by Annika Zallek
Toddlers are at that developmental stage where they want to help, and they also want more independence. Yes, they are also at the stage of having tantrums for sometimes no reason at all, but this is the perfect age to start having them help with chores!
Often times, as a parent, you want to get through chores and cleaning tasks as quickly as possible which is easier to do if you do it yourself. But with a little bit of patience, you can help turn chore time into a learning experience for your child!
The act of cleaning up books and toys when your child is done playing with them is a great way to help with transitions. For example, when your child puts blocks back when they are done playing, it communicates that they are finished with one activity and want to focus their attention on playing with something else.
“Heavy work” is way to describe activities that use the big muscles and joints in the body which can provide calming and regulating input. Chores that keep your child active with moving their body around, pushing/pulling objects, and carrying things are a great way to give your child some heavy work.
Chores are a wonderful opportunity to practice following verbal directions. If that is too difficult for your child, you can model what you want your child to do and see if they are able to follow after watching you. You could make it harder by adding a step or two to see if they can follow or add more specific directions, such as “pick up all the red toys” or “put the socks in the basket and then bring the basket to mama.”
Toddlers don’t know that chores are not typically a fun thing to do, so make them into a play experience that includes the whole family! Maybe an older sibling can use them as an assistant, or you can turn a chore into a turn taking activity for the family.
Would you like to learn more about how chores can help children develop their physical, social, and cognitive skills? Call TEIS Early Intervention at 412-271-8347 or text 412-543-8398 for more information. Our business Hours are 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, M-F.