Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chores for Two Year Olds

Grace is two years old (2 years and 4 months old, to be exact.) Without realizing it, we've started giving her normal tasks to do around the house. She loves to be our helper girl and she gets such a sense of pride and accomplishment when she does a task and can contribute to our family.

You can search on pinterest for all sorts of ideas for chores for your kids at any and  all ages, but I thought I would share what is working for us?

Some traits to look for in your two year old are:

Physical ability- can they maneuver themselves safely while doing a task? Grace is confident walking, running, climbing, and carrying things.

Mental ability- can they problem solve? I'm obviously not talking about genius level stuff here, but if they spill a cup of water do they know not to walk through it? Do they know to grab a towel?

Verbal ability- can they communicate if they need help, are frustrated, or are hurt? Grace never stops talking so we knew we would hear "Uh-Oh!" or "HELP!" if something went wrong.

Motivation- Without getting into the educational psychology side of things, how is your two year old motivated? Extrinsically- where they need a verbal praise, sticker chart, or pom poms in a jar? or Intrinsically- where the sheer satisfaction of finishing a job is reward enough? Either one is fine, it will just be helpful to know what motivates your preschooler!

How We Started:

I didn't want to make chore time as something that is separate or special from our every day life. To me, it is what it is. Part of our daily responsibilities. It ebbs and flows and is flexible with what is happening that day. 

So, as I did a chore, I talked it through with Grace if she was tagging along. 

"Look Grace, I'm unloading the silverware. First, I am taking out all of the spoons. Can you hand me that spoon? Great job! Now I'm going to put them in the spoon spot in this drawer. Do you want to go get your stool so you can see into the drawer and help?"

The next time I might open the dishwasher and ask her if she remembers what to do. Maybe I'll prompt her to grab her stool.

Then the time after that I'd just ask "Grace, can you put the silverware in the drawer?"

And just like that a chore is learned

What She Can Do:
(note, Grace is not "young for her age." She doesn't act baby like (though sometimes I miss my baby so much!) and is often thought she is an older 3 because of her height and how she handles herself. This may affect her ability on this list.)

-Unload the silverware (after I have removed the knives)
-Take things to the trash
-Bring small trash bags to me from bathrooms in the house
-Takes dirty clothes to the appropriate hamper
-Lines up shoes (still hasn't mastered the straight line concept, but she tries.)
-Put the pillows on the beds as they are made (though not straight, but it works!)
-Helps move clothes from washer to dryer, or from the dryer to a basket
-Gather hangers from low closet rack
-"Dust" the coffee and end tables with a feather duster.
-Wipes down door knobs with a clorox wipe
-Tries to use a small dust broom and dust pan to clean up crumbs

Most of these chores are done with constant and direct supervision and are usually part of a chore I am doing- but it helps her to feel like she is participating in chore time and, honestly, she is! I can move onto something and she does the final touches on a chore (silverware in the drawer or pillows on the bed!)

They don't happen every day and her attention span is usually less than 10 minutes
It really is amazing how much they can do at such a young age. It's such a wonderful experience to see her accomplish a task that she has set out to do!


Lauren said...

LOVE this post! We are already working on some of these things with Elyse at 20 months. She likes to help us throw things away, close doors, and get her own dishes and silverware for meals. I think this is so helpful in teaching them responsibility!

Natalie said...

Love this! Callyn does most of these too...except the shoes...she just wants to play with the shoes haha. Laundry is her favorite, especially when its HER laundry. She tells me what each item is as she takes it out and if it belongs ot her or Colbie and it takes FORever, but I love it :)
She also loves to 'vacuum.' WHenever I vacuum I get out her mini vacuum and she thinks shes such a big helper!

Emily Powell said...

we do this kind of thing as well and people always think G is 3.5 or something! Nope, just a tall girl!