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The 5 Ws of Toddlers and Chores
Looking to introduce chores to your toddler but fearing a mass revolt? Fear not, we've got you covered! Here are the who, what, when, where and why of toddlers and chores!
As parents, the Creative QT team understands exactly how exhausting looking after children is! We eagerly await the day our 'babies' are old enough to help out around the house. Then we find out (the hard way) that the little rascals are less than willing to pick up a single toy, let alone fold the laundry! Here's some top tips from our well-seasoned team of parents, for how to successfully introduce chores to your toddlers.
The first 'who' that we need to think about is the child. Carefully consider your toddler's age and personality. Trying to force a young child to follow specific instructions is not always a good idea. We know that you have to pick your battles! So don't force too much responsibility too soon. Work with your child and not against them. When they start displaying signs of independence and an ability to follow instructions, follow their lead and build on their momentum.
The other 'who' that should be considered is the person or people who will be asking for the chores to be carried out. From our experience, it really pays off to have all parents / family /caregivers on the same page. Don't let Mom be the shouting dragon demanding the toy room to be tidied up, only for the hero Dad to swoop in the next night and allow a movie to be watched instead of doing a chore. Consistency is key!
Carefully consider what you are asking your child to do relating to their age. Expecting a toddler to unload a dishwasher or clean a bathroom is a) not safe, b) unrealistic, and c) counterproductive. You have to make the chores achievable for little people in order to give them a sense of accomplishment. This in turn is what will motivate them to want to do the chore again.
There are some great age-appropriate chore charts available on Pinterest. We found these from 100 Things 2 Do that even have space for chores to be ticked off when they are achieved. Hopefully you can pick out some relevant and attainable chores from the lists that would suit your toddler. If you are using Chore Sticks, why not write some of these on the 8 blank sticks you get in the pack?!
We feel that this is the most easily neglected 'W'. When do you like to do your chores as a parent? When you are distracted by other people? When you are busy doing something way more fun? When you are hungry? When you are tired and grumpy? Did you answer yes to any of those? No, nor did we! And nor did your toddler!! Choose the time for chores very carefully. Don't leave it until just before bedtime when everyone is impatient and irritable. If you want doing chores to be a good experience with your little one, try to find time in the day when they don't feel like they are missing out on something more interesting. Basically pounce on that calm before the bedtime storm!
This may seem obvious as chores are for the home, but make the chores relevant and relatable by doing them in familiar toddler territory to begin with. Instead of asking your child to dust the coffee table, why not ask them to dust their play kitchen or their crib. It helps to give the chore a purpose therefore increasing its importance in the eyes of the toddler.
Chores can also be worked into your toddler's daily routine to help build momentum. For example, after bath time ask your toddler to hang up their towel, put dirty clothes in the hamper and dry up any splash puddles on the bathroom floor. Before you know it you won't even have to ask for these little jobs to be done!
We know that some people may read this and think that asking toddlers to do household chores is inappropriate or not worth the hassle. We can understand your reservations. Let kids be kids right? This is why we feel it is important to make the chores fun, attainable and part of your regular routine.
Chores are a great way to introduce the concept of responsibility, and also an effective way to build more independence. They can form an additional part of daily routine through a structured schedule. Most importantly though, chores are another form of play based learning. Make the chore fun and there will be numerous learning opportunities. For example, even putting dirty clothes in the hamper is a simple link to counting and letters. You could even make it into a target throwing game! All chores involve some degree of fine motor skill development. If you choose to use our Chore Sticks, you might even pick a fun stick and enjoy dancing to your favorite song!
So there you have it, the who, what, when, where, and why of chores. Creative QT has recently launched a great new product called Chore Sticks. It is a fun way to make family chores into an enjoyable form of Making Time Together. When you purchase your pack of Chore Sticks you also gain access to some fun downloadable games that turn chores into a 'friendly' family competition.
Creative QT designs quality + innovative toys that declutter homes and inspire creative play. Founded by parents of five, Adam and Dana Sue Hinkle, Creative QT’s vision is to empower parents and encourage a culture of families that Make Time Together. All products are designed to enrich families’ lives through active, creative play and play based learning. Creative QT products are laboratory tested for compliance with CPSC requirements and are free of lead, cadmium and phthalates so you can play with confidence. So, go ahead … today is the day: be your kid’s hero.
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