Monday, March 11, 2013

Teaching Your Toddler to Do Chores

I often have people tell me how smart little princess is, how independent, and her school always says that she is such a good helper and teacher to the other kids. A lot of the time I totally buy into this. I mean it's bad manners to turn down a compliment right??? But, I do get a reality check when we hang out with one particular friend. He is 5wks older than little princess. Man, that little guy is smart as a whip! His mom said she gets the same comments about his intelligence. She also agrees that seeing little princess helps her see it could possibly be normal. Thank goodness we have each other to keep us grounded. ha! :)  That got me thinking. Is princess "smart" or does she just have more experiences? Let's call the little boy prince. Little prince does not watch a lick of TV. His mom doesn't even turn it on until he goes to bed. She also stays off the computer and chances are if you text you won't hear back from her for a while. I know that she is totally devoted to her little family so I don't expect a response right away. Little princess sees some TV. I do turn it on when we get home. However, she does actually watch it and will request Barney in the evenings. I was letting her watch it a lot! We watched it on DVR and Youtube! I thought it was super cute that she asked to watch it and then would sign and ask "again please". But, we are doing a Barney intervention b/c mama can't handle that much Barney. I'm trying to do it only right before bed on weekdays.
I promise all of this has to do with chores. I started thinking she does the things she does and knows the things she knows because of modeling. She's usually right next to me while I work. I don't sit her in front of the tv. She's with me and I talk through what I'm doing using simple vocabulary. After a while she caught on and now she loves to help.

Doing the Dishes
If we are unloading the dishwasher the first I think I do is take out the knives. If we are loading the dishwasher I save the knives for last. She can't really help with loading the dishwasher but she thinks she's helping. Usually, she just rearranges all the utensils and moves them from the center basket to the end basket. In the beginning I had to be clear to watch her. I mean she's a 1yr old. She wanted to lick every utensil. I made a point of saying ooh yucky, that's nasty. That's really helped keep down on the licking. Now, the part that she can help with in loading is added soap and starting the dishwasher. We use the little packets. She gets one out of the pack, puts in the the compartment, closes it, closes the dishwasher, and pushes the green button to start it up. When we are unloading she hands me the dishes to put away. Now, I know what your thinking. You probably wondering if it takes me twice as long to do the dishes. Yes, it takes a little longer but I feel like we are teaching her a life skill and getting her in the habit of contributing to the family. All of this took time. She didn't just start doing it all in one day. We just built on one day at a time until she had all the vocab down and completely understood what we were saying.

Wiping Things Down
This began after Christmas. One of Mr.Spouses clients gave her a little Toy Story table w/two little chairs. I let her eat meals there. I always wiped it down after each meal. Well, one day she had a fit and wanted to wipe too. I handed her a wipe and SHE WENT TO TOWN. I thought alright cool! Now,  I really had to watch her in the beginning. B/c a one year old can't tell the difference b/t a Clorox wipe and a baby wipe. Now she wipes her table, the cabinets, and spills from the floor. She started wiping the cabinets when I discovered after a day home with daddy various parts of my house and her face had a lovely new blue crayon decoration. I will admit, sometimes I think she spills her little coconut milk on the floor on purpose just to clean it up.

Another of her favorite chores is taking out the trash. I use to let her take out the kitchen trash. She would drag it from the kitchen to the garage. Occasionally that would leave streaks and created a mess of it's own. So now she "helps" me carry it out. I do let her take out the bathroom trash all on her own because it's light enough. We also have her put her own put her trash in the trash on her own. Ya know diapers, snack packs, tissue, all that great stuff.

Another chore she helps with that I could not get a picture of is the laundry. She has two jobs with the laundry. She helps move it from the washer to the dryer. She can do this alone except if there are jeans. Those are heavy for her when wet. Once the clothes are dry I let her hand me a hanger as needed. Of course she wants to try and fold the clothes but I'll have to pass on help with that for now. :)

I hope this post can help someone. Remember, it's not about how smart your kiddo is or their ability to do something. I think at this point it's about what you expose them to and the experiences you give.

I'm sharing this with other moms at I Can Teach My Child.
Sorry if you are seeing a random pin it button, could not get that to work out :/


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