Last night after feeling the effects of late afternoon coffee, I decided it was time for Caleb, my toddler, to have a chore chart. Caleb is a little over 2.5 years old (31 months to be exact) and while that may seem early to kick off a toddler chore chart, a few interesting things have happened recently that convinced me otherwise.
First, and most importantly, we did a quick run into the grocery store yesterday for only a box of diapers, but of course, he saw the toy aisle as we sat in the checkout line. **Note to self, never stand in sight of the toy aisle!** Anyways, I wasn’t going to buy him a toy and so I quickly threw out a reason why he couldn’t buy a toy and knew, as all parents know, that it wasn’t going to do a thing to stop the incessant flow of “I want, I want” pouring out of him. I told him that he needed his paw patrol wallet and his money (a new Christmas present) if he wanted a toy but that I knew he had left it at home. I told him he could bring his wallet next time we came and buy a toy then. Y’ALL, IT WORKED!
Apparently this somehow made sense to him because suddenly the verbal explosion changed from “I want, I want” to “Daddy has my wallet. Need my wallet from Daddy’s car.”
The second factor that played into this was a conversation I had with a friend yesterday. We were talking about teaching our kids to count and the alphabet and such and I confessed that I long ago quit trying to have focused learning sessions. My active and very, very boy toddler has about a ten second attention span that leaves us both frustrated. Instead of sitting him down to look at letters or numbers, I try to incorporate it organically into his play. When he wants a push on the swing, I will only push him if he counts off each push. When he gets out of his range I have him repeat after me. We have fun with it and it makes swinging more interactive too. This method works well for him but it’s hard for me. I forget to have him count scoops or name the foam letters before he can have more soap bubbles. In short, I’m always looking for more opportunities to bring in learning, that way it’s okay if I don’t do it every single time we swing or bathe.
Honestly, the grocery store experience alone got me thinking about chore charts but it wasn’t until I came up with a chore chart idea that included learning and sight word practice that I decided now was the time.
Chores for Toddler Chore Chart
I’m worried about tying simple obedience to money and toys so I specifically chose jobs for his chore chart that are above and beyond the normal things I ask him to do like picking up his toys. For now, I came up with six chores and he will get “a money” for each to put in is piggy bank.
- Fork: He knows how to take the silverware out of the dishwasher and dump it into the silverware drawer. Organizing it into the right spots will hopefully come when he can actually see into the drawer!
- Bed: He will make his bed. We haven’t tried this one yet but I think he can do it!
- Mop: He loves to take around our water spray bottle and a wash cloth to clean spots on the floor.
- Sofa: He will fix the pillows and use he dust buster on our playroom sofa. He LOVES the dust buster so I think this one will be good!
- Potty: This is a new one, but a friend suggested keeping Clorox wipes near the toilet and letting him wipe his tee tee off the potty. I think it’s a fabulous idea and hoping it pans out well!
- Table: He will wipe down the coffee table and eating table in his playroom.
I intend to add a few more simple chores like cleaning the tub (mainly just wiping off the tub crayon marks), shoes (picking up all the shoes in the house and taking them to our closets), and maybe spoon and knife (same job as forks).
This morning we started with Saturday’s chore of “Table” and it went surprisingly well! He used a Clorox wipe to “clean” roughly half of his coffee table and 1/3 of his eating table. In truth, they looked just as dirty after his cleaning as they did before but the important thing is that he tried! After he was done cleaning he was super excited to come back to the chore chart to get his, not “monies,” “coins” he informed me, from the jar.
Before I gave him his coins I had him identify all the letters in “Table” and we practiced “T is for T T Table.” I also had him identify letter “S” and we did “S is for S S Saturday.” He also let me know it’s for “snake.” Made my heart so proud. Then he got his two coins which we counted and then he promptly took them to his piggy bank.
It was really fun, he was excited, and I’m excited about the prospect of teaching him about cleaning, working for things he wants, and even reading all at the same time.
I still hope to put a frame around the chore chart this afternoon to make it look a little more finished, but aside from that and getting it hung, it’s pretty well done!
I tried my best to make this a boy chore chart and give it a tough masculine feel that would appeal to him. I probably should have just put a big dump truck on it. Anyways, here’s my attempt at a toddler chore chart, from start of build to finish.
Check with me again in a week to see how this process is actually going!?!?!!
Toddler Chore Chart Build
I raided the scrap wood pile in the garage which is oddly low on any kind of decent lumber and only emerged with a rough cedar fence picket and a few other scraps of cedar.
I took zero measurements on this before hand and just laid it out on the garage floor to try and gauge the size I wanted. It’s a little shy of 3 feet wide and maybe 2.5 feet long.
I put a few strips of wood on the back of the board and used our brad nailer to quickly shoot it together.
Then I started thinking about layout and was SO thankful to see that six kraft paper notecards would fit on it nicely. I decided we won’t do chores on Sunday since Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. Also, only six cards fit!
The mason jar will hold the money that Caleb can earn for his chores. Right now I think it only has 75 cents because apparently we never use cash and thus accumulate change! We will fill it up more though and then when he does a chore I will get him a coin from the jar that he can then put in his own piggy bank. We are on a 1 chore=1 coin system for now.
After about an hour of looking at fonts, it is SOO hard to pick fonts y’all, I finally found one I liked and cut a stencil with my Cameo Silhouette machine. I cut the stencil into freezer paper and then ironed it on to the toddler chore chart. I was worried about how well it would adhere but it worked pretty well and it is supposed to be a boy chore chart so it can be rustic and imperfect.
Here’s the stencil fully ironed on and my can of paint. It’s actual the sample paint that we used when picking a color for the chimney. I always hold onto extra paint for times like these!
Next I started painting. I recommend using a foam brush and doing more of a blotting technique then a brushing and dragging technique. Blotting straight down will help keep the paint from seeping under in areas that aren’t adhered well.
The next step for the toddler chore chart was to cut the six days, iron them down, and TAPE around the edges. I always use masking tape around the edges of my stencils is they are cut close to the edge to make sure I don’t accidentally paint over the edge.
The last step of peeling up the stencil is always the most fun. All I had left was to attach a few hooks for the cards and money jar and make the chore cards. My printer broke down so I just free-hand drew the cards and they are a little embarrassing!! Please don’t look to closely!
I gave myself an hour for this project when I started. I’m not sure who I was kidding. When have I ever done a project that took an hour?? Six hours later I crawled into bed but I was happy to have my toddler chore chart fully ready to go.
If you like this toddler chore chart, here are a few other simple DIYs to check out: