When I wash dishes, without fail my little guy comes and tries to push me away from the sink. Most of the time I just want to get the dishes done quickly, but when he started to push me away because he wants to play in the water I needed to rethink my strategy.
How do I still get the dishes done, but stop him from interrupting?
I tried moving him into a different room and distracting him with toys but he would still find his way back in between the sink and my legs, pushing at me to let him play. That boy loves water, if its near he wants to play in it. The same goes for when he is sleeping. If he hears running water he's up, without fail.
Finally, I decided to let him help. I plopped him up onto the counter, placed his little legs into the sink and gave him the sponge. Showed him how to scrub but, I found that he was just content being next to me while I do dishes. To my surprise I was able to get the rest of the dishes finished quickly.
Now this doesn't happen all the time, but I decided that if he wanted to be next to me while I worked, that teaching him along the way wasn't too bad of an idea.
My little one just turned 2 and one thing I love about him at this stage is his desire to help with everything. He is a very willing and eager participant just wanting to soak in everything. And it is at this stage that it is important to introduce the concept of chores.
Chores that a toddler can do:
- Throw away diaper
- Put away their dishes - My guy has his own drawer for his dishes that is at his level.
- Help wash dishes
- Put away toys
- Wipe down table/spilled milk or juice
- Pick up spilled cereal
- Help vacuum (Kind of) - He helps me push, and then gets tired and finds something else to do. Or the time when he dumped an entire bowl of dry cereal just for me to vacuum up.
- Putting Laundry into the machines
These chores are easy for the little ones to do, which gives them the independence and the "I did it myself" confidence. Now, majority of the time I am the one to do these things, however, when the opportunity presents himself I have him do the chore.
There are a few things that I am consistent with: if he made a mess I ask him to clean it up and help him along showing him every step of the way. For example, if he dumped his dry cereal, or milk I give him a bowl to pick up the cereal or a rag to wipe up the milk. I ask him almost every time to throw away his own diaper, I have no idea why but he loves doing it, so I let him.
Normally, if I am doing something around the house he will want to help, and I definitely do not want to discourage that because I wouldn't be doing him any favors if I raised him not having to help out around the house.
If we can teach our kids to do things now around the house, it not only teaches helpfulness but it also teaches them that we work together as a family to make our home nice. Also, if I can teach and encourage his want to help now, maybe just maybe he will continue to want to help around the house as he grows older. (Wishful thinking I know!)
I believe that if we teach them to do things when they are young, that they will be well equipped for when they are on their own.
Your Turn: What Chores Do Your Kids Do?
Comment in the comment section below!