After being asked for the millionth day in a row for a damn cake pop (cookie dough only please) I realized that my kid needs to start earning his keep around here. I tend to think of Chico as a baby even though he's 3.5, but I realized it's high time we start giving him daily chores. He loves to help so I don't know why this didn't dawn on me sooner... most likely it's because I always have someone screaming in my ear that they need something... but I digress...
First line of business was to find a chart that had pictures of the chores instead of just words because I really want to encourage self-sufficiency. If he can't look at the chart and determine what the chore is then what's the point ya know? I also wanted it to be as simple and streamlined as possible. Of course this didn't exist so I literally printed a million free charts off of Pinterest and cut and taped what I liked together and created my own Dr. Frankenstein chore chart. Here is my "Toddler" board on Pinterest where I dump all kinds of ideas so some of the charts are on it - HERE!
It's perfect for Chico because he's learning days of the week at school so he understands the Sunday through Saturday concept and I picked 5 things I thought he could do, would be excited to do and that would also help me out. Brushing his teeth should be done anyways, but I'd like for him to be the one to say, "I need to brush" vs "Let's go Chico - we need to get your teeth brushed!"
I sat down with him and showed him each thing on the chart but also walked him through it. He had no idea what "making the bed" meant so I just showed him how he would straighten the duvet out nice and flat, how he would put his clothes inside his dirty clothes basket or in the washer directly. I also don't want Chico getting a chair and washing his dishes yet, so for me - setting it on the counter is sufficient and I explained to him what that meant. Each chore earns him 25 cents (more on how this will work below).
Literally he glowed you guys. He was so excited.
Then the money part came into it. Again - look on Pinterest for printables. These printables were made for Mason Jars, but I really wanted Chico to have his banks not be breakable because I want him to be able to take these around - take the lids off, switch the money around, etc. These containers are stackable which I like for space reasons and can be purchased off Amazon - HERE! You could use washi tape, label makers, etc. to mark the banks how you want. I think its important for the banks to be something the kids can touch - not something that sits on a shelf and looks pretty - you want your kid invested in this and if they can't be a part of it you're cheating them out of the fun.
Okay so if Chico does all of his chores per day he will get 5 quarters. After day 1 we sat down with the banks and the quarters and this is when I explained what each one meant.
"Spend" is now - instant gratification and most likely what your kid is going to want to do - and that's okay!
"Save" is exactly what it sounds like. I explained to him that if he wants a bigger item this is where he will want to put his quarters. He immediately responded that he wanted a big blue truck (literally have no clue where this came from).
"Give" was explained in a few different ways. I explained that he could buy Ozzy something or treat his grandma to coffee or he could even give money to other people that we don't know but who could really use money because they don't have what they need.
He asked me to repeat and go over it about 2x so he could repeat back and make sure he understood right. At first he wanted to put it all in "Save", but then remembered he wanted a cake pop and promptly put it in "Spend."
The pride on his face as he walked into Starbucks with his quarters was priceless. He even ordered himself and handed over the money.
The lessons being learned on a daily basis are endless and I cannot believe I didn't think of this sooner. Chico is at an age where he is asking for things he sees when we go to the store. Now, instead of being the "mean mama" who says "No, you can't," I get to say - "Awesome Chico, let's look at the price and see how much you would need to buy it!" His wheels are now turning about money, that things cost, and that if he wants something he must earn it first by helping out around the house.
It's also teaching us a lot! On day 2 I was on a work call and Adam bathed Chico. He took him straight from the dinner table, to the tub and then to his room to go to bed. In the chaos of bedtime he forgot to remind him to put his plate on the counter and to brush his teeth. My immediately reaction was - "Oh shit, Chico's gonna be so upset he lost out on 2 stickers!" Adam and I realized we need to be more consistent in reminding him to do these things - and since it's not his fault we as parents didn't remind him - we gave him to opportunity to make it up the following day. If he had refused to do them obviously he wouldn't have the option to make it up, but it allows us to show Chico that we are learning and getting better right alongside him - and this is what parenting is all about!
So have fun with it! Make sure your child is involved and invested in the process! Seeing the pride on their face and their wheels turning is the best!