Toddlers are constantly learning! When it comes time to teaching toddlers responsibility, there are so many ways to add things throughout the day that will not only help your toddler learn to be more responsible, but it will help in so many other ways in their life, too!
Now obviously I’m not talking about crazy hard things like taking out the trash or doing the dishes, of course. (That will come later!)
I’m just talking about simple things that you already do every day that will build up to a responsible toddler. I truly believe it all starts at a young age!
Here are some simple ways you can teach your toddler responsibility and the best part is you can include it in your daily routine!
1. Openly Communicate
Sometimes as moms we are guilty of two things. Doing it for our kids when we know they’re capable or, talking baby talk and not in a real voice. Now, that’s not to say either of those things are bad (because I am most definitely guilty of both!)
But the truth is, our kids need communication. Saying things like “Here, watch mommy do this”, and “No, that’s not safe” really speaks to them in a way that they will come to understand if they don’t already!
So, communicate with your toddler and use words (and gestures) that they understand.
2. Ask Them Questions
One of the coolest things about the toddler stage is when they start talking. They start forming their own opinions and doing their own thing, really coming into their own! It’s such a beautiful thing.
Whenever there is an opportunity, ask them questions! Why did the turtle just do that? Is the turtle sad? Did he lose his teddy bear? What can we do to help him?
It’s also great to hear their response once they REALLY start talking!
3. Let Them Practice On Their Own
Toddlers love their independence. Right now we have 2 toddlers (almost 3, since our youngest will soon be at the toddler stage) and they are constantly wanting to do things on their own. They want to do it without mommy or daddy’s help. They want to do everything themselves! So let them!
Okay, definitely don’t let them do everything on their own. But, reasonably let them do things on their own, their own way. This is how our 3 year old learned how to put her socks and shoes on. We were patient, and let her do it on her own over and over. And she asks for help when she needs to. (After she’s done throwing a fit that she can’t do it).
It’s really important to let them be independent, but reasonably. Let them know that you are there to help them! Here are some examples of things toddlers can practice doing:
- Putting socks and shoes on
- Help with laundry (they can hand it to you!)
- Help to pick up toys
- Help cleaning up
- Help wiping a table
And of course, toddlers are not going to wipe the table amazingly from top to bottom! They may put their shoes on the wrong feet.
The important thing is, they are getting in the habit and practice of doing it and will soon be a pro!
4. Let Them Watch You Slowly
Monkey see monkey do! Kids watch us all the time. One of the most influential ways they learn is by watching mom and dad. And believe me, they watch everything!
So if you’re tying shoes, picking up toys, wiping a table…let them watch you. Let them watch you before you let them try doing it.
5. Use Easy To Understand Words
Using easy-to-understand words is only going to help your toddler remember them which means they will understand what you’re saying and eventually start to use the words themselves!
You don’t have to overdo it, but occasionally adding them into the conversation is a sure way to help your toddler and communicate with them. Some words that you can use to help them are words like:
Just to name a few!
6. Stay Consistent
It’s important to stay consistent when you are teaching toddlers to be responsible. Obviously, the true responsibility will come later, but I really do believe it all starts when they are young!
Staying consistent means cleaning up after dinner and letting them help…every day!
It means picking up toys and cleaning up the area and letting them help…every single day!
This is my biggest struggle as a parent, I can honestly say. But staying consistent will not only help your toddler as they grow but it will help you too! Trust me.
7. Praise Your Toddler
Who doesn’t love a pat on the back? Okay, some people don’t like pats on the back, but toddlers do! If you tell them what a good job they’re doing, or how much of a big boy or girl they are, they’re going to receive that information and learn from it.
When you see your toddler complete a task that you talked about before or even something they did on their own…let them know that you see them!
8. Remember To Give And Recieve Grace
Parenting is not easy. Especially when you feel overwhelmed and frustrated. It’s important to remember that your toddler is growing and learning and you are both doing it together.
Remember to give grace to your toddler. They are rapidly growing and learning and there are going to be setbacks. Setbacks of attitudes, crying, and of course some whining. But give grace. Stay calm and stay present.
Remember to give yourself grace, too. Being a mom is the best thing in the world but we are so, so hard on ourselves sometimes. Breathe. Pause. And keep going!
Final thoughts on teaching toddlers responsibility
Teaching your toddler to be responsible is something that will not happen overnight! It’s going to take patience, consistency, and lots of grace.
Remember that you are exactly what your toddler needs. You are exactly who your toddler needs to teach these things to! Keep staying consistent and remember when and if you find yourself lacking consistency to pick it back up. You got this! Even when you sometimes feel like you don’t!
How do you help your toddler be responsible? I’d love to know!
Related post: 8 Simple Ways To Prepare Your Toddler For Daycare