After dealing with a bit of behavior issues with my three year old, I was feeling run down and enslaved. By the time my husband came home from work, I was at the end of my rope with the kid. I simply wanted to run from the house to return when she went off to college. Sure, I’d miss the good times, but I wasn’t feeling like there were too many of them.
Finally, I’d had enough and knew something had to change. I decided that I no longer wanted to hear “I want” and the ensuing tantrums when things didn’t go her way. From now on, she needed to earn things. I discussed with my husband my idea that she needed to earn the coins she was taking to bed every night, and we decided that we would tie in her behavior to learn to be responsible and respectful of us. Most importantly, I wanted a FREE toddler chore chart that I could customize. I admit, I don’t like paying for things if I don’t have to. So, I created a chore chart that I could print at home and turned it into a dry erase chart, seeing as how I’m in love with making dry erase activity books.
After much thought, I decided on a few chores that weren’t hygiene related, as those need to be done without monetary incentive. I’m not sure why most people believe a toddler chore chart should include hygienic activities. Additionally, I found that giving a toddler chores early on becomes a huge sanity saver when trying to manage housekeeping.
Together, hubby and I devised a monetary reward system for the chores. At the time, we wanted her behavior to be tied to the money she was earning, we decided generally how and when we would take away her earnings. We give her check-marks through the day with a task completion and tally up the coins before bed. Behavioral issues lead to loss of money throughout the day.
Implementing the chore/reward system went off “well” the first day. By well, I mean that the first night, she lost all her coins for being disobedient and testy. She went to bed the first night without a single coin, then proceeded to lose story time, and finally lost signing and cuddling time. She learned from that first night that we were no longer messing around with her attitude, and that it was going to effect more than just mommy and daddy. Surprisingly, because we had a decent plan set into action, I also had the least frustrating night for myself. I finally had something to give and take away as a result of her good and bad behaviors!
|our toddler chore chart in action|
Let’s get on to the chore chart making! These steps will help you to make a chore chart for your child, which is appropriate and personalized for your child(ren).
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1) Decide on the chores you feel appropriate for your child. At three, I decided my child was capable of making her bed, assisting with laundry (sorting and/or folding), putting her dishes by the sink, picking up her toys, putting away her books, and helping with dinner (she asks to help most nights anyway).
2) Open an MS Word document and create a table. 1 column for the chores themselves and 7 more for each day of the week. I had 7 rows which included the title row and 6 chore rows. To insert a table, click on the INSERT tab, then click TABLE. Select a 7 row x 8 column table (or as many rows as you need). You can resize these after selecting images. NOTE: Be sure to set your page orientation to LANDSCAPE for best results.
|INSERT > Table 7 rows x 8 columns|
Your table will look like this:
|What your table looks like at first|
3) In the first row, type in your headings. Here, I chose to center and bold the column titles.
4) Now, it’s time to find some images for your chart. These are great visuals for your little learner to help understand their chores. You may or may not decide to include a short word description of the chore in addition to the picture. For now, I’m leaving that part off. To insert images into each cell, click in the first cell you wish to fill. Click the INSERT tab, then click Online Pictures. Here, you will search for an image using Bing Image Search. You’ll see my first chore will be “Make Bed” so that’s what I typed. You may have to use a combination of search terms to find an image you like best. Repeat these steps to find images for all the chores
|Searching for chore chart images|
Here’s what my chore chart looks like with images. Note: I had to re-size images to try to get the rows somewhat even.:
5) Put some finishing touches on the chart before printing. Add a line at the top with your child’s name, widen the columns and center the table on the page, etc.
6) Print & insert into a smooth page protector. I recommend Avery Diamond Clean Super Heavy Weight Sheet Protectors.
2016 UPDATE: We’ve since updated to the Melissa and Doug magnetic responsibility chart. It’s still customize-able for most needs, and includes extra blank magnets for adding your own, less common chores. Now that she’s 5, we’ve also devised a separate system to deal with behavior issues. We now use the consequence and reward jar system to punish for bad behavior and reward for the good. She can still earn her coins for the day by doing her chores, and we don’t pile negative on to the bad days by also taking away coins for the work she completed (unless her consequence slip happens to determine otherwise).