Meghan recently turned two. Beginning around the age of 18 months I began teaching her to do some tasks around the house while praising her profusely for being a "big helper!"
Being able to help with household tasks builds confidence in toddlers as they see that they are able to be helpful and contribute to their world. Beginning to teach children to help around the house at such a young age encourages a healthy attitude about work as they are in a phase where the desperately desire to please you. When children are taught to help while young, they need lots of modeling and lots of praise (and that's it!) to learn to be a helpful worker around the house.
Here are some of Meghan's current chores:
1) Meghan sorts and puts away our silverware. I put away all of the knives and remove all tools that are washed in the silverware compartment but do not belong in the drawer. Meghan then stands in her learning tower and sorts the silverware into compartments. This not only allows her to help around the house but was also a helpful task in teaching her to sort objects by type.
2) Meghan puts her coats and/or hats away when we get home. She can't quite reach our low level hooks, so we put a basket near them for her to use. When it's time to go somewhere, I tell her what to get (sweatshirt, blue coat, hat, etc.) and she gets them and brings them to me to help her put on. When we get home, I help her remove those items and she puts them away in the basket before she goes to play with her toys.
Over the course of the next year, there are a few more chores that I intend to teach Meghan to do. The process has proved to be quite easy at this age! I walk through the task with her several times. Then I ask her to complete the task independently - always checking on her final work. And ALWAYS offering ample amounts of praise for her hard work!!