My older daughter is 3.5 years old, and she’s entering the “why” phase. This is sometimes annoying but mostly I use it to teach her about everything from love (she doesn’t get why Princess Fiona chose to become an ogre like Shrek, rather than stay a beautiful princess), to the importance of wearing a seatbelt.
Another overarching topic she asks about is money. This manifests itself in numerous ways, but most recently has centered on why her dad has to work and why she can’t play with something in a store until we buy/pay for it. In this vein, we decided it was fitting for her to get a hands-on approach to learning how money works – time for a chore chart!
Learn about how money is earned and what to do with it – we allocate 25% to a savings account and she is free to buy toys with the other 75%.
Creation of a chore chart via a points system in which she earns a specific amount of money (25 cents) per completed chore every week.
Why Create a Chore Chart:
We want to teach her a few concepts regarding money. First of all, you have to work to earn money. Secondly, how you utilize the money you earn matters. We put a portion (25%) of her earnings into her savings account and she is free to spend the remainder on a toy or something she wants to buy. In this way, we feel we’re teaching her a couple of basic money principals that she can easily grasp. Every week, she is given cash for her points and we put it into her piggy bank. After a couple of months, we pull the money out, count it, and then go through how a portion of it will be allocated to savings and she can buy whatever she wants with the rest. She seems to be more excited about the impending purchase than building up her savings, but hopefully she’ll thank us when she’s old enough to truly understand what we’re doing for her.
Selecting Age Appropriate Chores:
After poking around online and taking in our wish-list of behaviors for her, we selected a handful of chores we feel suit her current development. We’ve had the chore chart for five months and it changes every couple of months, depending on whether she’s mastered a skill or a new issue we want to correct has cropped up. After experimenting, I would recommend no more than five chores for any given time period. We use it as a tool to correct or reinforce very specific behaviors and having too long of a list makes it confusing and overwhelming. We also have a mix of aspirations and easy-to-achieve chores to make it challenging but not impossible.
When we introduced the chore chart to her, we folded it into our evening routine to reflect on the day we just had. My daughter loves checking off her completed chores. It also provides us with an opportunity to discuss any chores that didn’t get a check mark and why.
As an aside, I spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking up do-it-yourself charts before really thinking through the implementation. While the Pinterest charts were impressive and very cute, I took the realistic approach of going with a chart that was easy to change and relatively inexpensive, rather than trying to create my own. Ultimately, I selected one from JennaKate and I love how versatile it is, along with the fact that it’s magnetic! It comes with two chalkboard pens and we’re very happy with it so far. Also, there are numerous options, including multiple kiddos, so you can go with what works best for you.