Our job as parents is to ensure our little ones are loved and cared for, but the end goal is to help them become independent, well-adjusted adults. I’ve been working on getting my 2-year-old to be more independent and take ownership over certain chores at home. I strongly believe toddlers are capable of doing so much — even at this young age. Many of these skills are a work in progress, and even though my son might need help or might not do each task perfectly, they are still worth teaching!

Here are 10 things your toddler can do around the house:

1. Clean up toys

This can definitely be a struggle and can require lots of hand-holding and patience. It really depends on my son’s mood on how cooperative he is with cleaning, but I try to stay consistent with my expectations. Making cleaning into a game can really help (“Who can put this away faster?” “Let’s put away all the red blocks first!”). He also responds really well to clean-up songs.

2. Put dishes in the sink

Having children put their dishes in the sink after a meal is an easy skill to teach (especially if the dishes are plastic!).

3. Throw away garbage/recycling

Kids love to do this (just make sure they are only throwing away the garbage!).

4. Put on jacket

A great way for young children to put on their coats is to lay it on the floor with top of the coat facing the child’s feet. Then have your child put his arms in the sleeves and flip the coat over his head. My son is currently working on this, but when I taught preschool the 3- and 4-year-olds could do this really well. 

5. Vacuum

It’s easiest with a small handheld vacuum or a dustbuster, but toddlers love this — and your floor will be clean in no time.

6. Put away laundry/put dirty clothes in hamper

My son loves to put away laundry! He knows which drawers his clothes go in, so I’ll give him one category at a time (i.e., “Here are your pants”) and he runs to put them away. I also have him put his dirty clothes in the hamper.

7. Clean the bathroom

I try to use natural cleaners that are safe for my son to handle. He loves scrubbing the toilet (glad somebody likes it) and is good at wiping down the sink.

8. Bathe themselves

My son can’t do this completely on his own yet (I’ll still shampoo his hair and wipe him down), but he loves to use the cup to rinse his body, and he wipes himself with a washcloth.

9. Help cook

This is another kid favorite and can also help picky eaters try more foods. Some ways toddlers can help cook are by mixing ingredients, spreading things on bread (like PB&J), tearing lettuce for salad, and sprinkling cheese on pasta.

10. Set the table

Right now I only trust my toddler with plastic or nonbreakable dishes, but he is fully capable of putting them in the right spots at the table!