the chore train

The bean is totally into trains right now.  Surprisingly, he is also really into helping us out around the house.  That's right...my toddler likes to do chores.  I know, I know...I am a very blessed mama!  It kind of happened by accident, really.   He started helping clean up his toys at a pretty young age.  Then I realized that he loved to put away his shoes at the end of the day.  Then, I decided that if he could ransack my Tupperware cabinet and pull out every piece of plastic ware I have (one of his favorite past times for a while), he was probably capable of putting it all away when he was done, too.  And lo and behold, he not only could do it, but he LOVES doing it!  You should see his face light up when I unload the dishwasher and hand him a stack of clean Tupperware for him to put away.  And it is so cool to see him so proud of himself once the job is done.

So, I figured we needed a chore chart.  And don't get me wrong...I don't expect my twenty month old to do chores at this point.  I'm not forcing him to do any chores that are beyond his developmental level at this point.  That being said, he LOVES helping out around the house and I know that the time will come when he is expected to do chores.  So, I figure why not go ahead and get him used to the idea of a chore chart and keep him excited about making a contribution to our home's upkeep?  And at this point, it really serves just as a kind of fun visual of the jobs he has done throughout the day.  I didn't add any additional chores above and beyond what he already likes to do anyway.  I just listed out the six or so chores that he already does and then started thinking about how I wanted to display the chart.

After scouring Pinterest for ideas and not really finding a design I was crazy about, I came across these wood train shapes at Hobby Lobby.

They came in a pack of 8 (2 engines and 6 train cars) for around $2.   I just painted them the colors I wanted.  Then I traced chore icons and text onto the train cars using carbon paper and painted over the lines in white paint.  My little man doesn't read yet, so I went with simple, graphic icons rather than words.   I sealed them with a couple coats of Mod Podge and then stuck magnets on the back.  Then they went right on the fridge.  Done!

Here are the chores that we have so far...put away toys, throw away trash, check the mail, put away shoes, put away Tupperware, help feed the dog, help feed the cat, help mom with special jobs.  That last one is for any extra tasks that he helps out with...like yesterday, he helped me out by handing me water bottles to put in the fridge.  I also have a few extra blank train cars so that we can add chores as he gets older.  Each day, we line up the chores to be done next to the "to do" engine. When the bean finishes a chore, we move that car to the "all done" engine. So far it's been a hit. And hopefully it will help him stay receptive to the idea of doing chores later down the road!

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