Give Your Toddler the Chance… to Fail?

Somewhere along the way, we stopped letting my son mess up laundry time, and 3 years later, I realized it was a HUGE mistake.

When we had a toddler and a newborn, lots of our former parenting routines were changing. One of them was laundry. Our toddler couldn’t fold well and was constantly knocking over our neatly folded piles, and we were too exhausted to deal with doing everything twice! So we stopped letting him help and started folding clothes while he was playing in the other room, or after bed. 

Jamie Kenney of Romper says that’s a common parenting pitfall. Often parents think they’re waiting until a child is “old enough” to take on a responsibility—but if the child never has that chance to learn a skill, they’re less likely to take it on later. If we tough out those early teaching moments, we’ll have children who know that they’re a part of the household—and that we all need to pitch in!

As for us, when our baby (now four) started asking to fold clothes a few months ago, we said YES—and now, a short time later, both boys are doing a good-enough job—and a boring chore for one has turned into a fun family activity. Not too bad!

Key Takeaways:
—Trying and failing are important life skills that all toddlers need to learn.
—It’s important for children to be able to have some agency over their life, and saying no or making small choices is a way for new toddlers to ease into that.
—Having the courage to take physical chances, like climbing a little high or balancing precariously, is significant for small children.



Becky Patouhas, social media specialist, has been a babywearing educator since 2013. Her favorite part of her job is a tie between seeing all the cute baby pictures and helping parents get that “I can’t believe I can hold my baby AND eat!” moment. A first-generation American and mom of two small boys, she and her family live in Michigan, where she enjoys volunteering with her local babywearing group. Becky loves her Zypora meh dais (she has two!) because they’re so cushy on her shoulders. She always has a Lightly Padded ring sling in her purse because she loves the soft padding, and she thinks Isle of Skye is the best colorway out there!

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