to dust
How to help: Fill a clean spray bottle with water; closely supervise spraying; suggest he move down the table when one spot is done


What he can do: Imitate your motions with a broom; push dirt around
What he can't: Actually gather dust into a pile
How to help: Offer a kid-size broom and dustpan; hold the dustpan while he sweeps