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Toddler Talk: Making Chores Fun

Toddlers fit quite nicely in that little space between being a baby and being a kid. Part of the "growing up" includes learning about responsibility. From taking care of their belongings to looking after a garden, toddlers can and should help out with daily chores. With fun songs and silly prizes, these chores can be turned into a form of play! (It goes without saying that adult supervision is always a must.) Here are 10 tasks that are great for teaching little ones about responsibility...

1. Setting the table: You might not give your little ones glass plates or fancy platters, but they can easily carry silverware, napkins, and condiments (like a container of sour cream or a plastic bottle of ketchup) to the table. Even teaching your toddler how to make a place setting can be a great and rewarding task.

2. Carrying dishes to the sink: When you are finished with a meal, ask your little one to bring his or her dish to the sink. In this, they are learning about cleaning up after themselves and how to carry something without spilling. (Yes, you might have a few spills the first few times...)

3. Feeding the pets: Little ones can easily learn to feed a dog or cat, simply by looking to see if their pet's bowl is empty. Keep the food somewhere low, where your toddler can easily access it. If you don't want your little one handling the pet food, simply teach them to notice if the pet is hungry. Looking for the signs (wagging dog, meowing cat, empty bowl, etc.) is a great skill.

4. Putting toys and books away: This is probably the most basic chore that toddlers can do. After they are done playing with something, or at the end of the day, help them put their things back where they go.

5. Putting shoes away: For a toddler, shoes are so much easier to put away than clothes. There's no folding or opening of drawers involved. Usually shoes are lined up or thrown in a bin. This can be an easy task for a tot. Plus, there is matching involved, which is a great skill to learn.

6. Watering the garden: Kiddos love water! Find a small watering can and let your little one help with keeping the garden moist. If you have space, you could even make a special space in the garden just for your little one!

7. Throwing dirty clothes into the hamper: Toddlers love throwing things, so this is always a fun one. When your little ones take off their dirty clothes, have them throw them into the hamper.

8. Putting clothes into the washer or dryer: My littles love this task. From moving the wet clothes into the dyer, to putting the dry clothes in a laundry basket, little ones can learn simple lessons of organization, cleanliness, and responsibility.

9. Turning off the lights: This is another task that can be taught at an early age. In trying to reduce electricity use, teach your little one the importance of turning off the lights when you leave the room.

10. Laying out clothes for tomorrow: At the end of the night, have your little one help pick out their clothes for the following day. Then, have them lay them out someplace so they are ready for the next morning.

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