The Chore Store

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In my last post, I shared my daughter’s new chore chart that we started using to introduce tasks that she needs to help with on a daily basis. Today, I am going to share the fun way my husband and I decided to reward her and teach her a little bit about money management.

A long time ago I saw a post on Pinterest about a basket that a parent had put together in which their children could “shop” from, and my husband and I fell in love with the idea and stored it in the back of our brains till the time came that our daughter would start earning some money. When I told him I was going to start making the chore chart, we started discussing items that would go into our chore store and how we would reward her for the chores that she completed.

The terms of her monetary reward are pretty simple. For every task she completes, she earns ten cents. She has nine tasks each day and if she has a dot on each item at the end of the day she gets a ten cent “bonus”. Therefore, she has the potential for $1 a day. At the end of the week we are going to take out her “store” and let her spend whatever money she has whichever way she wants.

The basket of items are pretty much all things that we have found at the dollar store, dollar section of target, “gift certificates” I have made for her for things that she loves, and some treats that she really enjoys. All the items are priced from $.50 to $15 with the higher items being things that we know she will REALLY want, such as a Starbucks “coffee”. The purpose here is to show her that sometimes you need to save for items that you really want and work hard for it.Items

On top of this we want her to really earn money to put in her savings account. Therefore, I thought that since all of the items in the basket are priced above what they actually cost, I would use the extra money that she gives us for “buying” her items and put that in a special piggy bank that will eventually go into her account.

Hope you enjoy this idea and have a happy day!

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Toddler Chore Chart

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As my little lady gets to be a big girl, she has started to really want to help mommy a lot. Therefore, I decided that I would put together her first chore chart so that she can feel like she is really being a big helper and she can also earn a few rewards along the way.

The actual “work” that I decided would go on this chart is very toddler friendly stuff that she can, and has, done without a lot of supervision. These items include:

  • Get dressed
  • Brush teeth
  • Make bed
  • Helping with the dishes (age appropriately as in handing mommy forks and spoons and putting away her plates and such)
  • Put away toys
  • Feed the dogs

Along with these items, I also wanted to include some behavioral things that we need to practice on and have a little motivation sometimes to do so. These items include:

  • Staying in her bed throughout the night
  • Be kind & listen (my husband and I decide at the end of the day if she has followed this one)
  • No potty accidents

Making this chart was very simple and did not take much time to complete. I used foam board from the dollar store as my backing and washi tape and a sharpie for my lines.

Foam Board  Sharpie and Washi

After that I printed out the chores and the days of the week on plain paper and used double stick tape to attach them to the board. Next I wanted to do the heading using letters cut from my cricut and made them into stickers using my Xyron sticker maker.

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The most difficult thing for me to decide on this project was what to use to keep track of her progress throughout the week. I didn’t want to use a checkmark system as I don’t want to make a new one every week. Stickers or things that could be taped to the board were also not a good option as the foam board tears a little when you peel things off of it. Then I came up with the idea of using Velcro to attach small shapes that we can put on and take off easily. I used my Cricut again to cut out some fun shapes that she would like and used some laminating sheets to make sure they stay durable over time.

As she gets older the chores will be changed out to grow with her. I’m hoping it is something that she finds is fun and rewarding along with helping to remind us what an awesome girl we always have.

Thanks for reading and have a happy day!

Potty Training Success

Potty Training Cover

My little girl is potty trained! The excitement and pride that my husband and I have are beyond words. This moment is one that has been a very long time coming. In fact, this has been our third attempt at getting it done. Our first attempt came after I dreamily hoped that we could get her out of diapers before our son was born. Pinterest and the magic book about potty training an 18 month old helped those dreams. Alas, for us, it was not meant to be. She simply was not ready. The second time around is a different story. I fully believe that physically she was capable of doing it. However, she is a strong willed child (not sure where that come from….lol) and she decided that she wasn’t going to do it. End of story. However, as preschool is coming closer and closer we knew that this was something that needed to happen and so we brainstormed for quite some time about how to get there. Therefore, I am coming at you today on how we got our girl ready for the potty and what was learned along the way.

In all honesty the only thing that was really learned along the way was to absolutely use your gut and know that YOU know your child best and what is right for them. I’ll admit that with our first potty training attempt I really wanted it to work. I was not looking forward to having two children in diapers. In reality though, I knew she wasn’t quite there and we were attempting it way to close to having our son. Even if she would have taken to the potty, I’m pretty sure we would have had to deal with some regression issues that I don’t think will be a problem now. The second time around I thought we could get it done and if we would have pushed her we probably would have. However, again, it wasn’t a good time for her and I think we would have done more harm than good had we kept at it.

This time, however, was different. We prepped her for it well in advance instead of springing it on her suddenly. We had told her that only kids that use the potty can go to school with the other kids. We even told her that she needed to be able to use the potty before we could go see the castle at Disneyland. In fact, one thing that we did that I believe helped tremendously was when we bought the last set of diapers we told her that those were the last ones we were buying and after that it was time to start wearing her undies.

Before we started this time I also prepped myself a little bit more with things I knew would help her out. Again, this is where my advice of knowing who your child is and throwing everyone else’s advice out the window comes into play. A very happy coincidence that occurred before we started was when I went out to buy diapers and wipes for my son. It just so happened that the wipes container that came in the box that time was a Frozen theme. My daughter immediately wanted it. I also happened to get flushable wipes while I was out that time and I told her that the Frozen container was only used with the wipes that were for when she used the potty. I’m pretty sure that triggered something for her at that point. Also, I’ve heard to not “reward” or “bribe” them with things and normally I’m all about it. However, potty training is not easy on a kid. It is not something that comes naturally to most children and it is a learned process. Therefore, in my opinion, as it is being taught it should be rewarded. What works best for my daughter is snacks and money. Therefore, we implemented an M&M rewarded (two for pee and five for poop) along with a little monetary incentive (a couple cents for pee and a dollar for poop).IMG_0690

The morning we started this time she was completely fine with it. She knew her diapers had run out and was ok with what was next. After breakfast that morning she and I went into her room and said goodbye to her changing pad and diaper holder and carried them out. The first day she had quite a few accidents. The second day she went a couple times on the potty and saw what she could get by doing that. Ever since then she’s been pretty good to go. I also want to make note here that we have only been at this for two weeks and she already doesn’t ask for the rewards that we implemented at the beginning. She just knows that she goes on the potty now and is ok with that.

We do have a few accidents here and there and again each kid is different and you just need to know their trigger.   For my daughter it is in the morning if we don’t take her night time undies (a pull up) off right away and put her regular underwear on. The pull up feels too much like a diaper and she knows if she has it on it won’t be a big deal if she goes potty in them. Before we started, we decided to use one at night as we use a baby gate on her doorway and were worried that she might not be able to wake us up in time to go. However, as long as she doesn’t have a cup of water in her room at night (which we needed to put in with her again this week as she has been sick) she always wakes up dry. Therefore, after the package that we bought is gone we won’t be buying another one.

Hope this advice helps some of you and as always have a happy day!

Mommy Needs a Timeout

Mommy Needs A TimeOut

A few weeks ago it finally happened; mommy needed to send herself to timeout. I went to the grocery store and knew I was pushing my limits with my son’s nap time. This had happened before, but it hadn’t mattered much since he was still in the baby car seat and could happily sleep away as my daughter and I went about the shopping. However, this particular outing occurred a few days after we had removed that seat and went to a convertible car seat.

When we got into the grocery store I let my daughter ride in the cart that has the car for kids in the front of it; since I figured that would keep her happy as I tried to entertain my sleepy son while he rode inside the cart. It did not work out the way I imagined. My son did not tolerate sitting in the cart at all, and as soon as I picked him up and started pushing the huge cart with one hand, he fell asleep. Great, this made pushing that thing so much easier. My daughter did not happily ride along “driving the cart”. Every time I stopped to get something off the shelf, she had to get out and get something off the shelf too. If something caught her eye while I was pushing with one hand, she tried to bail out.

When we got to the checkout line, I managed to unload the cart with a sleeping infant in my arms while trying to keep my daughter in the cart car as she was eyeing all those lovely candy bars and knick knacks that the product placement geniuses had decided should go there. The cashier rang up my items and when I reached into my pocket to grab the coupons I wanted to use, they were gone, even though I checked about fifteen times to see if they were still there throughout the store. Looking back, that was probably my tipping point with this shopping trip. While I was getting my credit card out to pay, I spotted my daughter climbing on the FRONT of the cart car and I lost it. I yelled at her to get back in the car. I didn’t even realize the tone in which it had come out, until after it was done and I looked at the cashier and the grocery bagger. I was embarrassed, not only for me but for my little lady as well. Was she misbehaving? Yes. Did she deserve to be yelled at like that in public? No.

It was time for mommy to have a timeout. I paid for the groceries, got the kids safely in the car, loaded the groceries, got myself in the car and cried. I didn’t say a word to my kids on the way home. When we got there, I fed them lunch and put them both down for a nap. During that time, I still didn’t say much. I’m sure my daughter took this as me being mad at her, and to tell the truth, I was still frustrated with her. However, it was mainly because I needed a mental break. As they slept, I did what we all ask our kids to do when we send them for timeout. I thought about what I had done and what I needed to do differently next time. I’m mommy and I should have known better than to put myself in that situation. Furthermore, if the situation cannot be avoided (which we all know is the case sometimes), I need to handle it in a more positive and thought out way. I should’ve worn the baby pack and put my daughter in the cart strapped in. Case closed.

When my daughter woke up, we talked. I told her I was sorry for yelling at her and I told her that she needed to listen to mommy when she was asked to do something or stay somewhere. I know, that at two years old, we will have this talk many times, but I was glad that I was able to give myself the much needed timeout and come back to her in a more positive and calm manner.

Taming the Toddler Tantrum

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Lately, my sweet and loving two year old girl has been acting, well, two. Lots of “Mine!” “No!” and “I Don’t Care!” coming out of her mouth. Where oh where did my mild mannered and polite little baby go!! Time out is no longer working and even though I am not necessarily a parent that is 100% opposed to the occasional spanking, I will not resort to that in all circumstances. With that being said, I have been searching for new ways to stop these behaviors. I have seen calming down jars at craft fairs before and, while searching on Pinterest, found the idea for a calm down box. Immediately, I knew this was something we had to try out. It distracts her from the behavior, but still enables us to teach her that it is not ok to behave that way.

At first, I ran out and found a small container from Target that I thought would work well for all the items that I wanted to use in the Calm Down Box. However, when I got home and looked at it, I realized that all those extra wipes containers that we have lying around were basically the same size as the container I just paid for! So, back it went, and off went the lid of the wipes box. After that, I went to the craft store and found some duct tape that I liked and covered the wipes box.

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Now it was time for the essential items that will help her cut out the naughty behavior and have that sweet child return. Again, I went to Pinterest to find out how to make the calm down jars, which consists of a small amount of glitter glue, extra glitter and filling up the container with warm water.  At first, I was going to use a mason jar, but the hubby quickly reminded me that a glass item may not be the best thing to hand to a small and angry person.  So we found a plastic bottle at the craft store that worked great!

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Next came a small bear that she can cuddle with. I dug through items that we already had and found the perfect little one that was given to us after she was born from a sweet little lady in my hometown. After giving it some thought, I also decided that by spraying the bear with lavender essential oil it would give it an extra boost of calm that any worked up toddler might need.

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The last item that I placed in the box was a book I found at Barnes and Noble about calming down. We are all about books in this house, so why should this instance be any different!

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The first time using the last three items together was well before the box or the calm down jar were complete, but let me tell you that they worked like a charm! She immediately cuddled the bear and listened as I read her the book all the way through! After the book was read, the tantrum was gone and my little lady went back to being the sweet little girl we know and love.