Recently, Tom and I agreed that in order to have more quality family time, our kids were going to need to start helping out around the house. As it stood, Zack (8) and Emma (4) acted like the world was coming to an end if I asked them to pick up their dirty socks. I was spending all of my work day picking up after the kids (and including Tom, if we are being honest), so little of my own tasks were being accomplished.
I still have tons of tiny little squares to paint, people! No, I’m not done. Just shush.
As we were figuring out what responsibilities each child should have, an idea was brewing in my head. If we were really going to make this change for our family, I was going to make it cute. And use real change. And put magnet strips behind two metal boards we’ve had in the attic for years and real change would stick to it. And the kids would just collect their change (10 cents per task – $7/week if they do everything they are supposed to) at the end of the week put it into their piggy banks. And I was an awesome genius!
Well, until Tom pointed out to me that dimes aren’t magnetic. Neither are pennies, nickels, quarters, 50-cent pieces, dollar coins, or any other random piece of change that the Toothfairy or your grandmother gives you. Doh! That’s too bad, because that was a fantastic idea.
Back to the drawing board I went. I never could figure out an easy (and inexpensive) way to have a magnetic board where the kids collect their change at the end of the week (I could have used jars, but I was determine to make it a chart). However, I think I figured out the next best thing: penny magnets. And now I don’t have to have endless amounts of change sitting around the house each week.
I call it the “Make a Change” chore chart. I crack myself up.
This was a really easy chore chart to put together once I figured out a way around the non-magnetic change. The magnet boards came from Ikea many years ago (and four of them held toddler Zack’s artwork in his room), but they sell a similar one there now. I also used one for Zack’s DIY Lego Minifigure storage.
I began by making a list of the chores that each child would be responsible for, and I cut out the list from gold vinyl with my Silhouette CAMEO. In hindsight, I should have done another color because the gold is a little hard to read on the dark gray board, but live and learn. I also tried to do each line individually, but it turns out that I’m not talented enough to apply them even remotely straight or spaced evenly. So, I cut the list out in one big piece. I added the days of the week in a line, too.
This is what it looked like once I had “weeded” the vinyl (or took off the negative space that I didn’t want on my board).
I cut the days of the week off and applied my transfer tape to the list. I used a ruler as a straight edge to make sure that the vinyl letters went onto the board straight. I did the same for the days of the week across the top of the board.
Then, I used a roll of magnetic tape (that I bought at Office Depot when I thought that the pennies would actually stick to magnets) and cut tiny little pieces to add to the back of the pennies. I used just a tiny amount of the tape – if you do this project yourself, buy the $3 adhesive magnetic squares instead of the $8 magnetic tape.
You can peel the backing off the the magnet pieces and stick them directly to the pennies. I found that they stuck well on some pennies and less well on others (Maybe a dirtiness factor? I don’t want to know. Gross. So, I ended up putting a tiny dot of hot glue on the back of the penny to hold the magnet. I promise to peel off the hot glue before the feds bust down my door for defacing pennies. No worries.
The penny magnets stick great to the magnetic board, and they don’t slide off. Don’t you hate it when magnets slide down your refrigerator door?
The kids are willingly – and excitedly – tackling their chores. The first few days I really had to help them (especially Emma) learn how to do things the way I wanted them done. But now it’s going smoothly, although we still have the occasional meltdown over how to roll a pair socks.
I’m loving this chore chart. It’s teaching the kids responsiblity, helping me get through my daily chores quicker, and giving us more free time together as a family.
Do your kids have a chore chart at home?
Sidebar: When I was researching the types of chores that were reasonable to expect that children could do at each age, I was really surprised that a lot of parents don’t think kids should be doing any chores. I’m not asking my kids to clean toilets or make dinner, but I do expect them to pick up after themselves and help me with age-appropriate tasks. Otherwise, I’m going to run away from home.
Another sidebar: I also know that a lot of parents don’t think it’s appropriate to pay their children for chores. I get that, too. We decided that we would give our kids 10-cents for each task that they complete each day. They can earn a total of $7 each week for doing what needs to be done. Tom and I think it’s equally as important to teach the kids responsibility with money as it is to teach them responsibility in the home. Because really, those $5 packs of Pokemon cards add up quickly.
Last sidebar: Why are my kids playing Pokemon? How did they even learn about that? Gah! Oh, and I’ve heard that Garbage Pal Kids are back, too.