Toddler Responsibilities

Sometimes, we are so used to having always done things for our babies, we don’t realize when they are able to do things on their own.  What’s age appropriate helping? What are babies and young children able to do? You might be surprised at what a one and two year can and cannot do.

When the preschool director told all the parents at orientation the kids could put their shoes and jackets on themselves and to not do it for them anymore that. Blew. Our. Minds. As a FTM (first time mom), there are so many things like this: cleaning, getting dressed, walking up stairs.

I’m not saying my kids are constantly doing chores and cleaning, but in our family everyone contributes, everyone helps. We don’t consider cleaning up toys a chore, it’s Reece and Kat’s responsibility. Babies and toddlers cleaning can be tedious, but once it’s done they are so proud of what they accomplished.

Below is a list of ages when your child can start doing certain house responsibilities.  It’s not to say they have to do everything, every day. But maybe certain things daily and others a few times a month. For instance, any time the kids change dirty clothes go in the hamper. Helping switch the laundry loads is only a few times a month since I do it every day pretty much, #momlife, our whole lives would be laundry if they helped with the entire process of every load.

This is just a guideline to know it is possible for toddlers to do these things. It does take time and a lot of teaching. You know your kids best, but try them out and they may surprise you.

1-2 Years Old

  • Clean up toys – parents hold bin and point to toy and bin while also helping clean up.
  • Assist emptying silverware from the dishwasher (supervised, no knives)
  • Put dirty clothes in the hamper
  • Help put clothes in washing machine

Age 2

  • Bring plate to counter
  • Hang clothes in closet (parents put clothes on hanger) and put clothes in drawer
  • Switch clothes from washer to dryer (my kids think this is so fun, ha!)
  • Put shoes away when coming home
  •  Wipe up spilled drinks
  • Throw away trash

Age 3

  • Fold hand towels
  • Put dishes in dishwasher
  • Clean up toys unassisted, or minimal help
  • Put clothes on hanger to hang up in closet
  • Help parents empty dishwasher
  • Bring lunchbox to the counter after school
  • Throw away recycling
  • Set the table
    Reece cleaning up toys
    Reece cleaning up his toys, because he decided it was too messy

    Kat emptying the dishwasher
    Kat emptying the dishwasher, 2.5 years old

I’ll be writing a follow up on how we worked all these cleaning tasks into our family routine, frequency of when kids do certain tasks, and general tips for encouraging toddlers to help out. At what age, and which chores did your kids help out with?

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