How do you get your toddler to do chores? With lots of supervision and help. 3 year olds tend to not be very focused. Heck, my 11-year old has no focus. There is always something shiny around to distract the kids. Especially when you are picking up toys. They inevitably start playing with the thing they were supposed to be cleaning. But I digress. I found a very cute Toddler Chore Chart with pictures. You can download the one at the link or you can create your own based on the chores you want your child to do.
Now that you have your chart, don’t think you can just say, “Fix your bed”, “Clean up your toys”, “Fold your laundry” and expect your child to do it. Teaching your child how to clean up will involve a lot of your time initially. You need to show them how to clean. What to clean AND what NOT to clean. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
1. Explain what you want her to do.
“Ok, T. we are going to pick up all your toys and put them in this box! Isn’t that fun? Let’s see who can pick up the most toys!”
2. When the chore is completed praise her and put a new sticker on her chore chart.
Have her put the sticker in the proper place. Give her a big hug and tell her what a great big girl she is for doing her chores.
3. Rewards are good.
There is some controversy over rewarding your child for doing chores between some moms. I am of the camp where rewards are good and they work. But do what works for you and your household. A reward can be a sticker for their shirt, reading their favorite book to them, going out to play or even a healthy snack choice. Money has no value for most toddlers. I would wait until they are older to start giving out cash.
4. Consistency is the key.
I know it turns out to be more work for you doing it this way than if you just did the work yourself. But you are investing your time and effort in training your child to take care of their world. Keep at it every day or every other day or at least every week. You will set the expectation that they are responsible for cleaning up their messes and you will eventually have less work to do.