Teaching Toddlers to Help

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Teaching Toddlers to Help

Guest post by Susan Mathis

Every mom knows that no child loves to help more than a toddler does. Often, though, it seems that these little ones can be more of a hindrance than a help.

However, there are many jobs that toddlers can do more or less on their own, and even more that they can do when working alongside you or another older person. Here are a few suggestions for teaching toddlers to help.

Teaching Toddlers to Help

In the Kitchen

  • After every meal, have your child carefully carry his plate, cup, and utensils to the sink to be rinsed.
  • When you sweep, have you child carefully hold the dustpan.
  • Give your child a very clean spray bottle filled with clean water and a small towel. Then let him spray and wipe the fronts of the lower cabinets, lower half of the fridge, etc. Not only will he be busy, he will also be reaching those lower counters that we adults have to stretch down for. WARNING:  Tighten the lid on the bottle tight so no one will get the fun idea of taking the lid off and pouring the water on the floor.
  • Allow your child to use the same water and cloth to spot clean the floor.

In the Library, Office, or Homeschool Room

  • Toddlers can shelve books, straighten up papers, and put pens and pencils in the cup.
  • They can also empty a waste paper basket in to the trash can.

In the Bathroom

  • This is one area you need to be very careful in cleaning with your child. Still, he can wipe the lower part of the shower stall with a spray bottle of water mixed with a little white vinegar.

In the Living Room

  • Have him look under furniture for lost toys, shoes, etc.
  • Give him a clean cloth or feather duster and send him hunting “dust bunnies” under the furniture. Then let him set them free by shaking the duster outside.
  • News Flash: A vacuum cleaner is the ultimate boy toy. It’s loud and runs with an engine on wheels. So, as soon as he is old enough to push it, introduce your son to the joy of vacuuming.

In the Laundry Room

  • Have him help sort clothes. This is a great time to teach colors and the concept of light and dark.
  • Have him carefully match up socks. Again, this is a great learning activity about matching.

In His Own Room

  • Obviously he should learn to pick up his toys. However, encourage him to sort them into the correct container, too, by taping a photo of the item that belongs in a certain box on that box.
  • Teach him to dust with a plain, clean cloth, or one that has been very, very lightly sprayed with a cooking spray.
  • He can make sure that his shoes are matched up and stored in the correct place in his closet.
  • Have him hunt and catch “dust bunnies” as in the living room.

The important thing to remember when teaching toddlers to help is that it’s not so much about perfection as it is teaching them to love helping out at home and to love serving others. The extra help is just the icing on the cake.

Susan Mathis is the homeschooling mom of three grown and nearly grown children.  She hopes to spend her new found spare time blogging and sharing what she’s learned through the years with others.   One of her favorite sites for homeschool helps is FreeBooknotes.com.


  1. This is a great post! I know my little ones feel so big and important when they get to help others. I reallly like the idea of a spray bottle of water as the main cleaning tool.

    • Thanks, Jillian–I thought Susan shared some excellent ideas! I, too, love the idea of the spray bottle with water. For some reason, little ones just LOVE getting things wet! :-)

  2. MamaMandy says:

    Thanks for some new ideas! I already try to teach my kiddos about keeping our home, but learned a few new ideas today.

    • I’m glad Susan’s article was helpful for you! I loved her creative suggestions, especially the water-filled spray bottle.:-)
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. carole hoch says:

    Iam just a grandmother, but enjoy your post. Sorry I missed all of this for some reason. Enjoy the pics and miss you all!!

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