Help Teach Responsibility Early with These Toddler Friendly Tasks
The following list has several age-appropriate chores your two-year-old can help with.
At two years old, your sweet baby is starting to develop into a little person with a BIG personality. One of the main struggles of parents during this time period is how to help your little one learn to listen and follow directions while fostering their growing independence.
A perfect way to support your toddler’s desire for independence is to allow them to help with age-appropriate chores or household tasks.
Here are eleven helpful chores you can encourage your two-year-old to do.
Some of these are tasks your toddler can do independently but most of them will require assistance or supervision in the beginning.
1. Put Away their Toys
Picking up toys is one of the first chores your two-year-old should be able to start doing.
It’s a great idea to start teaching your toddler to put away their toys as soon as they can understand what that means. At two, your little one’s language skills are rapidly developing. Not only will they learn to speak many words during this time period, but they will also begin to understand SO MUCH.
At first, you may need to model how to do this or show them step by them. For example, pick up a block on the floor and say, “Let’s pick up the block.” Then put it in the basket and say, “Put it in the basket.”
Once they understand the concept, simply tell them using specific action words: “Put your blocks back in the basket.”After they have mastered this concept, you can say, “clean up your toys.”
Sometimes getting your two-year-old to pick up their toys takes a lot of encouragement or help from mom and dad. You can try to make it a game by seeing who can pick up toys the fastest. I also like giving my daughter a warning about how much time she has left. I let her know she has to pick up her toys in five minutes, then two minutes, then one minute. Setting a timer can be helpful as well. Just tell your toddler that when the timer goes off, it’s time to clean up.
To make it fun, incorporate a cleanup song into this task. Most parents are familiar with the Barney Clean Up Song, which is easy to remember and sing. You can also just make up your own!
2. Throw Away Trash
This is an easy one! You can start encouraging your toddler to throw away trash once they’re able to walk to the trash barrel and follow one-step directions.
When my daughter was younger, she LOVED when we’d ask her to throw things away for us. Now that’s she’s older, we’ve incorporated teaching her which items go in the trash and which go in the recycling bin.
3. Help Set The Table
My daughter loves to pick out her own bowls for her snacks. Recently, she’s been choosing which bowl is for mommy and which bowl is for daddy. I like to let her pick out our dishes for dinner as a fun way to get her involved in the meal preparation process.
We keep our unbreakable dishes and bowls in a low drawer in our kitchen. This way they are easily accessible to her.
4. Help Put The Dishes Away
My daughter helps empty the dishwasher by putting away her own plates and bowls. Since we keep this in a low drawer that she’s able to reach, I can hand her certain plates and bowls and she knows exactly where to put them!
5. Put Dishes In The Sink
This is something I never thought to teach my daughter to do. One morning, I realized she had cleared her table on her own and put her cereal bowl and spoon in the sink.
I’m not sure if she picked this up just from watching me and her dad or if it’s something she learned at daycare. Whatever the reason behind it, I jumped at the opportunity to continue encouraging her to clear her space after meals and put her dirty dishes, cups, and silverware into the sink.
Now how long until she can start washing the dishes?!
6. Help Clean Up Spills
My daughter knows that when food falls on the floor, she has to pick it up and throw it in the trash barrel. We’ve recently started encouraging her to help clean up her own spills if she knocks over her water or milk cup (whether by accident OR on purpose!).
7. Get Self Dressed and Undressed
It’s much easier for your toddler to take off their clothes then put them on. If you’ve started potty training, your two-year-old should be able to pull their pants down independently. They will also probably be able to take off their own socks, pull-ups or underwear.
A lot of two-year-olds will require assistance with putting clothes ON at first. This is still a great opportunity to help them practice motor skills as well as cognitive skills. For example, they need to have the ability to lift one left up and put their foot through the hole in their underwear. They also need to develop the thinking skills to be aware that underwear goes on first and they can put their pants on after the underwear.
8. Pick Out Their own Clothes
Getting my daughter ready in the morning can sometimes be a struggle. I try to give her as much independence as possible (when she wants it) to help make this daily task easier.
At this point, she can’t quite pick out an entire outfit. She will usually bring me three shirts and no pants or vice versa. I guess they all look pretty similar when they’re folded up inside her drawer.
However, she does love to choose her own underwear and socks. We keep them in a low drawer that she can open herself.
9. Put On, Take Off and Put Away Shoes
I encourage my daughter to choose which shoes she wants to wear in the morning. She still needs help putting on her shoes. However, she’s able to take them off herself and she puts them away on the shoe rack. Sometimes she’ll do this on her own, sometimes with a gentle reminder.
10. Put Dirty Clothes In Hamper
This is an easy task your two-year-old can do independently. My daughter often needs reminding, but she’s typically great about picking up her own clothes and putting them into her hamper.
We keep this super cute elephant hamper in her room that I got for my baby shower.
11. Help With Doing the Laundry
This is one that requires supervision, of course, but my daughter loves helping with the laundry. She takes clothes out of the hamper and puts them in the laundry basket. I let her help to put clothes into and out of the washing machine and dryer. She also pours in the detergent with assistance and pushes the start button.
Folding and putting clothes away is another whole story — we’re working on this part for when she turns three 🙂
Encouraging your two-year-old to help with chores and household tasks is a great way to help them learn responsibility and nurture their need for independence.