10 Things Your Two Year Old Should be Doing on their Own
Two years old is such a great age. While I know many associate this age with “the terrible twos”, there is so much more to this time in your Childs life.
Your two-year-old is now at just the right age to start taking on some “big kid” tasks. While these things may seem simple to us, it’s a big deal in your toddler’s eyes! Here’s a look at 10 things your two-year-old should be doing** at two years old.
**Doing doesn’t mean doing perfectly! Learning alot of these skills will take time but with practice and your encouragement, they will get the hang of it.
Put on their Own Shoes
There is something so fascinating about shoes in a toddlers eyes. Being able to put on their own shoes is a big deal to them! While it may be easier for you to just do it for them, it is important to let them figure it out. Make it simple by getting shoes that are simple to put on for their little hands.
Carry their Dishes to the Sink
Having your toddler take their dirty dishes and cups to the sink is a great way to start introducing responsibility and showing them that they can contribute to the household. You can even take this a step further and have them help load and unload the dishwasher! We put our toddler in charge of getting all of “her stuff” out of the dishwasher and putting it away (all the kid’s cups, bowls, and plates.)
Brush Their Teeth
With the current state of your two-year-olds motor skills, it’s almost a guarantee that they will not brush their teeth up to standards on their own. However it is still important that they start taking steps to take care of themselves.
Once your toddler is done brushing them on their own say something along the lines of “you worked so hard to get take care of your teeth. I’m going to help by reaching those hard to reach spots really quick then it’s off to get dressed/storytime/ playtime”. As you are brushing those hard spots, talk them through it “Can you feel those teeth way back there getting a scrub? It’s important to get those!” then the next time your kiddo is brushing on their own, remind them to try to get those way back teeth!
Again, this is not about perfection at age two, but about teaching with encouragement and reminding them that they have the power to do these things with more practice.
Wash Their Hands
Just like brushing, teaching your toddler how to properly brush their hands and then allowing them to do it on their own is a great way to teach them proper hygiene.
Plus, if your toddler is one who loves anything associated with water, this will be a hit with them. I used to have a hard time getting my youngest to transition from playtime to lunch or dinner time. She wasn’t interested in stopping her play but once I say “You head in and wash your hands and I’ll finish getting lunch ready!” she was totally on board. She can’t pass up a chance to make some bubbles on her hands and play with the water.
Help Put Away Groceries
Putting away groceries is a family event in our home. From uploading them from the car to putting them away, all the kiddos are involved. Put them in charge of the light and simple things, such as putting the bread away. We like to make an assembly line… I had an item out of the bag to my toddler and my toddler walks it over to my husband who is at the fridge/freezer/pantry. Sure, this takes way more time than just putting it away ourselves, but she loves being involved in something she has only seen grown-ups do in the past.
This includes picking out their outfits! Allowing your toddler to have the power to make this decision and dress, you are giving them a chance to have power and make big decisions!
We live in Ohio and during certain times of the year, the weather can change pretty drastically from day-to-day. If I know we are having cold weather that day, I simply communicate to my toddler before picking out clothes. I say something along the lines of “it’s very cold out today, when picking out your clothes make sure you pick out something with long sleeves and long pants that cover you and keep you warm”.
Be sure to read the “when things get frustrating” section below for tips on when dressing it tough for your toddler.
Cleaning Up Messes/Spills
Whether the mess is their own or not, it’s important to get toddler involved in helping keep the home clean.
Being able to step on the little pedal to open our trash can lid is like a day at the park for our toddler. She thinks it is just so cool! So with that, we’ve pretty much put her in charge of throwing away trash. We also ask her to clean up her own spills, pick up toys at the end of the day and just help do general cleaning. We love to ask Alexa to “Play the cleanup song”. It makes the task fun!
This is a great way to, once again, introduce them to the concept that everyone in the household contributes to the home and helping keep it clean.
Make Age Appropriate Decisions
I discuss this concept in the article “How to Avoid Toddler Tantrums Before they Start”, but it is worth repeating here. Giving your toddler the opportunity to make an age-appropriate decisions each day is a great way to boost their self-confidence and avoid any power struggles. Simply asking them “do you want do you want to wear the blue jacket or the green jacket today?” is a great way to make them feel involved and heard.
When Frustration Hits
Just because your two year old should be working to put on their shoes each day, doesn’t necessarily mean that have the motor skills needed to just yet. But what better way to grow those skills than by continuing to practice each day?
When frustration hits and your instinct may say to just do it for them to help them through this moment, don’t! Instead, encourage a “keep on trying mindset”. Give them tips like, “what if you tried loosening the tops straps just a little more?” Or “it can be hard to put on shoes when standing up and leaning over, why don’t you try sitting on the floor so you can be closer and have more control over the shoe?” Keep encouraging them to find a way to solve the problem.