Somewhere between the baby and “big kid” phase, your toddler will want to start doing things for himself. Although he may not be potty trained yet and he may not be able to do a lot of things for himself, small children are very eager to help. If you’re picking up toys, don’t look at it as a chore you have to do by yourself. If your child is able to understand simple requests such as “Help Mommy pick up the toys and put them in the basket” then you will have a very happy helper for many things you do around the house.
It is also good for little ones to learn early to put away toys before they get new ones out. Good habits for putting up items can be instilled early on in this fashion.
Another great way to let your toddler feel more independent is to let him or her do certain tasks on his/her own. When it comes time wash his/her hands before dinner. Get him or her a step stool and show them how to put water on their hands and then soap and wash their hands. Explain why we wash our hands before meals and show how to rinse off all the soap. Stand by as he/she does it and expect a little mess at first but soon they will have the hang of it.
If you’re in the kitchen, let your child stand by as you rinse dishes and either put them in the dishwasher or even better wash and dry the dinner dishes and give your child a plastic cup to dry. Children also can use their step stools to sit on when reading and for a myriad of fun pretend play games. The only limit is their imaginations!