Grayson is turning 2 in April, and he’s at such an amazing age where he’s still so little but he also wants to be more independent and do more for himself rather than have us do things for him. Although we don’t want to push him to grow up (every kid deserves to be a kid for as long as possible), we’ve found certain ways that make him feel like a ‘big boy’ and make him feel like he’s responsible for some of our family life.
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Let them make decisions
A super simple one, but we ask Grayson for his decision on things at least once a day. It can be anything from “what do you want to do today?” to “what would you like for dinner”. It’s important for anyone to feel like their opinion matters, and so why should that be any different for children? We only ever asks these questions if we can actually do what he answers, and if we can’t for whatever reason we will usually ask him something like “what do you want to wear today” so that he still feels like he’s making some sort of decision.
Helping with housework
Again, we would never get Grayson to do something that wasn’t suitable for his age range but if he wants to help then why wouldn’t we let him? If we’re emptying the dishwasher then we’ll have him carry through plastic cups and pots and pans and put them away, or if we’re cleaning then he’ll use his own vacuum to clean the floors or a clean cloth to dust his toys. He loves feeling like he’s helping us and hopefully it’ll help him as he gets older with knowing that we should all help out.
Items that encourage responsibility
As I mentioned above, Grayson has his toy Dyson which he loves using and it encourages him to help us clean or clean up after himself. We also recently got given a switch assist light switch extender to review, so now when it gets dark we’ll ask Grayson to turn the light on for us which he loves being able to do. It’s little things like this that may not seem big to us, but to a child it seems to really make them feel like they’re helping.
Use them as your own personal reminders
This is more of a joke, but it’s also still very useful for me! I’m extremely forgetful and before all the Covid-19 pandemic when I was working in an office, I would usually end up forgetting my purse or something that I needed for work. One day Mark told Grayson to remind me to take my purse with me, and now every day that I ever leave the house I always get “mummy, remember your purse!” which is great for me but also makes Grayson feel great.
These are just a few ways that we’ve found to encourage responsibility in toddlers, and to help Grayson and make him feel like his opinion and his help really matters within our family. However, he is still a typical toddler and so these things don’t always happen!