Since Isabella turned 2, she has been in full toddler mode! She wants to help us do everything she can, and many things that she still needs help with, she loves to try doing herself! She has become quite the independent, though extremely lovable little girl and amazes us all the time with her constant flow of new words and tasks she can do or nearly do on her own. Well, with supervision of course!
Though I know every child is different; growing, learning and advancing at different speeds, this is a list I’ve compiled of Toddler Tasks that I feel are some of the best ones to start with.
1. Brushing Teeth
Of course learning anything to do with good hygiene is a great task! Since Isabella started brushing her teeth herself, she has been obsessed! She promptly asks to brush her teeth every time she wakes up, whether in the morning or just after a nap, and sometimes she even asks at other random times during the day. Although we don’t want brushing teeth to become more like a game, we do occasionally let her brush more than twice in a day, and we take it as a serious win since many kids fight brushing their teeth. We always start off by brushing them for her to make sure she gets all the spots needed, and then we let her continue to brush and end with her washing her face, and drying her hands and face.
2. Washing Hands
Once the pandemic hit, this became a super important task for Isabella to learn! She was just 16 months when we started helping her at the sink wash her hands with soap and water, and now at 2, she tells us when she feels they need washed, and when we ask her if she’ll wash her hands, she is always excited to do so. She has been wiping her own hands with wet wipes just as long as washing in the sink, but this is definitely another of those really great hygiene tasks that we love that she loves to do!
3. Putting Toys Away
What mom doesn’t want her child to put their own toys away!? Of course this can be a challenge when helping them, but we find making sure specific toys have specific places that they always go in helps. Isabella loves smaller toys.. blocks, Disney TOTS babies, Fisher Price Little People, Disney figures.. So because of this we have made sure that every group of toys has its own place to go at the end of the day, so when we ask her to clean up, she knows what it means and where to put them. Of course bigger toys or ones with no specific place we still help her ‘put away’, because that may be harder to grasp at just 2, but this is definitely all a step in the right direction!
4. Choosing Snacks or Drinks from Choices
Like most parents, we wish the baby stages could have lasted much longer.. However, we also wished many times that we knew what Isabella wanted when it came to food and snacks, amongst other things. When Isabella started talking it was easy for her to ask for a Baba (bottle). Although we only ever put milk or water in it, it was still easy, as we knew when she tossed it down that she wanted whatever wasn’t in it instead. As her vocabulary and understanding advanced and her Baba turned into numerous different sippy cups, we began to give her choices. We believe it’s important for her to get to make some of her own choices, and snacks and drinks are something we let her decide on every day. Milk, juice and water are common choices we give for drinks, and veggie puffs, a cheese slice, or a GoGo Squeeze (we call them GoGeeze) are her common choices for a snack. By making small choices likes these, we waste less, and she is a lot happier to enjoy what she wants.
5. Putting Socks On
Coming from someone who loves being barefoot and isn’t much of a socks wearer, I love this one. I have loved those tiny toes and washing those tiny socks since Isabella was born, and watching her put them on all by herself now is super sweet. You can see so much pride in her face when she finishes putting her socks on all by herself when getting ready to go out somewhere. Not to mention, my OCD is even ok with how often she takes them off and switches one out with another pattern or color. No matter matched or mismatched, this is one of those tasks that shows how much she has grown, and I just love!
6. Giving Treats To or Feeding The Dog / Cat
Nothing creates more responsibility than having something or someone else to look after. Of course we aren’t letting our 2 year old fully take care of our animals, but we do let her give them treats and feed them occasionally. Isabella has become great at putting our Pug in her crate and rewarding her with a treat before we leave the house to go anywhere. She also promptly lets us know when the water dish for them is empty! Both, very helpful.
7. Throwing Trash Away
If you have fluffy pets or a sticker obsessed toddler, this is another great toddler task! Isabella is often sticking stickers to each other, balling them up, finding fuzzies or tuffs of cat fur in the places.. and bringing them all to us when we are lounging on the couch watching a movie. She has learned that when we say, “it’s trash, go throw it away” she goes into the kitchen, steps on the pedal of the can and does throw it away. Now, once in awhile she’ll see something intriguing in the trash can and want to take it back out, but baby steps.. right? Teaching your toddler to throw trash away can be a great thing, and we intend to let this one expand into a great habit of making sure trash goes in the garbage and not on the floor or ground wherever we are or go.
8. Buckling Themself In
For awhile Isabella would get so excited about a sweet treat, a special snack or meal that she would run over and climb into her booster seat and buckle herself in. Though the novelty of buckling herself in has worn off a bit lately, it does still re-emerge here and there, and when I’m busy in the kitchen and ask her to go get in her seat, it helps out a bit when she can do it herself and be ready for me to just push her chair in. Although we haven’t mastered this for the stroller, I could see this also being a great helpful task for buckling in a stroller or even a car seat in future if you’re comfortable with letting your toddler do that.
9. Carry Dishes or Cups To Kitchen
This one is similar to the throwing trash away task. It’s another task to start and set the tone for your toddler to know where things go and when. This is a more recent task for us, but when Isabella finishes a drink or a snack that is in a dish and after she announces it’s “all gone”, we ask her to go put it on the counter or drop it in the sink. She used to just hand them to us when she would finish, but now she knows exactly where they go each time she is done, and it has already aided in a much tidier kitchen.
10. Clean Up Small Messes
Just before Isabella turned two, we started letting her clean up small messes she makes. Messes such as crayon marks on table or floor, or a small spill on the table or floor are easy for her to wipe up. She enjoys cleaning up little messes, and often asks us for a wipe to wipe her table, slide or toys down, after watching us cleaning the counters or wiping down the kitchen table. No objections here!