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Teaching your kids various household tasks from an incredibly young age is vital for their growth--kids will learn to be more adept, responsible, and useful for their surroundings as they grow older.
Of course, it would not be appropriate to assign them heavy jobs, but some simple chores are perfectly fine for toddlers and pre-schoolers as they match their small size and capacities.
Here are the top 7 chores for toddlers and pre-schoolers that can be done with minimal supervision on your part:
1. Pick up their toys
Toys are probably the biggest spare time-eater for toddlers at home and things can get messy pretty quick. If you do not want your household to look as if a bomb has just exploded or simply want to show your kids how they can become tidier and more organized, encourage them to pick their toys once they finish playing with them. Get a big toy box or basket and tell them they can leave all their toys there--each time they do so, they will get “points” and once they gather enough points e.g., pick up their toys for 10 times in a row, they will get a small prize.
2. Help with baking
Cooking with sharp utensils is a no for toddlers, however, if they have learned to stir and eat their food already themselves, you can make them use their little hands for stirring and making cookies, brownies, or other baked goods that are kid-friendly and do not require many utensils or complex steps. Kids love preparing something that they will enjoy a few minutes later, even if they did the tiniest part in the process.
3. Feed a pet
Small kids and animals can be best buddies, but beyond that, kids need to realize that animals have their physical needs too, just like them, and are not just “moving” stuffed animals. Feeding a pet is an easy task for a toddler of 3-4 years and you can also use this as an opportunity to make them learn counting feeding portions. e.g., tell them to count and leave the dog 6 cookies and 1 cup of water or leave a couple of flakes in the fish tank every time. Your kids will love it and most probably do the feeding themselves without prompting, but you still need to check if the portions are right.
4. Organize the groceries
Most kids love going to the supermarket because they simply love to see and explore small random stuff, however, they need to learn that groceries should be organized and go back to their respective places once they get back home. If you keep some of your food in lower cupboards or the lowest parts of your fridge that they can easily access, make them place the respective items to these places. They will certainly need a bit of help at first but soon they will be opening the cupboards to fill them with groceries themselves.
5. Water the plants
Whether you have a small garden or a big backyard, keeping your plants hydrated is essential for their survival--and since kids already like spending time on the backyard during spring and summer season, you can teach them to water some of the plants with their own little cute watering can. Show them how much water they should pour for every plant so it does not go to waste and take some pictures afterwards so they can admire themselves once they get bigger.
6. Match and fold their socks and underwear
Kids love to match things up based on their colour and shape and activities like this one stimulate their minds to notice and organize certain patterns. So next time you do the laundry, tell them to match their socks and underwear based on their colour and size (honey red sock goes with red sock) and then roll them up so they can be put back to their drawers. You will be amazed at how good they are at matching and even if they do minor mistakes, the task will be accomplished.
7. Make their bed
If your toddler’s bed is small and low (at a level that matches their height), you can teach them how to easily make their beds in a minute. Of course, do not expect them to stretch and make the bedding materials perfectly as you will most likely do the finishing touches, but they should at least become familiar with the process and do their beds every time they wake up at a certain time before going out of their rooms.