I recently wrote a post all about Age Appropriate Chores which included some great ways to involve toddlers and preschoolers in everyday household tasks. However, I wanted to also dive a little deeper into the benefits of including toddlers in everyday household chores.
Toddlers may seem too young to start helping out with chores, however, a great way to get them started is simply by including them in the chores you are already doing. Have them load the washing machine with you, or pass you the clean clothes to fold. Let them pour ingredients into the bowl while baking. Or, let them feed the family pet its dinner with you. By us simply including them, they are learning about household chores in an age-appropriate way,
Now, you may be thinking that involving a toddler in a household task will double the amount of time you need to spend doing the task. And, yes, it probably will. I’m not saying you need to include them every time you load the washer or fold the clean clothing. However, if you can involve your toddler from time to time, the benefits will far outweigh the pain of spending a little extra time on the task.
You see, there are actually many benefits to having toddlers involved in household chores! Starting kids at a young age is actually a really great thing and you are setting them up for success in the future.
There are so many wonderful benefits to childhood chores, however, today I want to focus on the 6 I think are the most beneficial! So, let me dive right in!
Benefit #1: Chores can Improve Self-Esteem and Confidence
Including toddlers in household chores can help to build their confidence and self-esteem! Toddlers are very much at the age where they want to do everything themselves. That need comes from wanting to feel some independence and control. When we include toddlers in small, easy chores, we are feeding that need to feel independent and in control. When they successfully complete these tasks, that builds their self-confidence and self-esteem. Small everyday chores are a great way to do this.
Also, when toddlers are not given enough opportunities in their day to be independent or feel in control, we often see the terrible power struggles come out. Not listening, wanting to do things on their own and getting upset when they cannot, tantrums, lots of No’s, etc.
When we provide lots and lots of opportunities in our toddler’s day to be independent and to make choices, those power struggles appear less and less. That can be letting them pick their own clothing out, putting on their own shoes, or helping you with simple, age-appropriate chores.
Benefit #2: Chores Aid in the Your Toddlers Development
Household chores provide so many opportunities for development. While helping with chores, your toddler is engaging in activities that may promote movement-cued development such as gross motor activities. Helping to put away groceries, picking up clothing and putting it in a hamper, or digging in the garden are all examples of gross motor activities which would help to develop gross motor skills. Many chores, such as pouring and mixing ingredients, are also great for fine motor development!
Chores are also great for developing concentration and attention span in toddlers. Chores are also a great way for toddlers to learn about following directions! Lastly, when doing chores together with your toddler, there are lots of opportunities for talking and using new words (spray, fold, wipe, pour, etc.), which in turn promotes language and vocabulary development!
Benefit #3: Chores Promote Teamwork
Including your child in the household chores is a great way to promote working together as a team. They may pass you the clothing while you fold. Maybe they pour in the ingredients and you stir. Or maybe you pick up some toys and they pick up some toys. Doing chores together teaches your toddler about teamwork and the many benefits of working together!
When your child is a bit older, their chores may become more independent, and you may no longer do the chores together. However, chores are still very much a team effort and by everyone in the house doing their part, the house stays clean and organized. By everyone in the family completing their specific tasks, they are working as a team to get the full job done. This is showing your child how to be a team player!
Benefit #4: Learning Everyday Life Skills
Children want to help and be included, especially toddlers. What better way to let them feel included than by letting them participate in activities that will literally provide them with life skills. Involving your child in laundry or cooking from a young age is providing them with skills they will carry with them into adulthood.
As someone who had a mother who basically did everything and rarely put any responsibilities on myself or my siblings, let me tell you I was not well equipped with life skills when I first moved out on my own. When you always have someone picking up after you, making your meals, etc. you don’t learn how to do any of that for yourself! Take my word for it and don’t do this to your kids! Doing everything for your kids is not helping anyone involved.
Let them be involved, give them age-appropriate responsibilities, and help them learn the skills they need to grow and function into an independent little human.
Benefit #5: Provides Opportunity for Connection
One of my favourite ways to connect with my toddler is through cooking or baking. We do this together, she helps pour in ingredients and mixes them up. Rather than me just cooking while she sits and watches TV, I try to include her. This allows us some time to connect and bond, while also providing her with skills and self-confidence too!
Spending uninterrupted time with your child is so beneficial. I’m talking time without your phone, one on one, you and them. Simply involving them in the things you do daily is a great way to do this! I’ve mentioned cooking already, but also things like gardening, folding laundry, cleaning a room together, organizing their playspace together, or anything that can be done together as a team. I find when I have my daughter help me with these simple tasks, it is a great opportunity to talk and be silly, and also they feel important and included.
Benefit #6: Meets the Need to Feel Independent
Did you know that often the power struggles we see in our toddlers often come from the need to feel more independent? Toddlers and preschoolers are little learning machines. They want to learn and they want to be given opportunities to do so. When we include them in things, we are filling that need for learning and independence.
They just want to help! If we are constantly telling them no, not letting them help, or never including them when they want to be included, we are going to see those power struggles as they seek out other ways to feel independent.
Start including them in some age-appropriate chores and household activities and may also start to see a change in the frequency of the power struggles too!
So there you have it! 6 benefits of including your child in household chores from a young age. If you need some ideas for age-appropriate chores, just make sure you check out this post: Age Appropriate Chores for Toddlers, Preschools & Beyond
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