Back To School…

Back to routine.

Thank goodness.

I love the holidays, I really do, but December always makes me realize how much more I enjoy our everyday life. I like to be busy, but the business that comes with the holidays plus the attitudes that come with exhausted and overwhelmed kids drives me a little nuts.

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(The girls at Bounce It Out over Christmas Break)

Today, I was so happy to get up early and have our normal routine back. I was sad to see Gabbi go back to school, but I was glad that she would be reunited with her friends and get back into her own weekly routine instead of bugging me DAILY for something to do.

The girls and I did our normal Monday morning meal preparation and made snacks for the week. We created our new reading nook, read stories and cleaned the house. Now, the girls are happily laying down watching their movie and I am enjoying the quiet calmness of our regular Monday quiet time.

Matt and I sat down a few days ago to really talk about what we wanted to focus on this year, and staying within our routine was one of the big ones. Our kids are at the age now where they need the regularly scheduled activities, chores and family time that comes along with having a weekly routine. We have always had a pretty lose routine, but I admit that I tend to change things up a bit and it drives Matt and the girls a little nuts.

My personality tends to lend itself more to spontaneity, busyness and flexibility. But, this season of life welcomes consistency. And we also want to focus on encouraging the girls to help out more, which requires set times for their chores and available time for extra privileges when they complete everything. I am not the best at staying on top of chores with the girls. I tend to quickly get frustrated and end up completing things myself to make things go quicker. This year I am going to be making an intentional effort and allowing for the time each day to teach the girls the proper way to complete their chores, as well as the time to allow them to get it done.

To encourage them and ourselves, we spent a little time revamping their old chore charts. Last year I posted about a magnet chart that I made for each of the girls. I liked the way that the charts looked, but the magnets were small and posed a serious choking hazard. I took Scarlet’s chart down and the time, and attached the magnets to cardstock to make them bigger. It worked great temporarily, but I wasn’t thrilled with the way that they looked. Plus, the yardstick wasn’t really thick enough to hold up to the girls constantly moving back and forth.

I grabbed a couple of supplies I had around the house and changed them into this:

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It actually was pretty easy, even for someone who isn’t that crafty like me! I sprayed over the baking sheets that I had already been using with this chalkboard spray paint:

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(This is one of my FAVORITE craft items in the whole world!!)

Then I let it dry overnight, and used these craftsmart paint markers in order to add the details and designs that I wanted to be permanent:

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Afterwards, I took some leftover laminated burlap that I am using for another easy project and decoupaged it to the original cardstock with the magnets already glued to the back. I used the paint markers to write the chores on the laminated burlap as well.

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To all of you “non-crafters” like me, I picked up all of these items at my local Walmart, and they were relatively inexpensive. I have been able to use them for all sorts of different crafts that I have wanted to try.

The little girls love being able to move their magnets from the to do side to the done side, and because the whole board is a chalkboard, I am easily able to update Gabbi’s weekly job without creating a ton of different magnets or wasting a bunch of paper.

That being said – a pretty chore chart isn’t going to enforce the chores on its own, so prayers that I would be able to be more consistent in this area of my parenting would be greatly appreciated!

Also, I am wondering..

What do you other mamas use to reward your toddlers for completed chores? Gabbi is highly driven by privileges and allowance, but the only thing my two year old would do with allowance is eat it or use it as a guitar pick. I want them to understand the feeling of earning something, but I am just not sure how to go about that at their ages…

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