Okay, so maybe 3-years-old really is too young to understand the value of a penny or to hold the full responsibility of chores. But now is when those life lessons begin for my little preschooler. She cleans up every last toy all by herself and proudly shows off her newly cleaned room with hand held out anxiously awaiting a penny or two to add to her piggy bank--this started at 2 1/2.
THE PRESCHOOLER'S CHORE CHART
I'll admit I've had good intentions to work this "allowance" into our daily routine, but so far it's just been hit-or-miss. So, I searched some ideas to implement a chore chart and an actual pay-out of her allowance. Here's some articles and printable charts I found...
- Parents.com has this "Say Yes to Chores" article that includes age-specific downloadable chore charts including this one for 2- to 4-year-olds. I don't like that a couple lines are already filled in.
- Simple Mom also wanted a blank chart, so she made this simple preschoolers chore chart. I'm picky and I don't like calendars that start with Monday, which this one does.
- Homeschool Creations writes about their chore experiences and includes this daily chore printout. Simple and effective, but still not quite what I was looking for.
The conclusion: I'm too picky to use someone else's chore chart. So I came up with my own. Check it out for yourself:
Brylee's Preschooler Chore Chart
Blank Chore Chart
EXPLANATION OF CHORE CHART
Rather than a traditional chore chart that says things like "wash dishes" or "take out trash," I wanted more of a "to do" list or idea list. Something that Brylee could refer to when I'm busy and she's bored. Chores teach responsibility, and, at her age, being responsible for her free time is a pretty big thing to learn.
So, what's on the list?
- Pick Up toys and Pick Up Clothes - These are the only two items on the list that resemble traditional chores. There's other things she helps me with, but I want to keep a chore chart to things she can do herself. She has to do these before nap, bed, and before I let her watch TV.
- Finish Food and Pee in the Potty - Lately she's been choosing not to eat her food and having more accidents, so I wanted her to feel accomplished when she finishes food and has no accidents.
- Play or Listen to Music, Read a Book, Play Pretend, Color or Write, Do a Puzzle - These are the things that she can refer to when she's bored.
- Brush Teeth, Get Dressed - These are things she's learning to do herself. Sometimes she'd whine that she can't do it herself, but now that it's on this chart, she dresses herself every time.
- Memory Verse, Time with Jesus, Pray - These are partly for my reminder, but also to show her that this is an important part of daily routine.
I included images to help her know what the chart says, but I figured there'd be a learning curve to teach her what the images meant. When I printed it and put it on the fridge, I explained what it was asked Brylee if she knew what it said. She proceeded to go down the list saying almost verbatim what I had printed on the chart.
Of course, there's not much point of having a chore chart if there's no reward. There's two parts to the reward...
The first part of the reward is the act of "checking off" the items as they're done. We're using magnets instead of stickers, so that our chart is reusable. There's some satisfaction putting a magnet next to something that's been accomplished, but the reward is probably more so when we verbally acknowledge her as we remind her to move her magnet, and the high five that follows.
The second part of the reward is the pay-off at the end of the day. At her age, a daily reward is more beneficial. As she gets older we'll move to weekly. Before she goes to bed, we count up all the magnets that she put on the chart that day. Right now her allowance is paid in a number of coins. If she has 10 magnets, she gets 10 coins (we decide their value :) Right now it's not as much about how much she earns, because she doesn't know what that means. Good thing, because that buys us a little time until we can figure out age-appropriate allowance amounts :)
I also liked the idea I've seen of giving an allowance in 3 parts. 10% is given to be put in a giving jar, 10% is given to be put in a savings jar, and the rest goes in to a spending jar. I like what this teaches, and starting early on will make the giving and saving habit by the time she's old enough to decide herself how her money will be spent. We'll be starting this as soon as I get the jars or their equivalent.
Right now, it all goes into her fat little piggy bank :)