I had a mom epiphany a little while ago. After weeks of marveling to Chris about our toddler’s ability to follow multi-step directions to go and get toys from other rooms or areas of the house, it occurred to me- if he can follow directions to go get toys, then he can do it in reverse and put his own toys away!
Let’s face it: us Military moms are home alone with our kids a lot! Whether we like it or not, long work hours, frequent trainings, and the occasional deployment take our soldiers away from us more often than we’d like. Even with our minimalist approach to baby gear and toys, I found myself wasting a lot of my precious “me time” during naps picking up the mess from the morning. No more, my friends- I’m capitalizing on the toddler’s newfound joy in following directions and teaching him how to do his very first chores!
Yeah, twenty months old may seem a little early for real “chores”, but it’s definitely not too early to help him practice following directions or to model different tasks that he’ll soon be old enough to do on his own. Thinking about the importance of helping kids develop executive functioning skills and looking towards a Montessori style approach to parenting and school, I came up with the following list of age-appropriate tasks for a child who is 18-24 months of age:
-Put books and toys away in their places
-Fetch a toy for his brother
-Put his own dishes in the dishwasher
-Wipe up spilled water or milk with a rag
-Clean windows with a cloth (we use a vinegar/water spray so it’s kid safe!)
-Choose between two outfits
-Put his own clothes into the laundry hamper
-Move clothes from the washer to dryer and then from the dryer to a basket
I have to say I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well he does some of these tasks so far! His favorites are cleaning the windows and moving clothes between the washer and dryer. It’s also been nice to see him start to get toys for his brother without me having to ask- it’s just become part of his playtime to include the baby now.
I’d like to think that making helping out around the house a habit so early on will help to make it just a part of our daily routine as the boys get older instead of a struggle!
What about you- do you let your kids help out when they show interest in the chores you’re doing? I’d love to hear your ideas for getting kids to pitch in!