Baby steps

Building life skills is an ongoing process. With toddlers, the goal is to build good habits of self-help, rather than to have them complete a task perfectly. Buy or make a placemat that shows the correct placement of tableware. Encourage your toddler to set his own place with you. Help your toddler bring in his dish from the dining room to the sink when he is finished eating. Bundle together outfits that match so your toddler can pick one to wear.

Start by doing these tasks with your toddler, then move on to allowing your toddler to do them himself with some assistance (this will save you the trouble of teaching a teen to complete simple chores!). Toddlers will also gain self-esteem from helping out. Just make sure that each task is safe and age-appropriate!