Helpful Toddler – Norton’s First Chore

For a while now, I’ve been trying to figure out how to turn Norton into a helpful toddler.  Yes, he has his helpful toddler moments when he pays attention to Eudora, like by rocking her in her baby bucket when we’re getting ready to go out to the van.  He throws the wrapper to his string cheese in the garbage after we open it for him.  But he’s still a toddler.  He does things like scatter blocks around his room ten minutes (or less) after I go in and clean up.  He eats dog food if he gets into the stairwell.  Or he bolts out the door into the back yard.  While it’s all typical, none of these are exactly the marks of being a helpful toddler who will grow into a boy who does chores, et cetera.

Yesterday, I had a breakthrough.  It was the first time ever that Norton had made a mess and actually helped with picking it up upon request.  You see, he found the roll of craft paper that I bought for him to color on… and then brought it to me as I cleaned the kitchen and dropped it at my feet.  I decided what the heck?  It’s been a while since I busted out the crayons and let him go to town.

Are you guessing where this is going?

If you’re thinking crayons everywhere, you’ve got it.

He did color for a while.  He demonstrated that he’s his father’s slightly OCD son by categorizing and organizing some of the crayons.  He demonstrated my perfectionism by getting irritated because they didn’t all line up the same and walking away.

He walked away with crayons scattered all over the dining room.

Usually, I don’t even bother trying to get some helpful toddler behavior out of him.  Far too often, it just results in screaming, tears, and someone getting mad.  Sometimes the screaming and tears are from both of us.

But I guess the stars lined up just right yesterday.  I asked him to come help me pick up his crayons.  We both got down on the floor together, and he grabbed some crayons and put them in the Ziploc bag.  He didn’t complain, and he smiled and laughed when I thanked him and told him he was doing such a good job.  Yeah, of course I did the majority of the picking up.  I’m just thrilled because it was the majority of the clean up instead of the whole thing.

I’m hoping that this just might be a start to a helpful toddler showing up frequently.  Maybe next time I can get him to help me pick up his blocks in his room when I clean instead of waiting until he’s hypnotized by Elmo to do the clean up.

How did you teach your child to clean up?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

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