We have a rule in our family about buying toys. For birthdays and Christmas, we parents will buy toys on the wish lists as gifts. Any other time of the year, our kids have to purchase themselves things they want, but don’t need. The genius of this is three-fold: we end up with a lot less toy clutter in the house, there are rarely arguments in stores about buying them things, and it teaches our children important lessons about managing their own money.
Both kids have jobs and, just like in the real world, if you do your work you get paid. Don’t feel like making your bed? That’s ok, but you forfeit your pay. Each kid has 5 age-appropriate jobs that will earn them $1/day if completed. We pay in cash each night. This keeps them motivated to contribute to household tasks in a meaningful way, as well as earn an income to buy their “wants.”
A few years back, I DIYed a job chart for Songbird. But I never got around to making one for Bug – until today! It’s massive and serves as both a chart and a magnetic board for him to keep his special papers/postcards/etc.
Here’s how you can make one too – for under $30!
Supplies: Large automotive drip pan (this one is 47″x 25″ – $14 at Walmart), white Con-tact shelf liner paper, scissors, masking tape, washi tape (Office Depot has a huge selection), X-acto knife, sharpie, large Command strips.
1. Roll out enough liner paper to cover the height of the board. The paper is already 18″ wide, which is plenty – so cut a piece a few inches longer than the pan on each end.
2. Line up the left edge of the shelf liner with the left edge of the drip pan. Use a small piece of masking or painter’s tape on both sides to hold the liner paper in place until you get it started.
3. Beginning at one short side, slowly pull the back protective paper off of the liner paper to expose the adhesive. Make sure you push it flat into the crease by the lip of the drip pan. Use your hand to make it real smooth as you go – you wanna be the tortoise here, not the hare.
4. Come back and run your X-Acto blade carefully around the crease to remove the excess liner paper.
5. Use washi tape to create 2″ boxes for the job chart. Write in the days of the week with a Sharpie.
6. Our kid’s jobs change annually, so I didn’t want to write them on permanently. Instead, I designed and printed little cards that I then self-laminated (because I’m a nerd like that) and stuck adhesive magnetic buttons to the back!
7. Attach large Command strips on the back of the drip pan at each corner and hang that baby up!
Bug has always been motivated by money – he’s our “holes in pockets” kid. But this huge chart and all those shiny bottlecaps have just upped his level of enthusiasm for the work he has to do to earn the dolla-dolla billz.
So, while we don’t buy our kids a lot of toys… we do give them plenty of opportunity to earn the money themselves and we try to make it fun!