When it comes to toddlers, we often think of cooperation as them doing what we want (but this is really just obedience); real cooperation is a joint-effort involving ‘give & take’ that is mutually satisfying. In order to develop a cooperative spirit in your children, you can give them the opportunity to work together with yourself and others. Let your tot grow up experiencing first-hand, the benefits of working cooperatively; doing simple chores together is a super-easy way to get started!
Here’s one activity we did today from the Leaping Lilies curriculum
This week’s Theme: Bed Time
Activity Description: I Can Help!: Your tot will love to help you fold up large sheets and blankets.
This Activity’s Main Area of Development: Social Learning
Specific Skill: Working cooperatively to complete a task
O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 2 years + 5 months
When to fold’em: Do this activity when you are folding laundry, cleaning up from a fort/castle building session, after a picnic, or in our case after “we made a giant bird nest” -their words (on the living room floor, with every blanket that was in reach). I kind of wish I took a picture of the “giant bird nest”, it was well-made & cute!
Practice: The girls are like most toddlers their age, in that they always want to help. They have been folding blankets and sheets with me for a while now, so today was not their first time. Get practising, your tot will love it!
Tricks & Tips: 1) It helps to start out with a blanket laid out on the floor 2) After each fold, you may need to help your tot adjust the hand grip (this is the trickiest part)
Start out on the floor
Fold completed. Now help readjust the grip.
Today’s Folding: This does not require any explanation so a quick few pictures should do it!
……Just like that, the giant bird’s nest is tidied away (and the best part is, I didn’t lift a finger; they eagerly did the folding AND they were working cooperatively to accomplish something – which is lovely to see since there can be a lot of arguing some days!)
Want to see social learning activities for 15-18 months? Click here!
Want to see social learning activities for 18-24 months? Click here!
Toddlers are at a perfect age to begin practising responsibility because they love to help you and mimic what you do. A very simple way to get started (and make your life a little easier) is to begin by encouraging your baby to clean up toys independently. Now is a great time to start putting one toy away before getting out another and making sure all is tidy at the end of the day. Here are some tricks and tips to making toy clean-up simpler…..
Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)
This week’s Theme: African Animals
Activity Description: Clean Up: After play time or doing an activity, encourage your baby to clean up independently. Ensure it is easily done and do this daily.
This Activity’s Main Area of Development: Emotional
Specific Skill: Being responsible
O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 22 months + 2 weeks
1. The only warm-up to this activity is playing!! This evening the girls had mainly two sets of toys out: puzzles and music toys. When it was time for the bath, I asked them to clean up. I don’t help them but I encourage them with praise and say things like, “I see one under the chair! Who can help get it?”
O gets started on the puzzles
M helps with the music toys
How can I get my baby to clean-up the toy mess?
Make it part of your daily routine
Add an audio cue (sing a clean-up song, ring a bell, etc.)
Ensure that it is easy for your baby to put away the toys (Can your baby easily access the toy bins?)
Allow ample time for clean-up. If you start clean-up five minutes before you need to leave, you’ll probably end up frustrated at the pace and manner which your baby cleans!
Praise your baby’s efforts to clean-up the toys (If you have a reward chart, include clean-up)
Toddlers love to help so say things like, “Can you help me?” OR “Who can help put these toys away?” OR “What a great helper!”….you get the idea…
Toddlers love to play games so try saying things like, “Can you be a lion who cleans up?” or you can be the ‘goalie’ guarding the toy bin and they have to get by you to put away the toys… be creative!
Don’t expect perfection. Your baby’s thought process, effort and improvement in clean-up skills are most valuable so remember to complement and encourage those things, not just completion of the task.
What are the benefits of encouraging responsibility in young children?
Aids in teaching time-management skills
Makes daily routines simpler and smoother for everybody
Encourages independent thinking
Encourages problem solving
Encourages focus & concentration
Increases self-esteem and self-confidence
Allows for meaningful contribution to the family and eventually society