When parents start routine chores at an early age, the idea is subconscious in the child’s mind as they grow older. Translation: wade through the difficulty of trying to get your toddler to pay attention now and you may never have to ask your teen to take out the garbage in ten years. There’s another benefit to this technique in that toddlers crave routine. They want rules and regulations and, when they don’t have them, they act out to test where mom’s boundaries are. Using a chore list with positive reinforcement gives them a reason to want to help you around the house and suddenly, your toddler underfoot all day is never irritating.
1. Write the list together.
Create a poster or other craft project out of your proposed chore chart. You’d be surprised how a little glitter and the promise of stickers can make your toddler want to do chores.
2. Don’t call them “chores.”
Instead of naming your system a “chore list,” try calling the chores something else like tasks, goals, or the happy prize chart! Every toddler is different so try something that works with you and your child specifically.
3. Make a game out of the chart.
In getting creative, you can create a maze or game board out of the chart. Make different spots for each chore that the child reaches when it’s completed or, if you’re willing to get a little more complicated, create a maze or scavenger hunt associated with each chore that leads them to a prize at the end of the day.