Last summer I started a chore chart with E who was 3.5 at the time. It was a simple list and most things were daily while a couple were one or a few times a week. I printed a chart weekly with pictures for each responsibility and we stamped the chart when she had done it (usually we did it after dinner). She earned a nickel at the end of the week for each stamp.
The responsibilities included:
- making her bed (one blanket)
- taking off her pull up in the morning
- picking up toys when asked
- taking her dishes to the sink
- putting away the utensils from the dishwasher
- putting her shoes away in the drawer
- picking clothes for the next morning (for days when she has an early activity)
- sitting well in church
At the end of the week we would count out her money and then talk about the three ways she could use it: give, save, spend. We put 10% into her church bag for Sunday collection, 10% into her piggy bank, and the rest into her little change purse. It was a great idea and a great time of organization on my part. Unfortunately, it fell by the wayside with holidays and Christmas and I’ve been meaning (for months) to do it again. Most responsibilities she does anyway (usually being asked a few times – hey, she’s 4!) but we really want to the lay the foundations of money at an early age. Maybe too early? We’ll see.
Well, today she got to spend the few dollars she had saved in her purse. It was a proud moment in the bookstore where she looked at books and a few things but I could tell she was overwhelmed and didn’t really understand prices. I explained to her that if she chose something that was more than what she had that I would “help her out”. Then I showed her the clearance section that had a few really cute things that were much closer to her price range. And in the end she chose this:
It has four different scenes (ballet, soccer, tea party and sleepover), two board dolls with stands, and a bunch of stick on clothes and accessories. The truth is that the one we bought was in the clearance aisle because a few pieces has fallen off and it was missing some clothing. But it had all the backdrops (I glued the pieces on tonight) and had 2 sheets of clothing/accessories for each girl (instead of 4 each). But really, E’s only 4 and she doesn’t care. She’s delighted to have picked and bought something on her own. She took it to the cashier and paid for it out of her wallet (with a few dollars from mom) and got her own bag. She brought it home and showed her dad.
I loved paper dolls when I was a kid. I still have my Ramona Quimby paper dolls (remember her?) packed away for when the girls are older. This set is very sweet. I’m not big into the whole Disney princess thing but this princess is different. Sheila Walsh created Princess Gigi to “subtly teach girls of their importance and belonging to the King of all kings.” Preschool girls tend towards make-believe and love to pretend to be mommies, princesses, doctors, ballet dancers and all sorts of things. E loves ballet, soccer, and tea parties so it’s a perfect fit.
And the other side of it is that I want to try to spend more time doing things with the girls one on one instead of letting them do things near me while I do other things. I read Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood by Jamie C. Martin, author of the blog Steady Mom and it really spoke to me. I realized that I have been surviving lately instead of thriving. And so I plan on developing some better steady routines and doing more fun things like this rice table – I even bought a huge bag of rice when I did groceries the other day. John looked at it today and asked if we were going to eat all that (we eat a lot of rice but not usually white and I never buy it in the huge bag). I told him it was for something else (need to find a tub). We’ll see how much fun the girls have!
Stay tuned for a review of Steady Days tomorrow.