Toddlers learn responsibility when they help you.
No, you shouldn't expect toddlers or preschoolers to mow the lawn, fold the laundry or mop the kitchen floor. Nor should you expect them to always be on their best behavior. However, age-appropriate chores are a good way to foster responsibility and set the stage for helping out around the house as kids get older. In addition, earning rewards for finishing tasks and staying out of trouble is a good incentive to keep it up. Chore and behavior charts are an easy way to track your child's progress.
1Write your child's name at the top of a piece of paper with a marker or crayon. This is handy for keeping charts straight if you have more than one child.
2Divide the chart into days of the week across the top. Label each day with a pen, marker or crayon, and draw a line to divide each from the others.
3Write the chores and behaviors each child is responsible for down the left-hand side of the chart. Draw lines beneath each to form a square for each chore and behavior on every day of the week. For example, include making the bed, clearing dishes, throwing laundry in the basket, using kind words, not whining, and following directions.
4Decorate the chart. Allow your child to add his own flair. It makes the chart his own, and might get him more excited about filling it up. Use crayons or markers as an easy option. Print clip art from your computer and cut and paste it onto the chart, or use photos cut from magazines. You might paste a picture of a hamper if his chore is to pick up his clothes after a bath, for example.
5Add stickers to the chart as your child fulfills each responsibility. Give him a sticker when he makes his bed or carries his cup to the sink. This keeps him motivated and makes it more fun to do his chores. At the end of each day, give him a sticker for each desirable behavior. Did he play nicely with his sister and only hit her once or twice? Maybe that is enough to get his kindness sticker.
- To keep from having to recreate your chore and behavior charts, make several copies so you don't run out. Use a new one each week.For eco-conscious families who want to save paper, have your chart laminated and allow your child to check the boxes with a dry-erase marker. At the end of each week, wipe the chart and start over.
Things You'll Need
- Crayons or markers