The Toddler Chore Challenge

It is amazing how toddlers observe you and want to mimic your actions. Activities such as doing the dishes or sweeping are what we consider chores or work, but it a child’s eyes, it is play. This also works in reverse, the simple luxuries in life, like napping or sitting down to a nice meal come off as some kind of form of torture to a child, or at least to my child.
Lately, my daughter has become very aware of messes. She will point & shout out “MESS! MESS!”. Sometimes, she will even break down in tears if I don’t get to them quick enough This is ironic being that most of the messes in our house have her brand stamped all over them. For quite sometime now, I have tried to work with Mai on the importance of picking up her toys. Some days it works and some days….
She is so often complaining about these messes that she wants mommy to pick up but as soon as I pick up a dish to clean it or pull out the vacuum, it is instant water works and before I know it a crying baby is wrapped around my ankles. “Ok,you’ve got mommy’s full attention.”

I thought now would be a good time for Mai to start helping mommy with the housework. She has after all loved the Swiffer since she was old enough to walk.
Mai at 11 months.

I found this list on Pinterest of age appropriate toddler chores.
from the blog

This week was an experiment in chores. Let’s see how she did.

Age Appropriate Toddler Chores:

~ Pick up toys and books and put them in their proper place – this does happen on occasion but typically is followed by her re-dumping them out

~ Put dirty clothes in the hamper – Mai does do this at bath time

~ Wipe the table after snack and dinner – Mai does like doing this. She sees me wiping spills on the floor a lot and she wants to do it too.

~ Dusting- make it fun! I have let her use my Swiffer duster before. She prefers the original Swiffer.

~ Unload the groceries- I haven’t tried this yet but she does love taking the food out of the lazy susan, maybe she will like putting them in too.

~ Help set the table- I don’t think she is quite ready for this yet.

~ Let them help you make the bed- I tried this with her this morning. She was less than receptive.

~ Wipe cabinet fronts- This she liked. But she was more interested in squeezing out the sponge on the floor than actually wiping.

~ Put dishes in the sink after meals- Mai is still to short to safely put them in the sink but sure does like washing the dishes

~ Water plants- I do not have any indoor plants, but this is a good one for next spring

~ Sweep- Swiffer!

~ Help sort whites and colors- Daddy is color blind, so this could be a big help for daddy.

~ Sort clean socks- Great idea

~ Wipe the windows- My daughter adores spray bottles, so she loved this

~ Bring the newspaper in- Mai loves going down the driveway with daddy & Duke to get the mail & paper

~ Push the buttons- If there are buttons that need pushing let your tot do it – Mai starts the dishwasher all the time. She often double washes loads for us. Thanks baby, for getting our dishes extra sparkling clean,

~ Help in the kitchen- there are so many ways toddlers can help in the kitchen from stirring to pouring to
washing fruit.

Today we let Mai help mommy with breakfast and then with the dishes at dinner.
At breakfast, we gave her some colored rice and a measuring scoop. She was scooping the rice & saying “cooking, cooking.” “Yes Mai Mai, you are cooking.” This made her very happy & very proud.

The dinner dishes were equally as rewarding for her. I gave her one of her sippy cups & let her wash it. She was smiling & excitedly yelling “wash, wash” as she rinsed her cup.


When the dishes were finished, she actually got upset. She wanted to keep washing. The sweet excited “Washing” from earlier turned into a sad, down trodden “waaashiiiing”. Don’t worry, honey, there will be more dishes to do. Wait a few minutes. The sink will fill up again. It’s magical like that.

She has also started feeding Duke, our furry baby…

This week went well. She really seemed to enjoy taking on her new responsibilities as mommy’s little helper. Will this love for chores continue into the upcoming years? Doubtful but maybe with a little help, it can still be enjoyable & worth while.

Please share your input and ideas. I would love to hear what you have to say on this subject.

Up next…Stuffed Pork Chop & Smashed Potatoes

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About The Pinterested Parent

I am loving wife to my best friend & mommy to our smarty pants little girl, who loves to learn, craft & play. I am an artist, a crafter & I am Pinterest addict. When I first started my blog it was meant to be an outlet for my Pinterest addiction. I was looking to inspire & be inspired. What it became was a wonderful journey for me & my daughter in which we chronicle our activities, crafts, lessons & a hefty slice of our life. Please join us as we navigate through this wonderful thing called motherhood.
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28 Responses to The Toddler Chore Challenge

  1. jo-anne says:

    Such an adorable baby you have! I’ve also read this before, I have a copy of the list and slowly let my toddler do some of the chores listed. You’ll be amazed on what they can achieve.

  2. pfchico says:

    She has really taken to some of them. She always wants to do the dishes with me now & is so upset when we finish. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. ursulamarie says:

    Love the idea of having a toddler help out with chores. If they can see doing chores as fun, maybe we can too 🙂

  4. Denise says:

    ohh isnt cute ? adorable baby ! interesting article love the way you introduce chores to kids

  5. Yette says:

    Your baby is so cute. I’ve been hearing about these toddler-chore challenge for sometime and it’s nice to read your thoughts about them. 🙂

  6. Long Andi says:

    They are very cute. It is a great way to make them self-sufficient when it grows up.

  7. Ammar Elahi says:

    Unique and interesting post! Kids should definitely learn about chores this way!

  8. pfchico says:

    Thank you all for your comments and thoughts. Please stop by again.

  9. genzelkisses says:

    so cute! I do that too when I was a kid as far as I can remember. I also watch as my aunt applies makeup on her face 😀

  10. I am slowly giving my kids (1 year old and a 3 year old) their responsibility by letting them clean up the mess that they made most especially their toys. I also let them sweep the floor and even fold their clothes if they wanted to.

    I really do think that it is a best practice for kids to learn their responsibility at a very young age although some may see it as abusing your kind just because you let them do some chores but for me it is a start in honing them to be independent.

    • pfchico says:

      I don’t think of it as abuse at all. It is true, that it teaches responsibility. We have been working on manners for quite some time now too. She is becoming really good at asking with a please and saying thank you. I think it great that you are teaching them the importance of chores.

  11. meghanlynnjackson says:

    I have my own little munchkin (she is only 14 months) and we have only started her with putting toys away where they belong. It works some of the times but promptly get pulled back out to play with again. It is a circle that just keeps going and going! Maybe in the next few months I will get her to help with a few things. Sweeping seems to be like playing curling with a toddler at the moment.

    • pinparent says:

      It is wonderful that you starting to teach her at such an early age. They are funny. My daughter loves the Swiffer.

      • meghanlynnjackson says:

        What is their fascination with the Swiffer? I mean really? It baffles my adult mind!

      • pinparent says:

        Lol! I know. I am not sure. They are fascinated by the most random of things. A few weeks ago, I worked on a project with colored rice & it ended up all over the house. She still will find an individual grain & walk around with it like she just found a nugget of gold.

      • meghanlynnjackson says:

        I think the best is the glee they have in their eyes when they find what they consider a “treasure”. Makes the day all the more special.

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  23. bluebee says:

    What a sweet little helper. My eldest niece was much the same as Mai on the chore front as a child, and her chore habits continue, so here’s hoping for you 😀

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