Tag Archives: Parenting Toddlers

You have your hands full #1

You Have Your Hands Full!

“You have your hands full!”

The man in Walmart’s canned vegetable aisle gapes at my brimming cart and the 4 small children hanging off in every direction. Then his eyes travel down to my protruding belly.

Like every mom with small children, I’ve received this comment more times then I can count.

It doesn’t bother me anymore though.

(On the contrary! I’m excited by the opportunity!)

I look him in the eye so he can see my sincerity and give him a genuine smile.

“The BEST kind of full you can have!” I exclaim.

My response gets the reaction I was hoping for, and his eyes prove that they can indeed widen farther.

I push my cart on – hoping that my thankful attitude concerning my kids planted a seed in this stranger’s heart.

In a society where children are increasingly devalued, we as Christian parents find ourselves in a powerful position that simply no one else is in.

The pastor can preach about the value of children, politically active can picket and hand out brochures on not killing the unborn, but we, sisters, are the ones who live out a love for our children in front of the world.

The spoken truth is never more potent then its testimony – and we Christian moms are the testimony.

- When you fall on your face before God and find the grace to love a less-then-loveable child, you are a testimony of unconditional love.

-When you lay down your own desire for respect from others, (I’m not talking becoming a revered doctor, national speaker or movie star – I’m talking someone – anyone being impressed by anything you do – because parenting – while insanely hard – rarely gets any applause-)– Yet, even in the midst of obscurity and loneliness, when you find your fulfillment in His sustaining promises – you are a testimony.

-When you are in Walmart, Taco Bell, (fill in your most recent child-threw-a-tantrum-in-front-everyone-spot here), and your child is acting like a sinful little brat and totally humiliating you, and by God’s grace, you zone in and help that child through his/her spiritual battle without losing your cool, you are a testimony.

Satan doesn’t just attack Christ’s name. He attacks Christ’s truth.

And one of the biggest truths attacked in America today is the value of motherhood – AND by default the value of children.

(Satan is busy. He is constantly telling women that they need exciting careers, thin bodies, big houses, and a dozen other things that won’t matter on our deathbeds but will be stifled by faithfully parenting children.)

And the world is listening.

Despite longer lives and better healthcare, the worldwide national fertility rate (the number of children the average woman will bear in her lifetime) has steadily dropped from 4.95 children per woman in 1950 to 2.34 children in 2015. Oddly, this trend is dominant in the countries where we can actually afford children. In America, the average woman has birthed less then 2 children since 1972.

If numbers speak, children are not a priority in the western world today.

But there is one thing Satan can’t stifle – the Truth – and the testimony of the Truth that we get to be.

We are the undeniable picture that children are awesome and being a mom is a high and worthy calling – one that surpasses the rest.

So the next time you are rushing through the grocery store, and the inevitable comment comes –

“You have your hands full!”

Proudly hoist your battle-worn banner up on your shoulder and make the most of that fleeting opportunity.

You have your hands full #2

image

Christmas Tree Craft for Toddlers!

​This year, we are blessed to have a 10 month old at Christmastime. In many ways, I have felt like she’s a bit left out of the fun activities and is often told, “Don’t touch!” The other night, she got sick, so I stayed home from church with her. This gave me some time to think of a Christmas activity that maybe SHE could do

​I had seen the general idea of making a felt Christmas tree with felt ornaments for toddlers on Pinterest, but I felt like it was a lot of time and money to invest. Regardless, I opened my fabric drawer and was surprised to discover several squares of felt left from my nesting days of her pregnancy. (For Naomi’s pregnancy I got SUPER creative and crafty!) I only had 1 dark green felt square, but it was fully intact, so I went for it.

​First, I folded my dark green square in half and used a black permanent marker to draw one side of a pine tree, being sure to cover the entire thing and therefore, make it as big as possible. I like that it can be done with just one square to save money and time—and space. I mean really, how many busy moms are going to stop at an EXTRA store just to buy a few yards of green felt?! You can buy the squares at Walmart while tackling the rest of your shopping.

​With my tree completed, I had planned to just cut various shapes out of the other colors to give her ornaments to hang, but then I remembered a container of small Christmas cookie cutters I had purchased on clearance years ago and never used! Perfect! And they really were. There was a variety of shapes and just the right size. We were able to hang 9-10 on the tree with space to spare and they were big enough that she wouldn’t eat them.

 

​I simply traced the ornaments with WASHABLE marker onto the felt. I discovered the hard way that permanent is, well… permanent on the cookie cutters. Oops! The washable just wipes off the cookie cutters and rubs off the felt. Another perfect idea! I guess I was on a roll. J

 

​When everything was done, I simply used Scotch tape and attached the tree to our refrigerator. I’m sure other things might work better, but that has worked surprisingly well—and it’s cheap.

 

​Start to finish, the project probably took about 20 minutes and used all items I had on hand. If you were to buy the felt squares, I’m guessing you could do the whole thing for $1-$2. It’s a great and cheap way to involve your little one in the Christmas season and will also keep her busy while you to accomplish all of your extra holiday tasks!

image

Our Fun Timeline! (K-4 or K-5)

The kids and I are doing American History this semester!

And one of the fun things we’ve been working on is an easy hand-on timeline.

image

- Print off some pictures of people we’ve been learning about. (The web is filled with free coloring sheets. I just google their names.)

- Color Them

- Cover them with packing tape (to laminate – but way cheaper)

- Cut out the peopleimage

(- The kids get to play with theirs [Reinforcing what we've learned])

-I put to mine on the timeline

That’s it! It’s easy and fun to do each week – and has added a lot to our History!image

Letting Them Help – Part 2

House 1Well, 3 weeks ago, I glibly promised that I’d post the following week on how we do chores in our house.

Of course after promising that we had a couple messy days  (followed by a couple naughty days) which made me feel unsure of writing about something in which I’ve not yet arrived.

However, it’s been a helpful couple weeks for me – nothing like promising all my digital friends that I’d share about our chore systems, to help me reevaluate!

So I’m going to share what works for us, areas we are working on, and areas we need work – and then I’d love for my readers to share suggestions and thoughts!

What is Working for Us:

1. Having a Cleaning SYSTEM

My Mom is the best housekeeper ever. She is a natural, and she always made cleaning look SO EASY.

I am not a natural – and even though I KNEW how to do everything (since she had taught me), I NEVER knew where to start. I wasted so much time the first couple years of marriage just standing in the middle of clutter-filled rooms staring blankly around and feeling defeated.

I finally realized that I needed a system – (I think it barely even matters what the system is – just to have one. It is a starting point, a map, and the oil that helps you move faster down the track to your day and sweet productivity.)

Here are our systems. If you ask my 3 or 5 year olds. They will (hopefully) be able to recite it to you.

It is my heartfelt goal that they not get overwhelmed but always know where to start. (On anything – but we’re talking about cleaning today.  

Our system when cleaning is always in this order:

(Left to Right)

(Top to Bottom)

1. Clear Big Items

2. Clear Garbage

3. Put Away In-Room Clutter

4. Put Away Out-of-Room Clutter

Example of Dining Room Table after Breakfast Using This System:

image

I clear the big items (Crockpot or Gallon of Milk)image

Kids clear the garbage (Napkins)

I grab the in-room clutter (My husband’s iPad)

(I wasn’t fast enough – they cleared other stuff too for this pic)

image

Kids Carry out-of-room clutter to the kitchen table to be put away. (Small food items and dirty dishes.)

image

Wipe off High Chair on Left then Table then Bumbo Seat and Tray on Right (Left to Right)

Sweep Floor (Top to Bottom)

imageThis System works really well for us in any room. We use it daily in the living room and their bedroom as well. (So at least three times a day you’ll hear me say “what do we look for first?” and hear my son say “garbage!”)

 2. Having a Cleaning Routine

Again, it doesn’t matter the order, but it helps to do the same tasks in the same order.

Less decisions – more productivity!

As soon as my husband leaves in the morning we clear the table, straighten up the living room, get dressed, straighten the bedroom, clean the bathroom (If we have time), get the laundry and feed the dog.

A routine helps us start each day strong. (Of course things may be messy 10 minutes into the day… but oh well! LOL!

3. Each child has their own chores first thing in the morning – before we start our day.

If we are doing well, we are dressed and have everything cleaned up half an hour after my husband leaves for work. (About 8:30) But that can range. (9:00 is our average.) 9:30 is a bad day. 10:00 is a really bad day. :-/

I wrote about their chores here.

4. Each Child responsible for their own basket of toys

A year ago, I got rid of the big toy box and each child has their own basket of toys to take responsibility for.

(We also have a play room downstairs in the basement that I will eventually write an article about. )

I wrote about their separate upstairs toys here.

5. Children Allowed to Earn Money

imageSince my oldest was 3, I’ve allowed the kids to do extra jobs for money. They each save up for items.

This has helped them understand the value of a dollar, and they know that while I rarely buy them new toys, they always have the option of working for something themselves.

(The pic is ash. It’s messy, but I let him clear it because he LOVES to help clean the fireplace. It’s not smoke.)

Areas I’ve tweaked that last couple weeks:

1. We Clean Each Room TOGETHERimage

As mentioned in my previous chore article, the kids have picture chore lists.  This way they could refer to their lists and complete their chores themselves. Lately we’d had problems with them not staying on task so I’ve we now do our chores together.

- We ALL clear the table

- We ALL clean up the clutter in the living room

- We ALL sweep (they move chairs) and I do most of the sweeping while they help with their little brooms

- They ALL change at the same time. (Jedidiah sometimes takes to the bathroom. He has days when he’s suddenly obsessed with modesty and days when he’s …not.)

-  We ALL wipe down the bathroom,

- Jedidiah usually finishes getting the laundry and feeding the dog while I get school books.

This way I help stay on task

It also became more essential to have their toy baskets stay on their shelves to help them stay on task.

2. Toy Baskets that actually FIT on the Shelves in their room!!!

It also became more essential to have their toy baskets stay on their shelves to help them stay on task.

(Out of mind and out of sight!!)

Before they each had their own baskets, but I let them leave them on the floor or in their beds because they did not fit on the shelves.

Since we are moving the baby, (CHILD NUMBER 4 into their 10X10 room) in a couple weeks, we needed to rethink their closet system.

(I wrote about having the 3 kids in a 10X10 room here.)

(Thank you, sweet husband for the $125 worth of [super-cute, Container Store,  hyacinth, I promise this was an important purchase, complete life-saver] baskets.)

Old baskets were traded in, and now (Exciting music), they each have their own toy basket (and will soon have their own basket to put away their play clothes.)

(Pictures of their new closet system coming soon!)

Areas We Need Work: (Suggestions Welcome!)

1. Breastfeeding Baby

We have a 10 month old, and (though neither Lyd nor I have written about it) breastfeeding is not a 10 minute thing for us. On growth-spurt days, everything else falls apart because Mama is attached to baby.

Such is life. :-I

2. Getting up Before Them

My husband is a night owl, and I choose to stay up with him. I used to rise before the house. Now I grudgingly roll out when I hear the first child’s steps in the hall.

image

I even set my alarm early a few times a week thinking I’ll get things pulled together before the house wakes, but I rarely do. (Except Sundays – no choice)

3. Just Being with Them

Digital friend Jeanne commented last week that “What helped me a lot to enjoy it is when I decided I would just not care about the mess WHILE doing activities together and just deal with it later on. Then, I could relax and enjoy.”

I’ve been thinking about that a lot the last weeks.

This is probably the biggest area that needs work – MY ATTITUDE! I need to enjoy the time with them even when our ‘morning routine’ fell apart or when the clutter takes over. Pray for me here friends!

There is what is working, is a work in progress, and what needs work!

Any thoughts? What works in your routines?

-Verity

image

Letting Them Help: Part 1

Painting House for Normal Person:

8:00 Go Outside and Paint Two Sides of (Small) House

10:00 Snack

10:15 FINISH Painting House

12:00 Eat Lunch

Take Afternoon Off.

 

Painting House with Small Children:

7:30 Dress Everyone

8:00 Help them with Chores

8:30 Summer Preschool Time (Focuses Little Minds)

9:00 Baby Wakes! Feed/Change Baby

9:45 Set Up Baby and Kids in Fenced Yard

9:50 Spend 10 Minutes Explaining to 3 Year Old How to Paint (Today Other Kids are Going to Play. Only One Kid with a Paintbrush – thank you!)

10:00 START PAINTING!

(Stop 27 Times to Give Baby a Veggie Stick, 4 times to Help 2 Year Old, Once to Give 4 Year old a Time out, Once to Give 4 year old Something Else,  32 times to help 3 Year old with Brush, and [of course!] Accidentally Drip Paint in Her Hair!!)

10:47 Go Inside to clean up little people, make them lunch do potty breaks, diaper changes, and toss them in bed for naps!

12:00 ( Accomplished:  1/3 of a side of the house)

Admittedly Painting with a 3 year old is a little extreme but the example could hold true to any activity.


IT IS SO MUCH EASIER TO DO IT WITHOUT ‘HELP’
Cooking, planting, and basic chores take so much more thought and time with little helpers.

But as tempting as it is to stick them all in front of the TV so I CAN ACTUALLY GET SOMETHING ACCOMPLISHED I am try really hard to use their ‘help’

(I do resort to the TV sometimes, but I try to view it as a ‘last resort’ for desperate times. Some weeks are definitely more desperate then others.)

But for the day in and day out. I try really hard to let them work with me.Helpers 1

  1. I Want that Time with Them OVER Getting More Done

Sometimes I have to repeat this to myself. I’m not a SAHM to have an immaculate house or gourmet meals, and if something has to give, it cannot be the kids.

It is really hard to remember that though!

(We unfortunately have a web filled with moms who are trying to ‘have it all’ – perfectly decorated and outstandingly clean homes, incredibly dressed children, and thriving careers. And between Pinterest  and parenting forums and Facebook we become Mommy ping-pong balls – bouncing from one great idea to another. And rather than just soak up the minutes with our children, we look around and recognize our life does not measure up to all of the great ideas online.)

BUT our kids are why we are here. We are Stay at Home MOMS. So if we can get a cool Pinterest-worthy project done, that’s really just icing on the cake!

2. It is Fun to Work with Them!

I’ve made cake 100 times, but nothing is as fun as watching their little faces pour in the ingredients. Every task is new and interesting again!

3.  It is a Perfect Time to Teach

Helping 4

Through the kids helping me, I have learned that one of them only works for seven minutes before he/she becomes bored. This has been a vital time to help him/her push past comfort zones and learn to work. An important lesson to carry through life!

4. To Each His Own

A friend recently shared how she put all of her dishes down on the lower counter level so the kids could independently put them away and set the table. It was a great idea for her family.

This idea would not work for us. Our present schedule, kitchen layout, and the vision of an 8 month pregnant me jerking out dishes at floor-level, makes the the setup almost stomach churning.

5. Kids Take Pride in Their Work

I still remember helping as a kid. We were taking off old laminate flooring. Mom gave Lyd and I (Maybe 5 years old?) each little kitchen spatulas and we went to work – scraping, peeling. We were proud of our progress!

God gave man work right at the beginning of the world – before the fall. It is good, natural and right for us to enjoy watching the fruit of our hands. (Ecclesiastes 12)

6. Eventually they WILL be a Help

(I’ve heard) The Amish have a saying. You invest into your children their first 7 years. At seven, they can earn their own keep. Around 10, they contribute to the family.

Hours teaching now, will make things easier (for the whole family!) later.

So at the end of the day, I may not have a fully painted house.

I have 1/3 of the side of the house painted, and a very happy three-year-old (with a little paint in her hair) proudly showing me her work. She learned to pay attention to detail and get all the cracks, she had 47 minutes to be with me (that was actually more focused then normal), and she learned that when she works hard, she has fruit to show for it!

Very productive morning for us! :-)

-Verity

I’m publishing part 2 of this series next Friday – Teaching Them to Help. :-)

image

Where Did “My” Ministries Go?

 

Before my husband and I were married, I had the opportunity to be actively involved in multiple ministries in churches, at college, in my community, and in my home.  I also worked full time for a Bible memorization ministry where I directed Vacation Bible Schools in dozens of churches, was able to impact many children and teens, and had ministries to the Amish as well. I also spent several months on tour for a puppetry company where I taught classes on various ministry tools. A love of ministry is one of the things that attracted my husband and me to each other. After marriage, we became actively involved in a dynamic inner city church with endless ministry opportunities. I share all of this to express my hearts’ desire to serve God in ministry to others…

The last few years, my husband and I have been in an interesting situation as he has been finishing seminary and we have had 3 children somewhat close in age. Our second child is what’s called a “highly sensitive child” which affects most aspects of our life—though we love her immensely!! We are also currently in a funny church situation as we make some life transitions. All of this together has left me with very few to zero ministry opportunities… at least that’s how it sometimes feels.

It has been over a year since I stood before a Sunday school class of wide eyed children, over two years since I shared God’s Word with a wonderful group of ladies, and nearly 3 years since I directed a large group of children in an athletic activity. For months my heart ached to do these things and I would go to church feeling inadequate because I wasn’t taking part in many aspects of ministry there. So what happened to “my” ministries?

God prepared and raised up marvelous other people to take them on, but he didn’t leave me in the dust with nothing to do. He gave me 3 very special children to transfer my love of ministry, and serving, and teaching, and traveling, and sharing, and directing, and counseling, and caring, and loving toward. God gave me the talents he gave me for specific purposes at different times in life and there was a time when those talents were used to help others across the country, but now there is a time when those talents are used to help 3 little people within the walls of my own home.

I used to love camp ministry because I had the opportunity to be with the same group of girls 24/7 (or 6) and I felt like I could make a more lasting impact than if I was just with them a few hours a day in a VBS or a few hours one time in a class. But what if I had the opportunity to be with someone nearly 24/7 for 18 years?? What if I had nearly 157,680 hours to impact 1 life—or 3 lives? What kind of impact could I make?

These facts make me realize two things:

 

  • Why am I complaining that I am currently in a SEASON of life where I can’t have as many ministries to others?
  • What kind of impact am I making?

This is a short season of my overall life. I had years to minister to others before this phase, and Lord willing, I will have years after this phase to minister to others again. This is a phase and just like all the other ministries I need to embrace this one just as much and give it my all to glorify God in each aspect of how I minister to my children. I need to give my very best and be transparent, and look for the teachable moments in the 157,680 hours just as much as I did in the 2 hours. What an amazing opportunity I have been given to minister to these children! These wide eyed and wonderful children who call me Mama; who love me and trust me, and desire to learn from me. I get approximately 157,680 hours (and more after they turn 18) to pour into their lives! Why would I ever complain about that ministry opportunity? God is so good to allow me to minister to them!

The second thing this truth makes me wonder is what kind of impact am I making? Just like with any other ministry, I need to start my day by asking God for a love for and an understanding of my children. I need to ask Him for the teachable moments and wisdom in my responses. Then I need to set myself aside and pour into their lives. I need to take this day in day out ministry just as seriously as I did the other ministries.

image

I have been blessed with an amazing opportunity and approximately 157,680 hours to pour into each of these children and I need to make the very most of the current ministry God has given me. I hope that I never again complain about not having a ministry, because the greatest one is my own children.

-Lydia

image

A Letter to My Son

imageLately my almost-five year old has been using the same heart-wrenching phrase whenever he comes up against something he doesn’t want to do.

“But Mama! That doesn’t make me HAPPY!”

I wrote this letter as a pep-talk to myself, and I decided to share it because I thought other moms would relate!

 

 

My son,

It is not that I do not want you to be happy. I do want you to be happy. It fills my heart to nearly full when your eyes dance innocently and you break into exuberant laughter, when the pure joy of childhood seems to surround and embody you as you run around just enjoying it.

Yes, it fills my heart to nearly full when I see you happy.

But son, I have a job to do. During these few sweet years of childhood, I need to help prepare you to be a man. And adulthood is not all about being happy.

So while there are plenty of times for cuddling, playing ball, chasing each other around the yard, singing funny songs, and you telling me about your dreams, there must also be many times of learning to work harder than you feel like, having a good attitude when you’re tired, sharing a toy that you want to keep, sitting still when you want to play, being content when you don’t get something you want, being kind when someone has hurt you, and learning to trust God when you are scared.

All this and more must be learned during these years of childhood.

So while there will be plenty of fun and happy moments, there will also be many moments in the safest place possible – your home – to learn and grow and be prepared for times ahead.

image

Because when I see you respond rightly when tempted to get angry or share a toy you wanted to keep, you are winning spiritual battles and maturing into a man.

And those are the moments when I can see glimpses into the future of the wise and godly man you will become.

Those are the moments that my heart is not almost full; it is filled to overflowing.

- Verity

Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them.” Ecc. 12:1 ESV

 

There is ALWAYS Enough Time

Good Pic of Kids

I have 4 small children under the age of 5.

But there IS always enough time.

There IS the time necessary to train, love, protect my children and enough time to be a helpmeet to my husband.

I know there is because I know that God would not bless me with more then I can handle, and I know that He commands me to train my children and help my husband.

Therefore, there HAS to be enough time.

On a more experiential note, I’ve seen again and again that there is enough time to fulfill my responsibilities as a trainer, mother, protector, and teacher, and if I make it a priority, there is (usually) enough strength to not fall asleep while my poor husband is talking to me at the end of the day. (Pacing around while we talk or a 5:00 PM coffee may be necessary.)

What there is NOT always enough time for is checking Facebook 27 times to see if people have liked my clever status, following more then a couple worthwhile blogs, staying in touch with more then just a few friends, and keeping up on more then one hobby.

There is NOT even the time to do the outside ministries I’d LOVE to do because right now – I need to remember this is my ministry.

There is NOT enough time to feel sorry for myself because I want more contact with others or more thank yous for my constant efforts to keep the house semi-clean, the kids alive, and food made. (Actually more then wanting thank yous, I’d at least like less complaining…)

It just gets down to realizing what IS important – and what’s not. When I realize what IS important, I realize there IS enough time for it.

-Verity

Evaluating Minimalism when You Have Kids

photo 1People say that having kids breeds clutter.

People say kids make it difficult to embrace minimalism and simplicity.

I’ve also noticed that the majority of minimalists on the web are single – with no kids.

Why is that?

It is true that with kids comes stuff, but I think that there is also more opportunity to reevaluate values, and I believe that when you better know your values, you have more motivation for simplicity then you’d have without kids.

Is it HARDER to be a minimalist with kids? Yes! (What on earth is EASIER with kids?)

BUT it is also much more rewarding to be a minimalist with kids. You learn to cut away, cut away, cut away until you have only the valuable to pass on – only your faith, only your dreams and not all the excess that you wasted years pursuing.

And you hope they won’t lose the same time and energy on the trivial. You hope they will be happier, more content, more focused, and more mature as they learn what is necessary – and what is simply not.

This week I’ve been learning again what it is important – and what is not.

photo 2

3 years ago my son was given a set of 24 mega blocks, but with 3 kids sharing the set, the pieces were fought over so much that I was ready to toss the whole set!

But my mom came across a couple affordable matching sets at Goodwill, and I gratefully accepted them.

However, as I evaluated where on earth to stash the now overflowing tote of mega blocks in our 10X10 guest room/playroom, I wondered what I’d been thinking

After mentioning the dilemma to my husband, he asked why the answer to the kids’  fighting problem was to get more toys rather then deal with their bad attitudes.

And sure enough – after 20 minutes of elation they were fighting over the mega blocks again. (Both girls wanted all the pink, and the boy wanted to keep the little mega block man to himself – if you were wondering about the nitty gritty details.)

It caused me to step back and evaluate – again.

Did I want kids to build mega block towers or kids who were willing to share and wait their turn?

Did I want the convenience of 20 minutes to make supper in peace or kids who were content to make something out of our 24 former pieces?

I realized that too often my answer to character problems had been to purchase items to make the problem ‘go away’ rather then deal with the heart of the issue.

- A child who kept stealing her brother’s harmonica was ‘rewarded’ the following  holiday with a harmonica of her own because I was tired of having to punish her and deal with his frustration.

-A child who wouldn’t share the train set cars was ‘rewarded’ when I just picked up a couple more train set cars because I was tired of the shrieks and tears every time they played trains.

Like any parent, I love my kids, but it takes a tough love to stop what you’re doing, and help them to be content (37+ times a day).

For now, we’re keeping the big box in the play room, but I’m slowly learning my lesson. True love for my children does not come in the form of a new toy or set, and helping them enter life as content, joyful adults will be far better then me getting a little more done around the house during the few minutes I’ve bought for myself while they play with a new set or game.

-Verity

Toddler Chore Chart

photo 2Several months ago we implemented simple chores into the kids’ morning routine.

The issue I immediately ran into was that toddlers need a way to keep track of what chores to do, but they can’t READ a list.

(And I REALLY don’t like nagging … er …having to be their verbal reminder)

All the charts I found online had the chore list written out and then a picture next to each item, but I decided to simplify the chart down to the bare bones, and this has worked wonderfully.

I also tacked each of the charts on their favorite color of card stock, put the first letter of their names on the top (because they can recognize ‘their’ name letter), and stuck it in protective sleeves.

As soon as we finish breakfast each morning, I put the charts in a central location, and they check their charts.

They usually race each other to finish, and I recently started rewarding the winner of the race with a nickel.

photo 1

On smooth mornings, we are dressed, with a clean house, and ready to start school half an hour after my husband leaves for work. (Not every morning is smooth, but even on rougher mornings the charts help the kids take responsibility, give us a stronger start and take pressure off.) I also made a chart for before supper. (The times I remember to use it, it works great, but we don’t usually get to it before my husband gets home.)

So these are the toddler chore charts that have worked for us. :-)

-Verity